Entry into the AT field:
How I got into the
I first started working in the
rehabilitative engineering and assistive technology field when I became the
first Director of the National Institute of Disability Rehabilitation Research
(NIDRR). My professional background is I am a physician who has dedicated my
entire professional life to disabilities.
Important event(s) that influenced
my early decision to get into the assistive technology field
My decision was made because when I began in this
field it was at the brim of the explosion of technology transfer and I realized
that it had a major role in the lives of persons with disabilities.
Why I chose the AT
As indicated in the above
My inspiration and
I really didn't have
Why the field is important to me
and the central focus of my work
is important because it is the way of the future in many ways to manage persons
My memorable successes and
greatest contributions to the field
The creation of the Seattle Foot (an energy
storage foot for amputees). The in-depth research on Functional Electrical
Stimulation for paraplegics to walk and use their upper limbs The creation of
the FES Center in the VA Cleveland Medical Center. The creation of the VA
Medical Center in Seattle on CAD/CAM. Innovative research for sports equipment
for persons with disabilities, and many others.
My most memorable
Hopefully, I didn't have
Significant changes and advances
in the field since I first entered it
The most significant change was to raise
awareness among researchers, service providers and training programmers that
rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology are an integral part in the
entire area of disabilities.
important advances in the field have been how rehabilitation engineering and
assistive technology have become integrated across all disabilities across the
On the future of rehabilitation
engineering and assistive technology
I have a very optimistic view of the future of
rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology in its forthcoming
innovative research and the translation of this research into clinical
practice. It can only go in one direction and that is to expand its
applications and how it can be brought to the marketplace for persons with
My role within RESNA and what it
gave back to me
I was largely
responsible for the creation of RESNA as a founder and gave the initial
financial support when I was the Deputy Assistant Chief Medical Director of
Disabilities in the VA so that RESNA could be created.
On the future of RESNA
Onward and upward!
My suggestions for those just
entering the field
I would encourage
young researchers, providers, and educators in rehabilitative engineering and
assistive technology to become committed and passionate about what they are
doing and only outstanding outcomes can result.