Adaptive Reconditioning Biography/Contact Information Page

Course Directors

Dr. Rory A. Cooper

Distinguished Professor, FISA/PVA Chair, Department of Rehabilitation and Technology, University of Pittsburgh 
Director, Human Engineering Research Laboratories
VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence fore Wheelchairs and Associated Rehabilitation Engineering
Pittsburgh, PA

Contact Information
Human Engineering Research Laboratories
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System
6425 Penn Avenue, Suite 400
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
(412) 822-3700 

Rory A. Cooper, PhD received the BS and MEng degrees in electrical engineering for California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in 1985 and 1986, respectively. He received the Ph.D. degree in electrical and computer engineering with a concentration in bioengineering from University of California at Santa Barbara in 1989. He is FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Chair and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and professor of Bioengineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physical Medicine & Rehab, and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Cooper is Founding Director and VA Senior Research Career Scientist of the VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Center of Excellence in Pittsburgh. He is also the Co-Director of the NSF Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center, a joint effort between the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

He is the Editor of the journal Assistive Technology and the AT Research Book Series of IOS Press. Dr. Cooper serves or has served on the editorial boards of several prominent peer-reviewed journals in the fields of rehabilitation and bioengineering. He has received multiple prestigious awards to include the Olin Teague Award, Paul Magnuson Award, U.S. Army Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, James Peters Award, Maxwell J. Schleifer Award,DaVinci Lifetime Achievement Award, Veteran’s Leadership Program Veteran of the Year, and a member of the inaugural class of the Spinal Cord Injury Hall of Fame. Dr. Cooper has authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed journal publications. He has ten patents awarded or pending. Dr. Cooper is the author of two books: Rehabilitation Engineering Applied to Mobility and Manipulation and Wheelchair Selection and Configuration, and co-editor of An Introduction to Rehabilitation Engineering, Care of the Combat Amputee, and the Warrior Transition Leader Medical Rehabilitation Handbook. Dr. Cooper is an elected Fellow of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Dr. Cooper has been an invited lecturer at many institutions around the world, for example the National Academies of Sciences Distinctive Voices Lecture, and was awarded Honorary Professor at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Xi’an Jiatong University. He has also been elected to Eta Kappa Nu, Tau Beta Pi, and Sigma Xi honorary societies.   

Dr. Cooper is a former President of RESNA, and a member of the RESNA/ANSI and ISO Wheelchair Standards Committees, and IEEE-EMBS Medical Device Standards Committee. In 1988, he was a bronze medalist in the Paralympic Games, Seoul, Republic of Korea. He was on the steering committee for the 1996 Paralympic Scientific Congress held in Atlanta, GA, and the Sports Scientist for the 2008 U.S. Paralympic Team in Beijing, China. In 2009, Dr. Cooper was featured on a Cheerios cereal box for his many achievements. He has been a member of theU.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – Medicare Advisory Committee, Steering Committee of the Academy of PM&R on Research Capacity Building. and Chair of the National Advisory Board on Medical Rehabilitation Research, National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, and National Academy of Sciences Keck Foundation Initiative on Human Health Span Steering Committee. Dr. Cooper is a U.S. Army veteran with a spinal cord injury and a Director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation. He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Prosthetics & Special Disability Programs Advisory Committee, U.S. Department of Defense Health Board Subcommittee on Amputation and Orthopedics, and the Board of Directors of Easter Seals. Dr. Cooper has actively collaborated with the Indian Spinal Injuries Centre on increasing access to quality services and devices for people with disabilities in India and throughout developing countries.

COL Paul F. Pasquina


Colonel (RET), U.S. Army Medical Corps
Residency Director and Chair, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation  
Director, Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Contact Information
Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center
8901 Wisconsin Ave.
Bethesda, MD 20889


Paul F. Pasquina, M.D. is the Residency Director and Chair, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Director of the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.  Dr. Pasquina retired from the United States Army Medical Corps in 2012 as Chief of the Department of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and the Director of the Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research (CRSR) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS).   He is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point and USUHS.  In addition to being board certified in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R), he is also board certified in Electrodiagnostic Medicine and Pain Medicine.  He completed a fellowship in sports medicine and remains interested in all aspects of musculoskeletal medicine especially as it applies to individuals with disabilities. 

