Don Katz, CO, LO, FAAOP
UTSW ’85 (Prosthetics & Orthotics)
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC)
Don had multiple knee surgeries in high school, which spurred his interest in beginning to study physical therapy at The University of Texas at Austin. After back surgery in college caused him to question whether he could physically continue on a path toward PT, the UT Associate Dean of the College of Natural Sciences suggested he look into the Prosthetics and& Orthotics (P/O) field.
His Initial Reaction
“In college, I never heard of [P-O] and didn’t even know the difference between ‘orthotics’ and ‘prosthetics.’” (He’s since figured it out.)
“One of the most rewarding aspects of my work is developing the road map for establishing the new type of clinician who supports patients by scientifically validating our approach to P-O. How do we grow the new academic leaders, the new researchers, to help advance patient care in the future?”
TSRHC and UTSW
Don was a member of the second P-O class at UT Southwestern, where he did a rotation at TSRHC. He joined TSRHC full-time in 1986 as a staff orthotist and is currently employed there. He is now affiliated with UT Southwestern as Adjunct Faculty and teaches in the School of Health Professions.
A Leader in his Field
Don has published original research in several medical journals and was lead author of "Brace Treatment Controls Progression in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis," which was recognized as the 2010 Outstanding Clinical Scientific Paper by the Pediatric Orthopaedic Society of North America.
While he was president of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP), the association received a grant from the Department of Education to study where the field of P-O is today, where it needs to go (development of more Master’s and PhD programs) and how to get there. Don is an AAOP Fellow, as well as an Associate Fellow with the Scoliosis Research Society.
Don is enrolled in the Executive Grad School Program at UT-Arlington, pursuing his MS in Health Care Administration. He says, “I’m not the oldest student in the class, but admit I am older than the average!” As for the profession, he says, “Orthotics is now attracting those more interested in clinical practice and who have a passion for evidence-based practice, those interested not only in what we do but why we do it.”
The Last Word
“The best part of any given day at TSRHC is when I’m working with patients and their families. I still maintain a clinical practice, which I cherish.”