Leading Assistive Technology Organizations Announce Joint Conference

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 - 8:45am
Conference News
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, and NCART, the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology announced today that they will co-host a collaborative annual conference in 2016. This collaborative conference will take place July 12-15, 2016 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA. It will leverage proximity to the nation’s capital to engage Congress, policymakers, and federal program administrators with assistive technology stakeholders, including rehabilitation and biomedical engineers, clinicians, researcher, educators, suppliers and manufacturers. The theme for the 2016 conference is "Promoting and Protecting Access to Assistive Technology."
For 2016, this conference will be held in lieu of the organizations’ separate conferences. RESNA traditionally holds its annual international conference, focused on research and clinical best practices for assistive technology, in June every year at different locations across the country and Canada. The NCART/NRRTS National CRT Conference is typically held in April, and is focused on advocacy and professional development for complex rehab technology suppliers and manufacturers. Organizers envision a comprehensive conference that includes complex rehab technology, augmentative and assistive communication, computer access, universal design, job accommodations, cognitive and sensory technologies, robotics, outcomes measurement, and more.  
By combining efforts, RESNA and NCART, along with its partner NRRTS, plan to offer the “best of both worlds” from each conference. The conference will include:
  • Clinically-focused workshop sessions on best practices in all aspects of assistive technology 
  • Scientific research platform and poster sessions 
  • Professional development and leadership training 
  • Interactive Exhibits Pavilion with free public hours 
  • Capitol Hill visits 
  • Networking events 
  • Student competitions
  • Instructional courses, including RESNA’s “Fundamentals in Assistive Technology” course 
 “We’ve been working closely together for many years, advocating for the same issues and attending each other’s conference,” said Don Clayback, Executive Director of NCART. “Given the need for even greater collaboration, the opportunity to join forces and hold a combined conference will enable us to bring greater benefits to attendees and exhibitors.” Clayback added that “NCART will continue to engage NRRTS as a partner in 2016 and NRRTS’s Executive Director, Weesie Walker, will serve on the conference’s planning committee.”
“Through our combined efforts, we can offer a unique conference experience that will bring tremendous value to our members” said Michael Brogioli, Executive Director of RESNA. “We will also be able to bring a larger contingent of the assistive technology community to Congress and the Administration, and a louder voice on critical issues such as access and funding.”
A planning committee will be formed that includes representatives from RESNA, NCART, and NRRTS to organize the conference.  More information will be announced as plans develop. 
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, is the premier professional organization dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of 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 our multidisciplinary constituency.  Find out more at www.resna.org
NCART, the National Coalition for Assistive and Rehab Technology, is a national organization of suppliers and manufacturers of Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) products and services used by individuals with significant disabilities and chronic medical conditions. NCART seeks to ensure these individuals have appropriate access to CRT products and supporting services. In pursuit of that goal, NCART works with consumers, clinicians, and physicians along with federal, state and private policy makers to establish and protect appropriate coverage, coding, supplier standards, and funding policies. Find out more at www.ncart.us.
NRRTS, the National Registry of Rehabilitation Technology Suppliers, is a professional association supporting individuals who provide Complex Rehab wheelchairs and seated positioning systems for people of all ages and diagnoses who have postural or mobility deficits. These professionals offer quality care and service using specialized knowledge, training, experience and skills to match the consumers' needs to appropriate equipment. Find out more at www.nrrts.org.