Thursday Aug 31, 2023

The Inclusion Interchange: Rory Cooper, bioengineer and advocate for people with disabilities

Rory A. Cooper is the founding director and VA senior research career scientist of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh.

He has been a member of the Pitt faculty since 1994 and chaired the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology from 1997 to 2018.

A bioengineer, Dr. Cooper was inducted into the National Inventor Hall of Fame in 2023. He has authored or co-authored more than 370 peer-reviewed journal publications and has been awarded dozens of patents.

Dr. Cooper is the author of "Rehabilitation Engineering Applied to Mobility and Manipulation” and “Wheelchair Selection and Configuration,” and co-editor of “An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering,” “Warrior Transition Leader: Medical Rehabilitation Handbook” and the award-winning book “Care of the Combat Amputee.”

In 1994, he founded the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a Rehabilitation R&D Center of Excellence operated in partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For his extensive contributions to wheelchair technology that have expanded mobility and reduced second-hand injuries for millions of people with disabilities, Dr. Cooper was awarded the 2022 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Biomedical Engineering Award in Glasgow, Scotland.

At the 2022 AUSA Conference, Dr. Cooper received The General Creighton W. Abrams Medal for exceptional service to the U.S. Army.

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