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Spotlighting Women in O&P: Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)
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Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)

Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)
Stefania pictured on the left with her family before embarking on the Surf Coast Walk in Victoria, Australia.

Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons) has been in the prosthetics and orthotics profession for 15 years and is a Research Assistant Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from the National Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics at La Trobe University (Australia) in 1995 with a Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthotics (Honours) degree and then completed her PhD from La Trobe University in 2000. Her PhD Thesis was on the Gait Biomechanics and Prosthetic Management of Children with Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency (PFFD). In October 2000, she moved to the United States to complete a post-doctoral fellowship at Northwestern University. Stefania has received many awards for her work in prosthetics and orthotics including the 2010 Research Award from the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists. She has presented her research several times at Academy meetings including 3 times as a Thranhardt Lecture. Outside of work, Stefania enjoys singing in her choir and praciting yoga. We recently caught up with Stefania to ask a few questions.

Why did you choose this profession?

When I was 17, trying to finish high school and not sure what I wanted to do with myself, I had an interest in both fine art and science. While trawling through university course guides I came across prosthetics and orthotics and thought it sounded like a good mix of hands-on and science. The fact that I also get to help people was a huge attraction.

What has been most satisfying about your decision to go into the field?

That I've lasted 15 years!

What has changed the most about the field since you became a practitioner?

There has been a tremendous change in awareness regarding the role of research within clinical practice.

What has been the most frustrating about this field?

Early on I was frustrated by having to continually justify and defend my decision to pursue research.

Of what professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud?

I was involved in writing the evidence report for the Academy's state of the science conference on the biomechanics of partial foot amputation. I'm proud of this work because feedback that we've received indicates that this report is resulting in changes in clinical practice with positive outcomes for persons with partial foot amputation.

If you were speaking to high school or college students, what would you say to encourage them to choose this field?

That diversity in the practice of prosthetics and orthotics is large enough to satisfy almost anyone's interests and skills and there are huge rewards to be had from helping others.

How has your Academy membership been of value to you?

My Academy membership has provided me with opportunities to deepen my knowledge of P&O and make connections with others in the field that have been immensely rewarding. The Academy's support of research has been of tremendous value to the field of P&O and to me personally.



The American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 760
Bethesda, MD 20814
(202) 380-3663