Congratulations Robert Tyler, Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist!

Today, December 14, 2017,  we congratulate Robert Tyler on his first day as a Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist!  Yesterday Rob completed his eighteen month residency program in prosthetics and orthotics at Dankmeyer.  Over the next few months, Rob will be studying for his board exams - both written and practical, where he will work with "practice", or test patients.  When all is said and done he will be certified in these disciplines by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics - becoming a Certified Prosthetist Orthotist. (You can read more about our most recent residency graduates and their experiences in our October news.)

It has been a big month for Rob!  He recently celebrated his birthday, too.  So Happy Birthday, Rob, and congratulations for completing this step in your profession.

Rob Jones' 31 Marathons in 31 Days in 31 Cities

(This story is written by Sheryl Nathanson, CPO , four time Marine Corps Marathon finisher.) 

It isn’t every year that you get to celebrate a birthday of 242 years.  But that is exactly what the Marine Corps celebrated on November 10th, 2017.  This year, the Marine Corps birthday had extra special meaning for me, as I was able to celebrate it with a truly remarkable marine.

In 2010, Marine Sergeant Rob Jones was serving in Afghanistan when he was wounded by an IED (improvised explosive device). He lost both of his legs, a left knee disarticulation (through the knee joint) amputation, and a right transfemoral (above the knee) amputation.  Ever since his injuries, Rob has become an inspiration and a voice for the military community, raising awareness of the struggles that wounded soldiers face upon returning to the states – overcoming the injuries, both physical and emotional—in their recovery.  He competed and medaled in the 2012 Paralympic Games, and in 2013-2014, he biked across the country, raising $126,000 for charities that provide aide to wounded veterans.

From these accomplishments was born another idea to further raise awareness and funds.  Starting in October 2017, Rob set off on yet another journey—running 31 marathons, in 31 days, in 31 cities across three countries.  Running even just one marathon presents an exceptional physical demand for the average person, let alone running with bilateral prostheses!  Rob was determined to complete his journey with the support of his wife Pam, family, and a growing following from around the country with a passion towards his cause.

I stumbled across Rob’s journey through social media—specifically through a patient model of mine from P&O school, Scott Rigsby—another bilateral amputee who has completed multiple marathons and triathlons himself.  I was excited to see that Rob’s 30th marathon on his journey was to take place in Baltimore, and it also corresponded with the Marine Corps birthday. I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for Dankmeyer, Inc. to provide support and encouragement to Rob along his journey.  With Dankmeyer on board and with Scott’s assistance, I reached out to Rob’s wife, Pam. I asked her how we could be a part of Rob’s Baltimore marathon, and she asked if we would be able to contribute with an aide station.

After a few phone calls from Charles Dankmeyer and Mark Hopkins (Dankmeyer CEO), we coordinated through the Baltimore Orioles and with Pam, and were able to set up our aide station right by Rob’s RV just outside of Camden Yards.  The Baltimore Orioles, the Baltimore Police and yes, the Marine Corps were all there to participate and celebrate Rob’s efforts.  Prior to the event, we also reached out to local news stations in hopes that they would be as excited and inspired by this story as we were.  Before sunrise on that cold Friday morning, a small team of Dankmeyer staff (including myself, Jeanne Smith and Nancy Lee) arrived at Camden Yards to ensure everything was set up and ready to go before the start of his run at 7am. I don’t think anyone was expecting the weather to be in the mid-30s, but that didn’t dampen Rob’s or anyone else’s spirit. 

Rob was joined by at least 70 eager runners for his first loop of the marathon, including Baltimore police academy cadets, other marines, high school students, representatives from local running clubs, his family, outreach from the Semper Fi Fund, and others in the Baltimore area just inspired to run with Rob.  There were also multiple news stations, both from Baltimore and Washington, DC who were there to catch an interview and a glimpse of Rob’s journey.  His wife even noted that 3 times as many media and interviewers came out today, compared to other cities, and I’m hoping we played a small role in helping that happen!

While a few runners dropped off some treats prior to running, we were the only aide station for the run.  The marathon consisted of four different loops, so in between each, everyone came back to the aide station at Camden Yards to grab a drink and a snack before the next loop.  Everyone loved the sweet and salty treats, Gatorade, and water, and especially the cheers!  The nearby Hilton property, who has been a sponsor of Rob’s Journey from the beginning, came down to the stadium and treated everyone to some amazing hot chocolate!

