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Student Blog

Adaeze Mbagwu – IIOP Student Blog – September 7, 2021

Hiya! Back at it again with the weekly O&P blog updates! I hope everyone is enjoying the 3-day weekend and Labor Day! 

This week was midterm week! As some may know, after the first semester, we have block classes meaning one class at a time. Which also means that midterm arrives after the first few days (or one week) of class(es). And right now, we are taking Orthotic management of the lower limb 2.  This week, we learned about different types of prefabricated Knee, Hip, and Fracture orthosis. There are so many different types of orthoses but it’s nice to learn about the prefab kinds because it helps me put them into categories and determine which one is better for the patient depending on their pathology. This week we also had lectures and discussed orthotic treatments and goals for TBI in addition to orthotic treatments for CP. Then we had our midterm on Friday. Flashcards are your best friend, peoples! I love that everything is starting to come together, and I am becoming more accustomed to the terminology, treatment plans, and decision-making skills that will be needed in the O&P world.  

See ya again next week! 


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Alyssa Noe-IIOP Student Blog-September 1, 2021

Hello everyone! I am a part of the new cohort at IIOP which happens to be the first class of 24 students! I am originally from Ohio so moving to Florida was definitely a change, but I have been loving every second of it.

I wanted to start off by sharing something about myself I wondered all the time during undergrad: how did the people around me decide to go into their desired field and what lead them to where they are today? Personally, I found out about the Orthotics and Prosthetics field during quarantine in 2020 while I was finishing my Biomedical Engineering degree at The Ohio State University. I began researching Master’s Degrees with a BME degree and was not really finding anything that I thought would fit me. I wanted to find a profession where I could be crafty, work with my hands, design, and help change people’s lives. This led me to think of why I chose BME in the first place: to build artificial organs or artificial limbs. I did not know exactly how I could get to that point until I reached my junior year of college where I realized with the help of research and professors that there was a field dedicated to artificial limbs called “Orthotics and Prosthetics.” Once I discovered this, I quickly began researching all the orthotic and prosthetic fields in the Columbus, Ohio area so I could begin learning and seeing if this was the best fit for me. After the first day of shadowing a CPO I knew that this was the career for me. It included everything I wanted in my future profession: allowing me to work with my hands, being crafty, designing, and helping change people’s lives. From there all I had to do was type in “Master’s Programs” and a few clicks led me here to my beautiful school, IIOP in Tampa, Florida! 

Our cohort started this fall on August 23, 2021. The classes we are in this semester involve Human Anatomy & Physiology, Applied Clinical Neuroanatomy, Introduction to Pathology, and Clinical Gait Analysis. Even though the course work seems slightly overwhelming right now, I know gaining all this invaluable information will be worth it down the road.  I can already tell IIOP was the perfect place for me because the professors are so knowledgeable, helpful, and accommodating towards answering questions any time of the day with average response times of mere minutes… combine that with the palm trees and you just can’t beat it for grad school.

Until Next Time! 

Alyssa Noe

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Adaeze Mbagwu – IIOP Student Blog – August 30, 2021

Czesc! Meaning “hello” in Polish. I hope everyone had a great summer! This summer was so fun and productive but now it is back to business. This is my last semester at IIOP, and I am so excited to get into the real world of Orthotics and Prosthetics soon. Not really too hyped about my exams but I will have confidence! 

Because this is the last semester, I am expecting the classes to go full speed, which so far, it has. Going into lower limb orthotics part 2 which discusses orthotics above the knee, we talked about KAFOs and components.  A lot of topics are review, but they were reviews that were needed because the summer did feel a bit long. We fabricated and modified our first Ground Reaction AFOs (GRAFOs), which were a success! I was happy with the way mine turned out. During our next class, we went over the passive, active and manual muscle testing, which was also great review.  

I am expecting this semester to go well since I learned a lot during my clinical rotations, and I hope that I can continue to finish strong. Wish me luck! 
Adaeze Mbagwu

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July Blog Takeover

I: Yo yo yo this is the July Blog Takeover!

My name is Ian Reyes, aka DJD, aka Moneybags of SGA, aka Miguel Kings, and I’ll be writing the blog post for the month of July.

Joining me will be Rene Respicio, aka Dr. RESPECT, and Peter Marx, aka the better Marx Brother! El Presidente, Jacob Sliman, has no further comments at this time as he’s dealing with matters of (inter)national security (Student Government has been busy).

