The great 17th-century English physician and philosopher John Locke opined, “The improvement of understanding is for two ends: first, our own increase of knowledge; secondly, to enable us to deliver that knowledge to others.” As a medical provider, I strongly believe in continuing my education to increase my understanding, knowledge, and expertise so I can offer patients the latest and best treatment methods available. And, as luck would have it, I encountered a wonderful mentor who was willing and able to share his knowledge and expertise with me. That mentor is Luke Stikeleather and that knowledge and expertise is the fabrication of the Rigo Cheneau scoliosis brace.
Several years ago, I was working in the prosthetic and orthotics field in Boston, Massachusetts when I first heard of Luke Stikeleather. At that time, Luke was spearheading a movement to create a special certification for orthotists concentrating on scoliosis bracing. Fast-forward a few years to 2015. I moved to New York City to work for Eschen Prosthetic and Orthotic Laboratories. Scoliosis patients in the area were beginning to make inquiries with their physicians about Rigo Cheneau-style bracing for the treatment of scoliosis. Those physicians turned to the orthotists at Eschen to fabricate Rigo Cheneau braces. I had almost six years of experience in fitting scoliosis braces but I knew the Rigo Cheneau brace was beyond my training and expertise. I turned to Luke Stikeleather for his assistance.
Luke offered to mentor me at one of his two facilities: the National Scoliosis Center, Fairfax, Virginia. I traveled to Virginia and shadowed Luke for a few days every few months. He offered me hands-on experience in patient evaluation, Rigo Cheneau brace fabrication, and brace fitting. But, Luke went above and beyond; he also traveled to Manhattan several times so that he could assist me with the process at my own facility with my own patients. During interim periods, Luke was accessible by phone and email for questions and feedback. My time spent under Luke’s tutelage was instrumental to my understanding and knowledge of the Rigo Cheneau scoliosis brace.
My time spent under Luke’s tutelage was instrumental to my understanding and knowledge of the Rigo Cheneau scoliosis brace.
Always looking to improve my skills and learn even more, my learning process continued along with the continued support of Luke Stikeleather. Luke encouraged me to earn my specialization as a Certified Orthotist Scoliosis Specialist. I also took the opportunity to spend four full months at the National Scoliosis Center in a scoliosis fellowship.
I will soon be relocating from Manhattan to Sacramento, California. It is my hope that I can apply the knowledge, experience and expertise that I learned from Luke Stikeleather in my work with patients on the west coast. And, maybe one day, I can mentor another to share the benefits of the Rigo Cheneau brace with even more scoliosis patients.