Rob’s final loop for his Baltimore marathon consisted of laps around Camden Yards, the home of Rob’s favorite baseball team, the Baltimore Orioles.  The organization opened up Eutaw Street, and Rob, along with his fellow runners, were able to soak in the stadium with each lap.  We know that this meant so much to him.  With Jeanne and Nancy manning the aide station, I was lucky enough to join Rob for his last four miles.  Running with him was so inspiring, I am still in awe of what he has accomplished.  When all was said and done, there were congratulations, pictures, a lot of camaraderie and then everyone packed up, wrapped up, and headed out.

Rob went on to finish the 31st and final marathon of his journey in Washington, DC the following day, on Veterans Day.  It was an absolute honor for Dankmeyer to have been a part of Rob Jones’ Journey.  I look forward to continuing to help this great marine share his cause and continue to inspire both his military family and the rest of us.

You can read more about Rob’s efforts on his website by clicking here.  You can follow him on his FB page by clicking here.  We have compiled a slideshow of the day's events that we hope you will enjoy.

 

 

Congratulations! Completing the Journey to Certified Prosthetist Orthotist

A little over two years ago, Dankmeyer's clinical staff was increased by the arrival of a new resident, Nina Bondre.  It wasn't long after that she was joined by Kristen Beltran, followed by Rob Tyler and then Kelsey Kasten.  Having four residents at a time is a bit unusual for a prosthetics and orthotics practice.  Angie Bryl, CPO and Clinical Director of Dankmeyer says, "We were lucky to have four very talented residents join our program at various times during the past two and a half years.  Each one of them has distinct skills and passions that they bring to the Dankmeyer team."

Angie explains that the purpose of the O&P residency is to take the recently graduated orthotics and prosthetics Masters students and provide them with structured opportunities for hands-on learning, real world experiences, and refinement of their skills over the course of 12-18 months. Once their residency is complete, they become board eligible, which means they must then complete both written exams and practical exams - the practicals involve working with test patients.  They must pass all of these rigorous tests in order to become certified in their disciplines by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics - thus Certified Prosthetist Orthotist.  Kelsey came to Dankmeyer as a Board Eligible Orthotist, having completed her orthotics residency elsewhere, to do her twelve month residency in prosthetics.  She passed her boards and became a Certified Orthotist during her prosthetics residency.  Nina, Kristen and Rob were all tackling combined residencies (both disciplines), which would take 18 months.  

All good things must come to and end, so the saying goes, and within the last four months, Nina, Kelsey and Kristen have completed various portions of their studies and exams.  We congratulate them for achieving their goals and are so happy to have them continue their professional careers at Dankmeyer!  Rob isn't far behind, as he will complete his residencies in December and become a Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist at that time.  Nina, Kelsey, Kristen, and Rob have each written a few words about their experiences and goals.

Nina Bondre, CPO

Residency at Dankmeyer was challenging but rewarding. I had the opportunity to work with a wide variety of patients at several different locations, primarily through Johns Hopkins and the Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI). I discovered a passion and appreciation for the treatment and care of spinal cord injury patients. Managing the spinal cord injury clinic at KKI has been one of the greatest joys of my career thus far: working closely with a patient's care team has led to great outcomes for our patients. I became a Certified Prosthetist Orthotist (CPO) in July 2017, and I am excited to continue honing my clinical skills to provide the best patient care possible.

Kelsey Kasten, CPO

I am very happy to have now completed both of my residencies, and passed all of my board exams!  I completed my orthotics residency at another company, and passed these exams in January.  I then continued working as an orthotist while completing my prosthetics residency at Dankmeyer, and passed my prosthetics exams in September.  I spent most of my time in the Easton office, working with Jed Newhardt, CPO.  I feel I learned a lot about prosthetic care, while also improving my orthotic skills.  I had many opportunities to help people through the process of getting their first prosthesis after amputation, and that is a very rewarding experience for me.  Now that I am fully certified, I would like to continue to see prosthetic patients, while further delving into specialties I am particularly passionate about, such as pediatric orthotics and scoliosis treatment.

Kristen Beltran, CO, Board Eligible Prosthetist

I had a great residency experience – I had the opportunity to rotate around to multiple office locations, which helped me become familiar with a wide variety of patients and also to get to know Maryland better. I felt prepared going in to board exams, and I had a huge sense of accomplishment once I found out I passed. I am looking forward to continuing working with my patients and helping them reach their full potential. I have an interest in helping advance the field and in helping Dankmeyer keep up with emerging technology, such as scanning and 3D printing.

Rob Tyler, Resident Prosthetist Orthotist

Dankmeyer has surpassed my goals for a residency program.  I feel that I am able to see a wide variety of patients and many interesting cases.  It has also been helpful to have other residents in the office.  We have been able to bounce ideas off of each other as well as get advice from each other throughout our residencies.  I look forward to completing my residency in December and finishing the board exams soon after.

