Democratizing prosthetic and diabetic care: A resilient model for healthcare delivery

Taken by Research Specialist Francesca Riccio-Ackerman in Nogales, Mexico.

As developers of prosthetic technology, we’re dedicated to understanding the challenges that people with limb loss face, not just after amputation but in many cases, leading up to it.

With experts in global health and development, biomedical and mechanical engineering, and remote logistics, we’re designing a better way to prevent and treat amputations, and bringing our technologies directly to communities that need them most.

This project focuses on capacity-building to bridge gaps in healthcare for people with diabetes and those living with limb loss by delivering convenient, high quality services for a fraction of the cost through an innovative distributed care model.

Operated by locally trained people with amputation and trusted clinicians, we use a satellite mobile health clinic to increase the capacity and geographical range of services. Guided by our epidemiological spatial analysis tools, we’re prioritizing communities across the world with the highest rates of amputation and amputation risk, paired with a limited ability to respond to this need.

Our Team

The Biomechatronics Group is led by Professor Hugh Herr. This project is developed by biomedical engineer and global health systems and policy specialist Francesca Riccio-Ackerman and incorporates the work of the digital prosthetic socket design project including researchers Dana Solav, Xingbang YangAaron Jaeger, Christina MeyerDuncan Lee, Samantha Gutierrez-Arango and Erica Israel.

Dr. Nancy Oriol, MD, Faculty Associate Dean for Community Engagement in Medical Education and Lecturer on Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Joel Huegel, leader of the Biomechatronics Research laboratory and tenured Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Tecnologico de Monterrey in Guadalajara, Mexico who specializes in low-cost, highly functional lower limb prostheses to meet worldwide need.

Our project's supporting research team includes MIT undergraduates: Carl "Andrew" Seelhoff , Kaili Glasser, Aashini Shah and Liam Ackerman ; and FIU undergraduates Lina Henriquez and Lara Garcia.

Preceding Projects

The work to produce a computational algorithm to digitally design prosthetic sockets is foundational to this current translation and implementation effort. More information about these projects is provided in the articles below.