Dr. Rory Cooper Receives Honors
McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine affiliated faculty member Rory Cooper, PhD, the FISA/PVA endowed chair and a distinguished professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, the center director at the Center of Excellence for Wheelchair and Related Technology, VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, and a senior research career scientist at the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Service, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, has been appointed to the position of Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army (CASA) for Pennsylvania (West). The investiture ceremony was held Thursday, May 1, 2014, at the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks.
CASAs provide individual advice to the Secretary of the Army, the Chief of Staff of the Army, and commanders at all levels on public sentiments toward the Army. CASAs also work closely with Army and installation commanders, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve commanders, and other designated personnel within their area of responsibility.
Also, Paralyzed Veterans of America member Dr. Cooper on May 5, 2014, was recognized for his extraordinary contributions to the disability community as a recipient of the prestigious Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. The Viscardi Award recognizes exemplary leaders in the disability community who have made a significant impact on shaping attitudes, raising awareness, and improving quality of life for people with disabilities. The Viscardi Awards were developed to recognize the contributions of individuals to the disability community in much the same way as Viscardi Center founder Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who wore prosthetic legs. Viscardi was a leading advocate for individuals with disabilities and served as a disability advisor to eight presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter.
The robotics industry’s highest honor, the Engelberger Robotics Award, was presented to Dr. Cooper at a special ceremony on Monday, June 2 in Munich, Germany. The ceremony was held in conjunction with the joint 45th International Symposium on Robotics (ISR 2014) and 8th German Conference on Robotics (ROBOTIK 2014). The ISR 2014 and ROBOTIK 2014 conference is organized as part of AUTOMATICA, the International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics, June 3-6, 2014, in Munich. Dr. Cooper was awarded the 2014 Engelberger Award for Application. “Receiving this award is a tremendous honor and humbling experience,” said Dr. Cooper. “I am very pleased to have assistive and personal robotic applications recognized. People with disabilities and older adults could make great gains in independence and self-direction through robotics.”
Dr. Cooper has had much success as the director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) at the University of Pittsburgh. At HERL, research is focused on improving the mobility and function of people with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.