I: Soooo let’s take a recap of what we’ve been up to here at IIOP! We kicked off the month with a fantastic fourth of July. Some of us went home to our families and watched fireworks from the beach, like Savanna, while others got to stay here and watch fireworks in the middle of downtown Tampa:

I: Following our brief respite, we tackled our custom spinal orthotics courseware. We learned how to do our Cobb angles and set up our blueprints for custom orthotics with x-rays. We even made videos for ourselves so we have a record of how to do Cobb angles in the future. Mine took about 12 minutes, Savanna’s was about 20 minutes long, and Peter was able to get all the information in with a whopping 90 min long.

P: Yeah my phone almost died while recording, but I got it done! Check it out on my YouTube channel instead of watching a movie sometime.

R: Making videos is a great way to quickly revisit important topics months later. You’ll thank yourself when you start studying for boards!

I: Ms. Crawford had to watch all of our videos though so she’s the real winner here because she got to learn the material 5x over!

After learning how to blueprint, we got to use the 3D scanner and scanned our torsos into a 3D program to create models for our custom bivalve spinal orthotics orthoses. Then we got to use a 3D carving machine to create the models out of foam. The foam, when cut, kind of looks like parmesan, but it also definitely gets EVERYWHERE like parmesan. It can make you itch so word of warning to anyone who will use that foam in the future.

R: Note, it does NOT taste like parmesan. Be careful breathing this stuff in folks!

P: Also, if while editing your 3D scan in the OMEGA software you decide to jokingly make some unrealistic changes, be sure to remove said changes before carving your foam!

I: After the molds were finished, we got to pull polyethylene plastic over the molds, where we definitely got tanned by the ovens. I swear the cotton stockinette smells like gingerbread once it’s been heated a while, but it’s something you have to experience to believe.

P: I personally think the stockinette smelled more like pizza dough fresh out the oven but to each their own.

R: In my opinion, everyone’s TLSOs turned out amazing! It’s weird seeing my own mold. You could say it’s like an out-of-body experience 😀 As a bonus, we all ended up sewing our straps. Feel free to enjoy our creative direction in the photo-op attached.

I: We got to make our TLSO’s for each other but we treated it as if we were not going to see our patients until the delivery. We sewed our own straps for extra credit and went off our measurement sheets to make modifications. I’ll tell you what: we definitely had a blast once we finally got it all right!

Here’s our group mugshot:

Rene lookin’ like a savage #BadBackBois

I: Once we finished spinal, we finally started our first prosthetics class! Starting with lower limbs, we started learning about prosthetic leg components and feet. We even had a competition on removing a prosthetic foot out of a foot shell. The foot had to be removed with a shoehorn and had to be fully removed and then re-inserted. Rene had a rough start, kicking us off at 2 min and 41, but after her third attempt, she blazed through it sitting just under 10 seconds. I actually came in last place, at about 11 seconds (I got disqualified during my second attempt because the foot wasn’t all the way into the shell, but I would also have been around 9 seconds). The fastest two were Savanna and Peter, who settled the score with a sudden death match since they were both so close to each other after the third round. In the end, though, Savanna took home the gold with 7.11 seconds and won 4 pieces of chocolate.

And that pretty much brought us to the end of July. It feels like it was forever ago since I’m writing this 2 weeks into August. Time’s been flying fast and I can’t believe we’re almost done with our second semester. We’ve done a lot this month already, too, but I’ll let the Queen of Speed retake her final blog post for August. Tune in next time and thanks for bearing with us! Moneybags out!

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Savanna Stumpf – IIOP Student Blog – July 1, 2021

Second Semester – Summer 2021

June 30th, 2021

What a month.

I know I have said it before, but wow it is flying by. Last time I did this blog was roughly a month ago and I wrapped it up with talking about receiving our white coats. Thinking about that today, it feels like it happened a year ago. We learn so much and do so much hands-on work within these classes that it has all just kind of become one large moment in my head with absolutely no timeline.

This week though, we finished our third class: Orthotic Management of Lower Limb 1. Throughout these four weeks, my classmates and I made accommodative FOs, UCBLs, AFOs, Articulating AFOs, and even got a sweet little Zoom call with Becker. The best part about having the opportunity to makes these devices for one another is that we actually get the opportunity to understand how these devices feel. This gives us the ability to relate just a bit to our future patients and understand different pressure points, etc., that they may be feeling. Also, huge shout out to all those technicians out there. I am not sure I will ever be able to wrap my mind around how quickly you guys turn over devices. Granted, this was the first time I have ever made any type of Ox, but it took us close to 2-3 days each!! I can only hope one day I look back and have a good laugh at how rough my first AFO came out. But on the bright side, I can only go up from here.

