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Pitt’s Dr. Rory Cooper to Emcee Pennsylvania Disabled Veterans Rehabilitation Vocational Retraining Project: Community Response Symposium II


Rory A. Cooper, Ph.D., director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) and professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, will emcee the second annual Community Response Symposium at the Hiram G. Andrews Center in Johnstown, Pa., on July 24. The symposium will identify best practices for meeting the needs of service members returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

World-renowned experts from the Walter Reed Medical Center, Department of Defense, Veterans Administration, Defense & Veterans Brain Injury Center, Congressman John Murtha, as well as local community leaders will speak at the event. Topics covered include traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amputation and rehabilitation care, vocational rehabilitation and employment services, family roles in deployment, determining veterans’ needs, readjustment counseling and rural program initiatives. The focus of the symposium is upon what works, for whom and with what specific resources and supports. The overall goal is to put these steps into action for returning veterans locally and statewide.

“This symposium and ensuing dialogue are critical for the Commonwealth and for our military veterans,” said Dr. Cooper. “There must be local involvement to ensure that returning veterans have the support and resources needed to return to full participation in their communities. It is very exciting to see the commitment of national military and veterans’ leaders to contribute their time and expertise to this initiative. It is a clear indication of the leadership within western Pennsylvania, and our progress in recognizing the needs of global war on terrorism veterans.”

Dr. Cooper is a decorated U.S. Army veteran, the FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) chair, distinguished professor of the department of rehabilitation science and technology, and professor of bioengineering and mechanical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. He also is a professor in the departments of physical medicine and rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Dr. Cooper is director and VA Senior Research Career Scientist of the Center for Wheelchairs and Associated Rehabilitation Engineering, a VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Prosthetics and Special Disability Programs Advisory Committee. He also has been actively consulting with Indian Spinal Injuries Centre in Delhi, and Artificial Limbs of India Manufacturing Company in Kanpur on increasing access to quality services and devices for people with disabilities in India.

The University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences include the schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dental Medicine, Pharmacy, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the Graduate School of Public Health. The schools serve as the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Together, their combined mission is to train tomorrow’s health care specialists and biomedical scientists, engage in groundbreaking research that will advance understanding of the causes and treatments of disease and participate in the delivery of outstanding patient care. For fiscal year 2005, Pitt and its institutional affiliates ranked seventh nationally among educational institutions in grant support from the National Institutes of Health.

For more information about these awards or the Schools of the Health Sciences, please visit


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