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MobilityRERC State of the Science Conference

The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Wheeled Mobility (Mobility RERC) will conduct its State of the Science Conference in conjunction with the RESNA Annual Conference, which is June 28 - July 3, 2012 in Baltimore, MD.

The Mobility RERC is a federally-funded research consortium comprised of engineers, researchers, physicians, clinicians and environmental accessibility specialists from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Duke University, and the Shepherd Center, a non-profit rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, GA. Now in the fourth year of a five-year grant, the MobilityRERC will report on the state of knowledge in key areas and seek input and feedback from RESNA conference attendees to inform future research priorities.

Dedicated to the theme “Wheeled Mobility in Everyday Life”, one of the goals of the State of the Science in to provide clinicians with research findings that can directly influence their practices today, and have a positive, immediate impact on patient outcomes. “The sessions will focus on public policy, service delivery, pressure ulcer risk and prevention, and transitioning to wheelchair use, which is a growing issue to the aging population,” said Stephen Sprigle, PhD, PT of Georgia Institute of Technology and the organizer. “We want to ensure that clinicians have access to the latest research findings to impact their care today, while engaging them about research opportunities to improve their care in the future. The RESNA conference, with its multidisciplinary approach, is the perfect venue.”

The Mobility RERC State of the Science will take place July 1 and July 2 as past of the RESNA General Conference, and will include three sessions and one plenary open to all conference attendees. The sessions are:

-          How Science Influences Public Policy in Seating and Mobility (plenary), with speakers Doran Edwards, MD, Advanced Healthcare Consulting, LLC and Rita S. Hostak, Sunrise Medical; the speakers will talk about how research influences government policy, why policies can sometimes appear counter-intuitive, and how practitioners and researchers an influence policy.

-          Delivering Wheeled Mobility and Seating Services (session) with Elisa Berliner, PhD, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Laura Cohen, PhD, Rehabilitation Technology Consultants, and Nancy Greer, PhD, Minneapolis Veterans Health Care System; this session will focus on service delivery activities and the means by which the effectiveness of this clinical decision making improves service delivery outcomes.

-          Individualizing Pressure Ulcer Risk and Prevention Strategies (session) with Teresa Conner-Kerr, PhD, Winston Salem State University, Sharon Sonenblum, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Stephen Sprigle, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology; this session will provide insight into why some people get pressure ulcers and other don’t,” current research can help clinicians understand what they are seeing in the clinic, and can inform prevention strategies tailored to individuals,” said Sharon Sonenblum, PhD, one of the featured presenters.

-          Mobility Trajectories and Transitions: Walking ß à Wheeling (session) with Fran Harris, PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology, Helen Hoenig, MD, MPH, Duke VAMC, Lisa Iezzoni, MD, Harvard Medical School, and Jim Lenker, PhD, University of Buffalo; the sessions will provide information on how to determine what kinds of devices meet individual mobility needs over time and “what is needed to help ensure mobility needs are met” according to Sonenblum.

“We’re pleased to be able to collaborate with the Mobility RERC to integrate the State of the Science Conference into the RESNA Conference,” said Nell Bailey, Executive Director of RESNA. “These value-added sessions will offer the latest research findings to our conference attendees, which we hope that will find informative, useful, and inspiring.”


RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, is the premier professional organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being or people with disabilities through increasing access to technology solutions. RESNA advances the field by offering certification, continuing education, and professional development; developing assistive technology standards; promoting research and public policy; and sponsoring forums for the exchange of information and ideas to meet the needs of out multidisciplinary constituency. Visit

About Mobility RERC

The goal of the mobility RERC is to promote new ways of conceptualizing and understanding wheeled mobility. The research and development work is not limited to wheelchairs but considers the users and all of their interactions, including seating, environmental barriers, and interactive training techniques. The Mobility RERC is comprised of engineers, researchers, physicians, clinicians, and environmental accessibility specialists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia State University, Duke University, and the Shepherd Center, a private, non-[profit rehabilitation hospital for people with spinal cords and brain injury in Atlanta, GA. The Mobility RERC is supported by Grant H133E080003 of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Department of Education. Visit

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.