|From left to right Elot Gazabon and James Corcoran, both of Sikorsky; Miguel Guterrez and Sebastian Ramirez; and Dennis Huysman of Hanger.|
|Image: Hanger Orthopedic Group|
On May 13, Colombian students Miguel Angel Gutierrez and Sebastian Ramirez graduated from Hanger’s Newington Certificate Program for Prosthetics. As part of a humanitarian effort by Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. and Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc. to help the people of Colombia, Gutierrez and Ramirez completed an intensive 9-month course and internship which prepared them as qualified clinicians trained in patient assessment, prosthetics fitting, and socket/limb fabrication. Both are scheduled to return home to Colombia on May 25 where they will care for amputees at the Central Military Hospital Prosthetics Laboratory, according to a press release.
The Newington training program in which Gutierrez and Ramirez participated is the result of a partnership between Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation, a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. to improve the provision of prosthetic care to amputees in Colombia. Due to decades of conflict, Colombia has experienced a large number of landmine victims, and with more than 7,700 landmine survivors registered since 2002, the need for accessible prosthetic care is high.
The collaboration includes two initiatives – the clinical education and training of Colombians interested in becoming prosthetists and technicians, and the implementation of a comprehensive in-country clinic to help alleviate the backlog of amputees needing prosthetic intervention. New students from Colombia are expected to begin the same program in August 2011.