School of Health Professions

O & P Program Master's Research


The BCM Orthotics and Prosthetics Program is focused on contributing to the global community of O&P clinicians, educators, and researchers devoted to advancing the profession. We firmly believe in equipping our students to engage in evidence-based practice and contribute to the scientific literature. Each year, BCM faculty, residents, and graduates contribute to the program by striving for excellence in scientific research. 

During the first year of the program, students learn from and collaborate with our distinguished faculty and discover the variety of research opportunities available to them. Once students identify their interests, they immediately join in literature review and ongoing research lab group meetings to begin their master’s thesis projects. Students are well-prepared to take on these projects through the Health Research Methods course taken during the first year of the curriculum. Students make progress on the research project throughout the clinical residency with the support of their research mentor and the orthotic and prosthetic research courses. 

The projects culminate with a poster presentation competition, elevator pitch, and submission of the master’s thesis prior to graduation. Many BCM graduates have gone on to present their research at national meetings, receive awards for their research, and submit and publish their master’s thesis to peer-reviewed journals. View our publications, awards, and presentations.


O&P Research Program Learning Outcomes

  • Clearly define a research question based upon available evidence 
  • Identify variables and study designs according to the research question 
  • Conduct a literature review via online database search 
  • Assess peer-reviewed literature to determine its relevance and relationship to the research question 
  • Evaluate the appropriateness of a given research design in relation to a research question 
  • Synthesize literature to provide evidence for study and evaluation of findings 
  • Apply research findings to clinical practice as a prosthetist-orthotist 
  • Communicate research justification, methods, data analysis, results, discussion, and conclusion in oral, visual, and written formats 
  • Identify and execute methods to maintain human subjects’ rights, welfare, and information privacy when needed 
  • Communicate in a timely and effective manner with members of the research team to create and implement a plan to complete thesis

Our Researchers


Lisa Abernethy, MSPO, CPO, LPO

The Abernethy lab is interested in improving the quality of care and quality of life in two often overlooked areas of orthotics and prosthetics. The psychosocial effects relating to visible disabilities, wearing devices, and visible deformities when eschewing orthotic treatment are not well quantified. Our current focus is on cranial orthotic treatment and media portrayal of disabilities.


  • Improve cranial quality of care by investigating specialization, parental anxiety, and long-term non-cosmetic outcomes.
  • Investigate the representation of disabilities in media and how it affects quality of life.

Sally Kenworthy, MPO, CPO

Sally Kenworthy is passionate about research related to gait analysis, clinical practice, and education related to lower limb orthotics.

Areas of Research Focus

  • Answering fundamental questions that help clinicians provide the highest quality clinical care possible.
  • Research related to the awareness, professional identity, and value of Orthotists and Prosthetists within the healthcare team.
  • Identify ways in which Interprofessional Education could improve rehabilitative team dynamics and the provision of care.

Megan Elizabeth Glahn, MSPO, CPO, LPO

Megan Glahn’s research emphasizes a holistic approach to addressing the physical and psychological needs of orthotic and prosthetic patients. She also focuses on research related to role awareness and professional identity of orthotists and prosthetists as members of the healthcare team.

Areas of Research Focus

  • Assessing the effect of social support on outcomes in individuals with juvenile and adolescent scoliosis
  • Investigating the effect of counseling on adherence and mental health outcomes in individuals with juvenile and adolescent scoliosis
  • Designing and managing all operations of the online scoliosis support platform, Scolios-us
  • Studying the professional identity and value of orthotists and prosthetists within the healthcare team

Ashley Mullen Ph.D., MSAT, CPO

Ashley Mullen focuses on research related to clinical education and progression along the orthotics and prosthetics education continuum.  

Areas of Research Focus

  • Progression of autonomy in clinical residency, preceptor assessment of residents, the relationship between admissions metrics and student performance, and clinical preceptor barriers/benefits in working with clinical residents.
  • Evaluation of a clinical decision-making tool, assessment practices based upon resident gender, and entrustment trends in clinical residency.

Amandi Rhett, MS, CPO

Amandi Rhett is passionate about research related to Health Care Disparities in Orthotics and Prosthetics.

Areas of Research Focus

  • Demographics of high-risk populations and how race and socioeconomics impacts care.
  • Exploring the following:
    • Identify the role of bias (implicit and explicit) in the Orthotics and Prosthetics field
    • How these bias’s impact patient care
    • Identify barriers to O&P care in patient demographics with high amputation rates
    • Identify Provider-Patient discrepancies in high-risk demographics.
  • Provide practitioners and patients with resources to reduce barriers to receiving successful O&P interventions.

Fanny Schultea, MS, MSEd, CPO, FAAOP

Fanny Schultea's research emphasizes clinical professional development in orthotics and prosthetics rehabilitation.

Areas of Research Focus

  • Exploration and feasibility of clinical specialization within the profession and the development of inter-professional CPD programs in O&P rehabilitation. 
  • Providing the metrics and supporting evidence to advance the development and establishment of clinical specialty programs and designations in Orthotics and Prosthetics.
  • Impact of healthcare value, improve patient outcomes and reduce cost through continual evidence based collaborative clinical training and development. 

Jeremy Sherman, MS, CPO

Jeremy Sherman is focused on innovating on the standards with which clinical care has been established within the fields of orthotics and prosthetics. By challenging the standard, he works to improve upon the way we practice and ultimately improve the quality of life for both clinicians and our patients.

Areas of Research Focus

  • The long-term ergonomic implications of clinic setup and standards of care
  • Bench alignment standards for individuals with PFFD and implications of aligning without the goal of gait symmetry
  • Efficacy of new and unique body-powered terminal devices for upper extremity prosthetics and how they may impact a person’s rehabilitation