Dankmeyer is very proud and fortunate to have these four young professionals as part of our team.  We wish Kristen good luck with her final practical in prosthetics in January!  Rob will be a Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist before the holidays, and will face his first slate of exams soon after.  

A new national online residency application process is in the works, and as soon as that information and link are available, we will post them on our Professionals page.

 

 

My First Summer Job....at Dankmeyer

My name is Tyler Treff, and I'm 15 years old and a student at North County High School. I had my first job experience at Dankmeyer this summer in the Fabrication Department.  My Mom (Cindy French, Patient Services Coordinator) has worked at Dankmeyer for many years so I have heard a lot about orthotics and prosthetics and made a few trips through the Dankmeyer shop when I was little.  It was really neat to actually get to work in the shop and see what goes on.

Cindy French with son Tyler in Fabrication.

On my first day I was given safety instructions, toured the shop and was given a broom to clean up.  There was a lot of clean up from plaster. After a few days I was taught about the machines in the shop and got hands on experience on how to sandblast, use the Sutton shoe machine for metal, how to rivet straps and punch holes in prosthetic socks. I learned how to sift and mix plaster and pour a prosthetic cast.  I never knew there were so many steps that go into making a prosthesis and it was really neat to see how it is done from start to finish.  I really liked seeing how the custom lamination was done. A lot of hard work and detail go into everything.

Tyler with Jed Newhardt, CPO and Moxie.

I was able to participate in the Amputee Walking School at Dankmeyer in June.  I helped set up and clean up and I was allowed to participate with the amputee exercises and given a partner to work with.  It was a very rewarding experience.  

I was worked in the stockroom, packed, unpacked and stocked shipments and learned how to work the USPS shipping machine. I helped to give the shop a fresh coat of paint, made labels to help organize parts, sanded and refinished a work bench. 

Everyone in the shop and the practitioners took their time to explain and show me things so I could learn what they were doing.  I learned a lot and everyone was very supportive.  It was a great first job experience!  Now it is back to school and sports, until next time.

 

 

Back to School with Dankmeyer Academy

books Owl.jpeg

Are our Physical Therapist friends ready for 2017 Back to School?  Are your books, backpack, computer, notebooks and pens/pencils all ready to go?  Well you don't need all that stuff and you don't need to go far because Dankmeyer is very excited to announce a new education program for professionals launching this fall.

 

DANKMEYER ACADEMY

We are offering this free continuing education series to physical therapists at their location.  This education is intended to be personal and ongoing, with a Dankmeyer clinician visiting your facility quarterly to provide the newest, most relevant curriculum relating to orthotics and prosthetics.  Kelsey Kasten, CO Resident Prosthetist and Nina Bondre, CPO are preparing those materials right now, which your physical therapists can utilize in the treatment of patients who benefit from a prosthesis or orthosis.  The courses we will provide have been submitted to the Maryland Board of Physical Therapy Examiners for review.  

The Academy opens in October 2017.  We will have more details in the very near future, so stay tuned!

New Prosthetic Arm - First of a Kind, One of Kind

A recent issue of “Forbes NEXT” magazine’s Hungarian issue features a Dankmeyer patient, George Levay, on the cover with his new prosthetic arm.  According to Mark Hopkins, CEO of Dankmeyer, Inc., Mr. Levay’s prosthesis is one of a kind and first of a kind.  Dankmeyer is proud to have developed this novel prosthesis along with partner Infinite Biomedical Technologies (IBT).  Mr. Levay worked with IBT in developing the technology for the prosthesis. 

Mr Levay was featured in an article in the Baltimore Sun in September (click here), in which he talks about his own limb loss and interest in developing technology to make life easier for those those with upper limb loss.

This new device is a left above elbow fully externally powered prosthesis.  Some of the components are proprietary, while the power system (battery and charger) is commercially available.  More information will be available about the technology soon and the prosthesis will be commercially available at some point. Stay tuned for developments!

Congratulations Nina Bondre, Certified Prosthetist Orthotist!

Please join us in congratulating Dankmeyer practitioner Nina Bondre - as she is now a Certified Prosthetist Orthotist!  After completing her eighteen month residency program recently at Dankmeyer, Nina sat for her boards and has been waiting for her official stamp of approval.  She joins the ranks of the nearly 4000 certified P&O professionals with the American Board of Certification.  

Well done, Nina! 

Former Intern Sean Herrin Wins Unsung Heroes Award

Sean Herrin, former Dankmeyer high school summer intern, was recently named one of the winners of the McCormick Honors 2017 Unsung Heroes award.  This scholarship is awarded annually by McCormick & Company and is valued at $40,000 over four years.  Sean, of Delaney High School, was one of two students selected from over 111 honorees recognized as Unsung Heroes at the event on May 1, 2017.  These student-athletes represented over 65 Baltimore area schools.  The program was founded in 1940 by Charles McCormick Sr to recognize athletes for unselfish team play and to highlight the efforts of those who contribute selflessly to their teams.   

