What is the society’s main goal?
The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) is an association that was created to improve the lives of individuals with disabling conditions by supporting research that promotes health, independence, productivity, and quality of life, and by meeting the needs of rehabilitation clinicians and people with disabilities.
Is there a personal story behind the establishment of the society?
The Congress was founded in 1923 as the American College of Radiology and Physiotherapy, a professional association of physicians who used physical agents, and particularly electricity and x-rays, to diagnose and treat illness and disability. The first president was Samuel B. Childs, MD, who changed the name to American Congress of Physical Medicine in 1944. There was increased recognition of the relationship between physical medicine and the rapid growth of rehabilitation, so there was another change to the name: American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Why did your society decide to take part in the RehabWeek?
It seemed like a good fit with ACRM, and ACRM and RehabWeek both seek to foster cross-disciplinary communication and the development of relationships between the various rehabilitation medicine stakeholders, including technology developers, researchers, clinicians, and individuals who need the technology to improve their lives.
ACRM has also dedicated resources to Technology in Rehabilitation Networking Group (TRNG) that aims to be the leading international networking group, providing collaboration and resources for development and deployment of technology in the field of rehabilitation medicine. The TRNG serves as the venue for an interdisciplinary group of rehabilitation professionals comprised of academicians, clinicians, researchers, rehabilitation and consumer technology industry members, as well as end-users. This interdisciplinary group is dedicated to promoting rehab technology research and development, bench-to-bedside application to the clinical environment, and effective technology transfer for availability to end-users. RehabWeek seemed to be a perfect fit for this group.
Why is RehabWeek unique and why should people attend?
Like ACRM, RehabWeek brings together all rehab medicine stakeholders to advance the field. It is slightly different from ACRM in that there is a stronger focus on the technology, but it still strives to integrate the viewpoints and expertise from a diverse group of experts in the field. The learning combined with the networking opportunities – the opportunity to “rub elbows” with so many experts in one place is phenomenal.
What do you think will be the next big topic in the field? Why?
The integration of rehab technology into the clinic and the home in order to advance the rehab of people with disabilities, and to improve their function and quality of life in general. In addition, another big issue in the field could pertain to acceptance of some of the more advanced technologies in the community.