Clarkson University and Good Shepherd today announced a partnership to develop innovative programs and technologies to help individuals with disabilities reach their greatest potential. The joint announcement was made by Anthony Collins, incoming president of Clarkson University, and Sally Gammon, president and chief executive officer of Good Shepherd, during “Good Shepherd Day” in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Through the partnership, Clarkson University and Good Shepherd will work together to identify the challenges and needs of individuals with disabilities, develop engineering solutions and test prototypes. The two organizations also hope to commercialize solutions and share the assistive and adaptive technologies with the disability community worldwide.
“The human potential of this partnership is what excites us,” explained Anthony Collins. “Our two organizations have the ability to develop technologies that will bring greater independence to people with disabilities. We are delighted to have the opportunity to work with a partner of Good Shepherd’s caliber. It is one of the most comprehensive and highest quality rehabilitation institutions in the world. Plus, Clarkson's research with this world renowned facility will enable our faculty to partner effectively with rehabilitation services in the North Country.”
“This is an ideal fit that leverages the strengths of both Clarkson and Good Shepherd,” said Sally Gammon. “The Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Engineering teaching and research programs at Clarkson fit hand-in-glove with the rehabilitation programs at Good Shepherd. But beyond our resources and talents, what inspired both of us is that our missions - to use our skills to serve humanity - complement each other so well."
“Ultimately, this partnership will benefit people with disabilities in one of the most powerful ways possible – to provide them with real solutions to help them achieve greater independence. The partnership reinforces our theme for Good Shepherd Day: ‘Independence Through Technology’.”
Clarkson and Good Shepherd plan to establish a faculty and student exchange program, and to develop joint workshops, seminars and other educational and research opportunities. The institutions also plan to share ideas and develop technologies for concepts such as a virtual reality wheelchair to train individuals to operate a power wheelchair, and 3-D visualization/simulation projects that have the potential to improve and accelerate rehabilitation therapy.
Dr. Peter Rieke, a climber with paraplegia who has scaled Mt. Rainier, and who is one of the founders of Mobility Engineering, spoke at the event. Rieke said of the partnership, "Clarkson University and Good Shepherd Hospital make an excellent team. The real needs of people who come to the hospital seeking hope can provide the energetic students of Clarkson with the spark of human understanding that drives technical creativity and innovation. Not only will the programs and technology created in this collaboration improve all our lives, but it will create young leaders whose vision of compassion and need combined with technical know-how will lead us to new solutions for age-old problems."
Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, N.Y., is an independent technological university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in technology-based fields. Clarkson recently announced a $30-million gift from the Coulter Foundation that will support a Rehabilitation Engineering program in the Coulter School of Engineering at Clarkson. The Rehabilitation Engineering program will benefit from existing strengths in mechanical and electrical engineering, materials science and physical therapy at Clarkson. Clarkson’s academically rigorous, collaborative culture involves 2,700 undergraduates and 350 graduate students in hands-on team projects, multidisciplinary research, and real-world challenges. Many faculty members achieve international recognition for their scholarship and research, and teaching is a priority at every level.
Good Shepherd was founded in 1908 when The Rev. John and D. Estella Raker invited a disabled orphan named Viola into their Allentown, Pennsylvania, home. Today, Good Shepherd is a nationally recognized rehabilitation leader, offering a lifetime of care for people with physical and mental disabilities. More than 26,000 people come to Good Shepherd each year for specialized programs in stroke, orthopedics, brain injury, spinal cord injury, pediatrics, amputation and more. Convenient facilities include: three rehabilitation hospitals, nine outpatient facilities, one long-term acute care hospital, two long-term care homes for people with disabilities and a Work Services division that provides employment training and job placement. For more information, go to Good Shepherd's award-winning Web site at www.goodshepherdrehab.org.