From the McCormick press release on the event:

"Sean Herrin took special pride in being a Peer Assistant on his Allied Soccer team for players with disabilities.  He spent his time with the kids getting to know them as peers, while helping them achieve athletic success on the field.  Herrin dedicates much of his time and energy to serving students with disabilities in other aspects of his life; he mentors disabled children in bowling, softball and ice hockey, volunteers at Kennedy Krieger’s ROAR for Autism fundraiser, and has spent three summers interning at a company that produces prosthetic limbs.  Richard Reed, Herrin’s Athletic Director, said that he is “quite an amazing young man, one who truly embodies the term ‘Unsung Hero’ on the athletic field and in the game of life.”  Herrin, a senior, will attend the University of Maryland Baltimore County next fall."

Sean Herrin (left) pictured at the Unsung Heroes 2017 award ceremony.

Dankmeyer's summer intern program is well sought after.  Angie Bryl, CPO, Clinical Director, runs the annual program.  Generally, the purpose of prosthetic/orthotic intern programs is to provide students early access to the profession.  Angie was recently interviewed for an article in the May 2017 issue of O&P Almanac about industry efforts to provide grade school and high school students this exposure to prosthetics and orthotics.  The growth of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) programs in many schools provides a number of students who are interested in STEM related professional explorations.

According to the article, more than 90% of millennials like using their professional skills to benefit a good cause.  O&P offers an environment that embraces technology combined with patient care.  As part of Dankmeyer’s intern program, Sean would have shadowed staff, received hands-on training in the fabrication of devices, conversed with patients, and gained general knowledge about O&P.  Additionally, as the students learn from O&P professionals, the pros can learn from the students.  As Angie says in the article, “We can get stuck in our ways at times, and students often bring fresh ideas… They bring other things that they learned in the classroom or from their experiences to our work.”  Both intern and professional stand to benefit from the exchanges that occur in these programs.

As Sean prepares to graduate from high school, we will also be preparing to welcome a new batch of summer interns.   We are so happy for Sean and this well deserved honor and wish him the best of luck as he continues his education!

If you would like to know more about learning experiences with Dankmeyer, send an email to info@dankmeyer.com.

 

 

Congratulations Kristen Beltran, Board Eligible Prosthetist Orthotist

We are so happy to congratulate Kristen Beltran, who has completed her Residency in Prosthetics and Orthotics at Dankmeyer, Inc.  Kristen is now Board Eligible - and that means time to take some tests!

Originally from Kalamazoo, MI, Kristen joined the Dankmeyer team in 2015 to do her double residency.  She received a BS in Therapeutic Recreation with a Mathematics minor from Grand Valley State University, followed by her Master’s in Prosthetics and Orthotics from Northwestern University. Kristen first became interested in prosthetics and orthotics in high school, where she had a soccer coach who wore a prosthetic leg. She has worked with adaptive sports and recreation programs over the years.  Since coming to Dankmeyer, she has participated for the last two years in a local middle school 3D E-Nable project, providing resources for middle schoolers in the STEM program to learn about prosthetics and orthotics and the use of 3D technology.

English Setter Moxie on the Move

Moxie was first introduced to Dankmeyer in November of 2016, when she was seven months old and christened “Autumn” by her rescuers.  When found, this little English Setter mix was missing her left hind leg below the knee.  They approached Dankmeyer, Inc. about making her a prosthesis, and during that evaluation process, the pup was adopted by Dankmeyer staff member Jeanne Smith and her family.  She was renamed Moxie after Jeanne asked fellow Dankmeyer staff to make suggestions in a naming contest.  "Moxie" was the winner - meaning courage, determination, energy, and pep - and all those words describe this little bundle of fun!

Since then, the Dankmeyer team, headed by Jed Newhardt, CPO,  have been collaborating, creating and trialling different prosthetic designs in order to find the best fit for Moxie. The process takes time and patience; monitoring her day to day, taking her out in the community and parks for walks and runs to check the functionality, fit and comfort; then taking those results and tweaking and redesigning and refitting.  Moxie is adapting well to the challenges during this process. Soon she will be modelling her new high fashion leopard print designed prosthesis.

She is now learning to jump up in efforts to teach her balance and support when outside in the community.  She has now mastered, with her newfound confidence, descending the stairs without sliding on her belly!  As her confidence and strength grow, so does her love for meeting and making new friends.

Moxie is a true joy and inspiration to all who come in contact with her.

Here is a video of Moxie playing with her family, testing a prosthesis.