UPMC: Nation's first Telerehabilitation Engineering Research Center

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The University of Pittsburgh's School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) has been awarded a five-year, $4.25 million grant from the federal government's National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to establish the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) on Telerehabilitation. The RERC will study and develop methods, systems and technologies for the remote delivery of rehabilitation services via the web.
   
The RERC research team will be partnering with National Science Foundation-sponsored e-Design Center in the department of industrial engineering at the University of Pittsburgh; the Medical Robotics Group at Carnegie Mellon University; Anthrotronix Inc.; AT Science Inc.; and the Center for Telemedicine Law. Infrastructure will be based on the infrastructure currently in use by the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
   
The Three-Rivers Center for Independent Living will help by providing user input. In addition, researchers will draw on the expertise and resources of their colleagues from the departments of rehabilitation science and technology, health information management and communication science and disorders at SHRS. SHRS is a research and educational environment, funded by the National Institutes of Health, NIDRR, NSF and the Department of Veteran's Affairs.
   
More than 54 million Americans have a disability. Many are isolated from rehabilitation services due to geography or physical limitations. Researchers plan to develop and study the necessary infrastructure and architecture and develop and test programs that will provide for the remote delivery of a comprehensive spectrum of rehabilitation services.