Spotlight: Southwest Center of Excellence in Dallas, TX
by Amber Henson, on Apr 6, 2020 12:11:28 PM
Our Dallas center, also known as our Southwest Center of Excellence, is where prosthetist and clinical manager Rob Dodson, CPO, FAOOP, and his team fit patients with prosthetic devices and help them return to an independent life. This center hosts patients from local Texas cities like Fort Worth, El Paso and Amarillo. Outside the state, they host patients from Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Jackson, New Orleans, other cities and states, as well as many patients from other countries.
As upper limb specialists, the team understands the need for a space that is specifically set up to help anyone with a congenital limb difference or an amputation, be it partial hand, below elbow, above elbow or shoulder level.
How does our Dallas center redefine what is possible with prosthetic devices? We spoke with four of our Southwest team members to get their take: Rob, our prosthetist mentioned above; Carina, our on-site occupational therapist; and two technicians, Brennan and another Rob, who is known as R2-D2 around the office (or R2 for short). Melissa and Heath are also part of our Southwest team: Melissa is our patient coordinator who greets everyone upon arrival and connects with patients over phone and email. Heath is our Patient Relationship Manager and connects with therapists and physicians to relay progress in our patient's care and answer any questions they may have. Melissa and Heath will be featured in a later blog post.
Our center space, which you can see in the photos and view in our video below, includes comfortable lounge areas, consultation spaces, private patient rooms, a kitchen and a therapy room. Carina loves working with patients in both the therapy room and the kitchen. "And sometimes the staff will all congregate in our kitchen for lunch and we’ll catch up with each other, so it's a warm room."
Behind the scenes, we have a fully equipped lab featuring a silicone fabrication center to create custom-made sockets that maximize patient comfort and increase prosthetic device ease-of-use. The lab is Rob’s favorite room: “I love our lab! It is the beehive of the center and the place for production for all the things we fit and deliver to our patients.” Brennan spends much of his time in the silicone fabrication room in the lab to create those sockets, but enjoys getting to see the finished product most of all. "The therapy room is actually where we see patients get excited about their progress with using a prosthesis. I have many good memories in that room."
Our Dallas center is optimally placed for both proximity to the medical community and to great attractions, such as the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. Rob says: “The museum is six stories of science in action. If you go, check out the ‘Being Human’ Hall where there is a prosthesis on display that we made!”
Carina thinks that the Dallas Museum of Art is worth a visit, and the Nasher Sculpture Gardens "offer a nice space and chance to see various art exhibits."
Brennan recommends the Bass Pro shops for those who love the outdoors – and for those with a hankering for some ready-to-eat fish, R2 recommends the restaurant Go Fish Poke.
Both Brennan and R2 were trained onsite. R2 had a friend who let him know we were hiring. “My friend said his company was looking for someone who is good with their hands and enjoys helping people. I was hired on my birthday seven years ago and the rest is history!” Brennan shared: “I applied for a position here with no knowledge of prosthetics and fell in love with it.”
Carina actually visited our Southwest Center for the first time as a student, years ago. Since that visit, she "had the opportunity to work in pediatrics, inpatient acute care, inpatient rehab, outpatient therapy and in speciality clinics including working in a burn clinic and hand clinic," before joining us full time.
Rob found himself being pulled in the direction of upper extremity prosthetic care: “During my residency, I was able to work with a multitude of different prosthetic and orthotic patients, but I always loved it when an upper limb patient would come to our clinic.” Rob was living in California when the Southwest Center opened, but as a Texas native, he jumped at the chance to move. “This was a rare opportunity to do something that I loved as well as get back to the great state of Texas!”
Carina and Rob, working as an integrated team, bring their different experiences and expertise to care for the unique patient population they see everyday.
It’s part of our patient care model to ensure that each person who walks through our doors knows that we are there to support them – but we also just really enjoy spending time with our patients! “We have gone out to lunch or dinner with many of our patients,” says Brennan. “Enjoying a meal together helps patients relax, and getting to know us better helps them trust us with their care.”
Rob has even had the opportunity to travel to help support a patient: “I was asked to be the ‘prosthetic expert’ for a patient who was filming a science show in Los Angeles a few years ago. I was behind the scenes to make sure everything worked as planned and she was amazing on set. It was so awesome to watch the finished show and to see her shine. That kind of exposure helps dispel the myth that upper limb amputees are limited in what they can achieve. It was such a cool experience!”
But beyond our awesome center, great location, the skills that we bring to each patient’s case and our offer of friendship, we can’t forget that it’s each team member that makes for such a special place. Both R2 and Brennan spoke of the family “vibe” and “atmosphere” that they encounter each day at the center. Rob shared that “the fact that we have so many unique personalities who come to work every day with the singular focus of making someone else’s life better is my favorite thing about my team! I am honored to work with this group both here in Dallas as well as across the nation!” Carina spoke about the camaraderie in the center. "It makes me look forward to coming to work each day. It may sound cheesy, but it's true!"
Well, what do you think? Would you like to visit our Southwest Center of Excellence? We’d love to hear from you. Just fill out the form below and we’ll get the ball rolling!