Center for Assistive Technology and Envrionmental Access, Georgia Institute of Technology
Member since: 1992
Link to full CV
I first joined RESNA as a student in 1992, and first became involved in a leadership role as a SIG chair in 1996. Having drunk the Kool-Aid, I’ve actively participated in RESNA ever since, continuing on with roles in the PSG, Student Design Competition, meetings committee, research committee, the technical standards working groups, and on the Board of Directors and Executive Committee. These roles have given me knowledge of the infrastructure, the ways in which the organization works, and some of the pitfalls within our system. Professionally, I have managed clinical programs in seating and wheeled mobility within the medical model and job accommodations through the vocational rehabilitation model. In addition, I have broad research experience in topics related to seating and wheeled mobility, pressure sore prevention, job accommodation use and practices, post-secondary education for students with disabilities, transportation safety, and wireless emergency alerting practices. Variety of experience is a strength I would contribute to RESNA in a role as President-elect and President.
I hold degrees in electrical and biomedical engineering. This educational background has led me throughout my research and clinical activities. While at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, I investigated transportation safety issues for passengers seated in wheelchairs. At Helen Hayes Hospital, Georgia Tech, and Max Mobility, I investigated seating and wheeled mobility topics that included tissue tolerance to load, pressure sore detection and prevention, seating system development, and characterization of support surfaces, mobility device use, and facilitators and barriers related to job accommodation use. In addition, I have provided direct client services as a DME supplier, managed a special apparatus shop supporting a rehabilitation hospital’s technology department, and created the documentation and procedural infrastructure necessary for the accreditation of a start-up durable medical equipment program. In the vocational rehabilitation world, I managed an assistive technology program serving about 100 clients a year, while maintaining CARF accreditation. Presently, at Georgia Tech, I’m investigating barriers to post-secondary STEM education for students with disabilities and developing design parameters for wireless emergency alerting. (See attached CV.)
RESNA Organizational Experience:
Secretary, Executive Committee (2014-2016)
Board of Directors (2013-2016)
Research Committee (2013–2014)
Membership Committee (2013–2014)
Student Design Competition Committee: Chair (2007-2014), Judge (2005-2014)
ANSI/RESNA Technical Guidelines Subcommittee on Wheelchair Seating (2004-2009).
ANSI/RESNA Technical Guidelines Subcommittee on Wheelchairs and Transportation (1994-2000)
Meetings Committee (2007-2011),(2013-2014)
Rehabilitation Engineering Professional Group, Chair & Vice-Chair (2002-2007)
Transportation Special Interest Group, Chair (1996-2000)
Which of your contributions to RESNA are you most proud of?
I am proud to have participated on the ANSI/RESNA Technical Guidelines Subcommittees, developing standards for wheelchair seating and support surfaces and wheelchair securement and occupant restraint systems for transportation. These committees are dedicated to providing scientific means to measure the effectiveness of the products of our industry, thereby promoting safety and better clinical outcomes.
List honors or awards received from professional organizations with whom you are involved.
RESNA Distinguished Service Award (2012)
RESNA Certificates of Appreciation (for SIG & PSG Chair activities)
List the boards you are presently serving on or have served on (RESNA and others) and what your main contributions were.
RESNA Board of Directors (2013-2016)
Douglas County (GA), Animal Control Advisory Board (2015-2017)
Employment Research Outreach Team (EROT) for the Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research (KTER Center) (2015 – present)
Describe a strategy for building capacity, fostering innovation, leading change, or managing resources that you have successfully implemented and how that will help you to help RESNA.
In the course of my professional experience, I have had several management / supervisory roles. I have supervised professionals and paraprofessionals, as well as graduate and undergraduate students. My management philosophy has always been that my job was to facilitate my employees’ ability to do their jobs. I have always found this strategy empowers the employee to prioritize and problem-solve in an effective manner. RESNA accomplishes much of their work through the efforts of volunteers. As a President-Elect, I believe my role would be to facilitate the work of the Board, Committees and membership, empowering these individuals who volunteer their time and energy to achieve their professional goals.
What do you see as the biggest internal or external challenge(s) facing RESNA today, and how would you suggest the organization address them?
Rehabilitation and assistive technology, whether in the research or service delivery realms, are very applied fields of work. Changes in technology are accelerating, and we must keep abreast of the latest technological developments and how they apply to our industry. Advances in robotics may change the face of personal care for those with mobility impairments. Tele-presence devices will change the structure of employment and education. RESNA’s involvement in the development of such technologies is imperative in order to determine ways to apply new technologies to the rehabilitation process and to ensure that new technologies are accessible (both usable and attainable) for people with disabilities.
For these reasons, our industry must encourage collaboration with industries that are making rapid technologic advances. While this is certainly done at the academic research level and in the clinic, it must also be done at the professional organizational level as well. RESNA must begin to network with professional societies whose advances influence our work. In doing so, professionals in these groups can gain an understanding of how to develop products that are accessible for those with a wide variety of abilities, while we can begin to determine how to apply these technologies to enhance the abilities of those we serve.
Volunteer leadership in any organization requires a commitment of personal time. Please include a statement that indicates whether you can devote the necessary time (typically 5-10 hours/month).
In running for President, I recognize that I am making a six year commitment to the organization. I am fully committed to devoting the time necessary to complete the work required. I have the full support of my employer, the Georgia Institute of Technology, for the level of participation required.