Tuesday, June 23, 2015 - 10:15am
RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America, presented its highest award of Honorary Fellow posthumously to David B. Gray, PhD, a professor of occupational therapy at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Gray worked tirelessly on behalf of people with disabilities in the areas of research, policy, employment and accessibility. He died suddenly earlier this year. His daughter, Polly Payne, and colleague Kerri Morgan, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, accepted the award on behalf of the family.
After sustaining a spinal cord injury in 1976 that resulted in quadriplegia, Dr. Gray focused his considerable talents on improving the lives of people with disabilities. His work resulted in improving the accessibility of a number of venues in his hometown of St. Louis, including the St. Louis Zoo; and in changes in policy that improved the ability of people with disabilities to find employment, care for their children, and engage in exercise and fitness activities. Prior to joining Washington University in 1995, he worked for several agencies at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was appointed director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research by President Ronald Reagan and was an important advocate for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Other awards presented during the annual event were:
- Honorary Fellow – Jamie Noon, a consultant/trainer/designer for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO), recognized for his work in wheelchair services training and provision in under-resourced countries. Mr. Noon is based in Sante Fe, New Mexico.
- Fellow – Mary Ellen Buning, PhD, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, recognized for her service to RESNA and the field of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology. Dr. Buning is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in Louisville, KY.
- Samuel McFarland Memorial Mentorship Award – Kevin Caves, ME, ATP, RET, for his mentorship of students who have gone on to careers in the field. Caves is a Rehabilitation Engineer at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.
- Samuel McFarland Memorial Mentorship Award – Carmen P. DiGiovine, PhD, ATP/SMS, RET, for his mentorship of new professionals in the field. Dr. DiGiovine is a Rehabilitation Engineer and Clinical Associate Professor in the Occupational Therapy Division-School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.
- Leadership Award – Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD), for leadership in ensuring access to rehabilitation, assistive, and telecommunications technologies, as well as the accessibility of mainstream technologies. CCD is headquartered in Washington, D.C.
- Emerging Leader Award – Maria Luisa Toro, MS, University of Pittsburgh, for her work as co-chair of RESNA’s International Special Interest Group and advocating on behalf of students. Ms. Toro is a PhD candidate at the University of Pittsburgh.
- Distinguished Service Award – Doug Gayton, MMM, CD, RCA, ATP, for his years of volunteer service on behalf of RESNA, serving on the organization’s Professional Standards Board and on the Student Design Competition Committee. Mr. Gayton is with Jump Start OT in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
- Certificates of Appreciation – David McNaughton, Penn State University, for his volunteer service as member of the Student Design Competition committee; and Erica Kuligowski, PhD, of the National Institute of Standards and Technology for her leadership on the recently published RESNA standard for evacuation devices, ANSI/RESNA ED-1:2013.
RESNA’s Annual Awards Luncheon was held on June 13, 2015 in Denver, Colorado at the organization’s annual conference. The awards program promotes leadership, innovation, and commitment in the fields of rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology.