Date: Friday, July 10, 2020
Dear RESNA members,
I hope this letter finds you safe and well. For the last two years, I have had the honor of serving as RESNA’s president. It has been a pleasure to experience the knowledge, passion and commitment that RESNA members have to offer, and I am extremely grateful.
I joined RESNA more than 30 years ago, when I was working as an OT in a D.C. area public school system called Prince Georges County MD. Joining RESNA gave me a critical boost in confidence as a young Therapist. As I progressed in my career, RESNA became a place where I could always count on learning from the best in the field and better my own craft. This is still the case, even now that I am retired; I am learning so much every day from RESNA members.
Over the past two years, RESNA has refined its internal operations in critical ways. Entering a partnership with the association management company, SmithBucklin gave us the expertise of a nonprofit management organization to complement our expertise in AT. This collaboration gives us access to a range of web, marketing, and legal resources that we would not have otherwise. In particular, I am grateful to Andrea Van Hook and Amanda Browe for their adept oversight of RESNA’s operations.
With this help, I believe that RESNA will continue to grow and diversify its membership and activities. Much of this will take place through new technology. There are a lot of cutting-edge assistive technologies available and in development that will shape our future. These advancements include:
- virtual reality and artificial intelligence that have revolutionized life for people with disabilities;
- the My Wheelchair app, produced by United Spinal with input from RESNA and other organizations, which helps empower consumers to play an active role in acquiring and handling their manual wheelchairs;
- videoconferencing technology that has enabled many of us to continue service delivery despite a pandemic restricting access to our most vulnerable patients;
- the RESNA 2020 Virtual Conference, which will give attendees a unique virtual experience inspired by our annual live event.
- and RESNA’s recent investment in Higher Logic, an on-line community platform that will replace our outdated listservs and allow for easier and more efficient collaboration. Look for more news this fall.
I am excited about the potential of this technology and our future as an organization.
Starting in August, the incredible Maureen Linden will take on the role of president. Maureen has a wonderful and broad set of skills as an engineer, educator, and RESNA member, and I am confident that RESNA will flourish under her leadership.
Thank you to the RESNA Board of Directors and committee chairs for making my term as president successful and productive.
Yours in assistive technology,
Mary Ellen Buning, PhD, OT, ATP/SMS, RESNA Fellow
President, RESNA Board of Directors