By: Mike Schwartz, Director of Bioengineering

Editors Note: Mike Schwartz (pictured right), a Clinical Scientist and the Director of Bioengineering Research at the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Minnesota reflects on Gillette’s recent clinical gait course, Clinical Gait Analysis: A Focus on Interpretation. During this annual conference, which is hosted by Gillette every third year, participants from across the globe (pictured left) gathered to collaborate and learn. This year, attendees hailed from 10 different countries! Mike Schwartz, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare

There is a rapidly emerging view of medicine that research, patient care, and education are all intertwined. This is definitely the case in the treatment of gait disorders in children. Research conducted at the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis spans biology, technology, treatment, and outcomes. Our research is focused on four key areas:

  • Biology: Our understanding of how humans walk and move
  • Technology: How we can better measure human movement
  • Treatment: Using the data we acquire to prescribe and perform optimal surgeries
  • Outcomes: How to measure and improve our patient’s gait, function, and overall well-being

Events like last month’s gait analysis course give us a chance to share our research findings and patient care innovations with our peers from around the world. In addition to disseminating knowledge, events like this also give us a chance to gain valuable insights from others. The gait course is one of many educational settings that our staff engages in. We often present at international scientific conferences, give lectures, conduct tutorials, and host visiting scholars and clinicians at Gillette.

The attendees of the gait course reflect the fact that science and medicine are global pursuits. The gait course is a great example of the collaborative spirit of our field. Our local team and our far-flung colleagues pull together every year for the past 25 years to deliver information that helps all of us provide optimal care to our patients. It is easy to fall into a narrow way of thinking about patients and treatments based on what we see going on in St. Paul. However, when we exchange ideas and results with our colleagues from around the world, we often see that there are an abundance of ideas about the best way to improve children’s’ gait.

Gillette Hosts Global Experts in Gait and Motion Analysis - group photoGillette Children's Specialty Healthcare has a well-deserved reputation for delivering outstanding care for children with cerebral palsy. This reputation is built on decades of effort by countless members of the Gillette team – including physicians, nurses, therapists, scientists, bioengineers, and other allied health professionals. Part of this reputation is derived from the research we conduct – a considerable amount of which emanates from the James R. Gage Center for Gait and Motion Analysis. Our center has been at the forefront of a number of important developments in the field, including the development of outcome measures that are used around the world [Citation], methods that make the data we produce more accurate and patient-specific [Citation], computer simulations that help explain the causes of certain gait patterns [Citation], and analytical methods that can predict which patients will have the best outcomes from a variety of surgeries [Citation, Citation].

I chose to work at Gillette, with its world-renowned Center for Gait and Motion Analysis, because it offers a setting where I can conduct research with clinical contact and relevance. Gillette offers a unique opportunity, maintaining a clear focus on patient care, while simultaneously supporting the efforts of researchers and scientists. To learn more about this research project and other initiatives, click here.

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