RESNA Annual Conference - 2019


RESNA 2019 – Toronto, Canada

Roger Smith, President

This year, RESNA headed north and joined 6 other societies for RehabWeek 2019. This week-long event brought together different conferences in the field of rehabilitation technology to Toronto, Canada, in order to foster cross-disciplinary communication and the development of relationships between researchers, clinicians, therapists, manufacturers, and suppliers.

RehabWeek included common keynotes and mutually organized sessions, such as panel discussions and poster sessions. Each conference also organized its own sessions. Attendees could freely choose which conference session they wanted to attend at any time.

My thanks to Daniel Cochrane, MA, MS, ATP, who organized a stellar plenary panel about the practice of assistive technology in schools, and how AT can help child development and skills. We also enjoyed a delightful Colin McLaurin Memorial Lecture from Geoff Fernie, CM, PhD, PEng, CEng, FCAHS, who shared his own memories of working with Colin, as well as his innovative work at Toronto Rehab. Attendees could also elect to take a tour of Geoff’s environmental labs, which include a cold-weather lab, a home lab, and an automotive lab.

My personal highpoint was a “Fireside Chat” session with Marcia Scherer, PhD, MPH about how she came to develop her ground-breaking matching person and technology model. It was such a pleasure to interview her in front of colleagues who were so appreciative of her work, and express how it has influenced them as assistive technology professionals.

In addition, we had everything that makes RESNA a unique conference experience – the Developer’s Forum, the Student Design Competition, the Student Scientific Paper Competition, and 35 workshops. The Developer’s Forum was held in the exhibit hall, and it was gratifying to see such a huge crowd. Instead of the annual awards luncheon, we did a combined awards reception and business meeting. It was such a hit, we’re going to do it that way again in 2020. RESNA members really enjoyed the opportunity to move around and network with each other in an informal setting.

Thank you to Conference Chair John Anschutz, ATP/SMS, for whom this particular conference was his last as chair. As always, he and the conference committee did a spectacular job, and he leaves some huge shoes to fill for any future conference chair.

RESNA members had 91 posters accepted for RehabWeek, an all-time high for us. Happy reading!


Roger Smith, President

Mary Ellen Buning, PhD, OTR, ATP/SMS, RESNA Fellow
2018-2020 President