Shepherd Center’s Director of MS Research to Lead National Rehabilitation Medicine Organization
Deborah Backus, PT, Ph.D., FACRM, director of multiple sclerosis research at The Eula C. and Andrew C. Carlos Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center, has been elected president-elect of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM). She will begin a two-year term as president-elect on Oct. 31 and then assume the presidency in 2017.
“I am honored and delighted to work in this capacity for ACRM,” Dr. Backus said. “The mission to advance rehabilitation science through collaborative, multidisciplinary research and education aligns so closely with my own mission that ACRM has been my primary professional organization since I attended my first ACRM annual conference in 2004.”
Dr. Backus has 30 years of experience as a rehabilitation clinician, educator and researcher. As part of the MS Rehabilitation and Wellness Program at Shepherd Center, Dr. Backus coordinates research efforts to study the health and wellness needs of people at varying stages of MS. In particular, her research centers on evaluating and improving rehabilitation and exercise interventions available to people with moderate to severe MS to combat fatigue and deconditioning, and ultimately prevent or decrease further disability. Another exciting line of work relates to integrating research and clinical practice to develop initiatives that will advance the care of people with MS.
Her research focus combined with her clinical experience has fueled her passion for facilitating the translation of medical evidence into practice, including influencing clinicians, payers for reimbursement of evidence-based interventions and policymakers related to health policy. Dr. Backus has presented both nationally and internationally, and has also published related to this work.
As president of ACRM, Dr. Backus joins the ranks of Shepherd Center CEO and President Gary Ulicny, Ph.D., who served as ACRM president from 2010-11. ACRM is an organization of rehabilitation professionals dedicated to serving people with disabling conditions by supporting research that promotes health, independence, productivity and quality of life, and meets the needs of rehabilitation clinicians and people with disabilities.
Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neurological conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 740 inpatients, nearly 280 day program patients and more than 7,100 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.