We now have begun our Spinal management class that will continue on for the next three weeks. While we have had some pretty hefty lecture material, we did start fitting one another with COs, CTOs, TLSOs, and LSOs. After trying them on and fitting my classmates in them, I have an even greater understanding of how well those suckers work when patients use them correctly. Being so restricted with some devices was tough! I can only imagine having to wear those devices 6 plus weeks. With this class being only about three weeks though, we already have our midterm creeping up around the corner. As always, keep us in your thoughts as we take our tests!!

Talk again in a month!

Savanna Stumpf

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Onny Mbagwu – IIOP Student Blog – May 7, 2021

Helloooooooo! I hope everyone is enjoying their life so far, especially during this lovely summer. I hope those who graduated are enjoying their residencies, I hope everyone in my cohort are enjoying their rotations and I also hope the class after us are enjoying their hands-on work! I apologize for not being consistent with my blog posting this summer. Y’all know I was SUPER EXCITED to start my clinical rotations!! Speaking of rotations, let me get into what I have been doing so far and what I have seen.

               So, I started my clinical rotations this summer at two places, one being the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (which has always been my dream to work there so y’all know I am pumped) and another O&P office called ProCare which is also in Atlanta. One thing about my places of choice, I feel like I am seeing a balance of children, orthotics, adults, and prosthetics. At CHOA, I am usually seeing children and orthotics (which is much more common) and at the ProCare office, I am observing adults and prosthetics. I am loving both so far and with this in mind, I think I have decided to do separate residencies for both orthotics and prosthetics, not combined.

               I love that all of the practitioners I am working with, are taking the time to teach and explain to me the concepts that I may not be familiar with. So far at CHOA, I have observed a lot of patients with cerebral palsy, spastic, diplegic, with ataxia, lot of muscle weakness, scoliosis patients, clubfoot, patients with brachycephaly and plagiocephaly. Meaning, that there were lots of AFOs, SAFOs, DAFOs, cranial remodeling helmets delivered. The thing about me is that even if I see it a million times, there is always something new to learn about it. The more I see it, the more I know about it, and the more I feel comfortable working with patients who have some of the abnormalities. I love observing and working with the children there. Sometimes, it is hard to control the crying babies and children with involuntary movements, but it is so rewarding. Every infant that I have seen always stares at me, so sometimes I have to become a distraction when they are scanning the children with the StarBand lol. The scoliosis patients usually have the Boston brace and the providence nighttime brace, but it was so interesting to see how they measure for a providence nighttime brace. For the Boston brace, you take your regular measurements, and they use the structure scanner. For the providence brace, measurements, scanning and a providence board is used. One unique patient had pectus carinatum which was interesting to see.

Protective helmet for a pediatric patient

               At the ProCare office, I have seen a lot of transfemoral and transtibial patients. I love that at that clinic, I get a chance to talk with the practitioners and discuss the different ways to align a patient’s leg in order for their gait to mimic a normal gait and in order for the patient to feel comfortable ambulating without balance issues. They are so passionate about teaching me materials. The practitioners in this office are young. I would say around 3-5 years older than me. It was really inspiring to see that soon I will be as good as them at aligning and finding the right parts for a patient. Most of the patients I have seen are patients who are middle aged and up. There was one patient who almost made me cry (I’m emotional lol) because he loved his leg so much during delivery. He thanked me (I didn’t really do anything, but I did point out an alignment issue which was fixed) , told me good luck and that I would be successful. Those are the patient interactions that make me want to work for free.

               As you can tell, I am enjoying my clinical rotations. Unfortunately, my last day is June 30th. However, I am still looking for more places to shadow and help out with like camps for children with disabilities and also more shadowing opportunities. I used to say, “ I can’t wait to start my clinical rotations!” Now that I have started, I cannot wait to graduate and start my residency program.  


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Savanna Stumpf– IIOP Student Blog – June 3, 2021

Hi there!

It’s been a while since we have last chatted. Between April and May, a lot has happened. The biggest feat is that we have moved on from the first semester and already finished a month of the second semester! I would say my classmates and I are all very excited to have moved into this semester. We are now all in on the action, really getting busy with the hands-on classes. In just a month, we have familiarized ourselves with how to use all the machinery (and yes this includes sewing machines), worked through Range of Motion within the major joints in the body, took plaster and fiberglass casts, practiced talking through patient history, and much more. It is actually hard to believe we are already a month through because it has flown by.

