Salus University in Pennsylvania has added a master’s in O&P (MSOP) program that is slated to have its first cohort of students in Fall 2022. The program will fall under the auspices of the College of Health Sciences, Education and Rehabilitation (CHER). Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO, is the director of the program. He was previously director of the O&P program at Northwestern University.
“The development of this program has been something that the university leadership has been exploring for quite some time,” said James Konopack, PhD, dean of CHER. “We’re going to have students who come in under the guidance of a leader in the field, in a brand-new facility, and in a market that demands these services. And, in a place where students can’t get this type of graduate education within the region.”
“The one thing we paid particular attention to, though, was the future demand for orthotics and prosthetics,” said Salus President Michael H. Mittelman, OD, MPH, MBA, FAAO, FACHE. “Unfortunately, because of the epidemic we have in this country of obesity and subsequent diabetes, we also know that the number of amputees in the country has been going up and is projected to go up even more. That obviously creates a need for people to have prosthetics, which drove us to the conclusion this would be a skill set to which people will need to be trained.”
The Salus program will be the 15th MSOP program in the United States. The 14th program, at East Tennessee State University, begins in Spring 2022.
“We think applying our model to this kind of program will not only differentiate us but will also enable us to develop providers that will be well positioned to practice this profession well into the future, which is what is going to be needed,” said Mittleman.
Konopack agreed. “We have experts in fields like rehabilitation and occupational therapy that really lend themselves to some synergy with an O&P,” he said.
Work has begun on renovating facilities at the university’s Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, campus, funded by a $750,000 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) grant with matching funds from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by Salus University.