Going into our second month, we are getting started with our first lower limb orthoses: foot orthotics. Each of us classmates got partnered up as we took on the “patient-practitioner” roles. I am currently making shoe inserts for Ian, so I took his patient history and took impressions with a smash box. From there, we have poured plaster molds, modified them, and started to pull different materials over them to begin the shoe insert process. Ian, if you’re reading this, I hope I do your inserts justice. For me personally, this has been my first time working with shoe inserts and creating them from scratch. So, fingers crossed they both come out well!

Tomorrow, June 4th is a special day within this second semester because we have our white coat ceremony. I will make sure to have all the details in next month’s blog! But for now, we will just take in the moment of feeling officially official in our fancy new white coats.

Talk again soon!

Savanna Stumpf

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Onny Mbagwu – IIOP Student Blog – April 20, 2021

Peace be with you all! I hope you had a wonderful week!

In two weeks, this semester will be coming to an end. The seniors are graduating, the second semester students (me and my cohort) are being shipped off to clinical rotations for the summer, and the freshman class is getting ready for their hands-on second semester. Boy has it been a long/quick/tiring/exciting/struggle/rewarding ride! But I am grateful for every part of it. This week has been a bit hard, but we managed to complete it. We should all pat ourselves on the back for pushing through. We completed our UCBL foot Orthosis, made a rocker bottom, took our midterms, and started our solid AFO projects. I like how I am starting to get the hang of casting, fabricating, and modifying the pieces. As I practice more, I am gaining more confidence. And I hope I get a chance to gain more confidence by learning and practicing more during my clinical rotations.

See y’all again next week. Time is going by fast and I’m not sure if I should be happy or scared lol  -Onny

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Onny Mbagwu – IIOP Student Blog – April 9, 2021

Hiiiiiii. It’s me again. Back with another update. I hope you all are having a great weekend so far!
Last week we started our last class of the semester! Whoop Whoop! After April 30th, clinical rotations are near, meaning we get to see and put what we learned to the test! This week we started our second project which is creating a UCBL foot orthosis. Unlike our first project, this foot orthosis is corrective and I am looking forward to the ones my partner created for me because I have some flat feet. Them boys are unfixable! Just kidding. We also had a presentation with a representative from Orthomerica to come in and talk to us about CROW orthosis which was very interesting and informative. I hope to learn a lot more during our clinical rotations, 4th semester, and our future residencies.
Bye for now…

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Savanna Stumpf– IIOP Student Blog – April 2, 2021

March Recap – – Semester 1

Well, we made it through midterms. It was a long two-ish weeks but we powered through. Now we are getting our hands dirty again, diving right back into lecture. And let me tell you, we are going head first into the brachial plexus and upper extremities. Which, if you do not know, is pretty heavy stuff. But with only a month left of this semester, it seems only right. So don’t knock me and my classmates out of your thoughts just yet!

Even though this past month was a lot of studying and testing, we got a nice breather with a little observation treat. We observed a patient who had an incomplete spinal cord injury that he had been living with for the majority of his life. He had quite an interesting gait pattern that he had adapted to over time, with the addition of lace up ankle braces and two canes. Practitioners had tried a few different treatment options for him in the past, but he personally never loved the outcomes…Not until he was convinced to try again. He is now walking cane-less with 2 AFO’s that he says has changed his life. And the craziest part is that he hadn’t even had his AFO’s a month. Because of this, his wheels starting turning and he wanted to know more of what was out there. Lucky for us, that next best thing for him was a FES, and we got to observe.

Long story short, the FES unfortunately did not work for the patient. It had been too long since the injury and too much deterioration in the limbs. But even though it did not work, my classmates and I all took away a bigger meaning of the day that Mr.Russo brought to light – – No matter how long in the field, no matter what age you are, you will always face disappointment. You learn that everything is not always going to work out the way you want it to, but you learn to look at the positives at the end of the day. The patient loves what does works for him and he is grateful for that. So, you shoot your shot at a new technology that may improve and benefit the patient’s life, but move on when it doesn’t go your way and find the bright side of what is working. 

Shifting back to school now, last week in gait lab, my classmates and I all had the opportunity to walk across the gait mat wearing different orthoses. We then took this data and compared it with our normal gaits, and hypothesized reasons for the differences between the two. It definitely took some time to adjust to wearing, but we all really enjoyed playing around with them. What was so nice about this lab, too, was that it was able to offer us a glimpse into what it is like for patients. It makes me even more excited for next semester when we really get into the hands-on building and crafting of orthotics for one another. But until then, we can only dream of making our first orthoses.

Chat again soon!

Savanna Stumpf

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