He is the specialty consultant to the Army Surgeon General for Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and a Secretarial appointee on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Advisory Committee for Prosthetics and Special Disabilities Programs.  Dr. Pasquina has authored multiple book chapters, journal articles and policy papers.  He has served as the PM&R Residency Program Director and Medical Advisor to the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command for quality healthcare. He has received multiple military awards, as well as awards for teaching and mentorship, including the U.S. Army’s “A” Proficiency Designation for academic excellence, the Order of Military Medical Merit, and Honorary Fellow of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).

Guest Faculty and Presenters (Listed Alphabetically)

Michael Baria

Medical Resident
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation | Mayo Clinic

Dr. Michael A. Baria is a PGY-4 resident in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN.  He will be starting his Sports Medicine fellowship at Mayo Clinic this upcoming year.  He was recently selected by USA Wrestling to provide medical coverage at the World Wrestling Championships this fall in Las Vegas, NV.  He has also worked with the University of Minnesota Gophers Wrestling Team.

He received his medical degree from the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, OH.  He also received his MBA from the Raj Soin College of Business at Wright State University as part of a dual-degree physician leadership program.  He is a graduate of Harvard University where he majored in biochemistry and was a two-time captain of the Harvard Wrestling Team. 

He is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society.  He was a 2014 recipient of the AMSSM Resident Scholarship Award.  His clinical interests include musculoskeletal medicine, caring for wrestlers, expanding opportunities for athletes with physical impairments, musculoskeletal ultrasound and medical education. 

His research has been published in journals including Chest, the American Journal of Sports Medicine and the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 

Katherine Bentley

Physical Therapist
Warrior Transition Brigade | Walter Reed National Military Medical Center


Dr. Katherine Bentley is the physical therapist for the Warrior Transition Brigade at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Dr. Bentley received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from the University of Kansas Medical Center. Her clinical experience has primarily been in outpatient orthopaedics, although she has worked with a range of populations, varying from young athletes to patients in need of complex neurological rehabilitation. 

Prior to working for WRNMMC, she served as an outpatient branch clinic manager for Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. She is the subject matter expert for the Walter Reed Adaptive Reconditioning Program and is currently working to expand the program which services approximately 250 soldiers. 

Patricia Deuster

Professor and Director, Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP)
A DoD Center of Excellence
Department of Military and Emergency Medicine, Uniformed Services University


Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, MPH, is a Professor and Director for the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP), the Defense Center of Excellence for Human Performance Optimization Translation, at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU). She obtained an AB in Mathematics and Computer Science and MA in Physical Education from the College of William and Mary, a PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Physiology from the University of Maryland, and a MPH with an emphasis in epidemiology from USU.

Dr. Deuster chairs the Department of Defense (DoD) Dietary Supplement Subcommittee, is a member of the DoD Food and Nutrition Subcommittee and serves on the DoD Human Performance Optimization Committee and the Population Health Advisory Board. She is one of the leads on the DoD Operational Supplement Safety Initiative and co-chairs the Women In Combat Task Area Group. She is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, a Certified Nutrition Specialist, and has over 190 peer-reviewed papers and numerous book chapters and books relating to human performance with a focus on nutrition, dietary supplements, physical performance, total force fitness, and exertional-related health events. She is a member of the Order of Military Medical Merit and was awarded the 2014 Special Operations Medical Researcher Award by the Special Operations Medical Association. In addition she has developed multiple educational materials related to human performance, and total force fitness: Visit the CHAMP Human Performance Resource Center ( website. 

Douglas Etter

Division Chaplain, 28th Infantry Division
United States Army National Guard
Manager, Public and Community Relations | Lebanon VA Medical Center


CH (LTC-P) Douglas A. Etter currently serves as Division Chaplain for the 28th Infantry Division, responsible for 12,000 soldiers and managing 27 Unit Ministry Teams.  He is also the manager of the Public and Community Relations department at the Lebanon VA Medical Center in Lebanon, PA.  He is a Veteran of Two Combat Tours of Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005-2006 and 2008-2009, and the recipient of the Combat Action Badge, Two Bronze Star Medals and Twenty Other Military decorations.  CH (LTC-P) Etter is a graduate of Chaplain Officer Basic Course, Chaplain Advanced Course, Chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Course, Command and General Staff College and the US Army War College.  CH(LTC-P) Etter received the Bachelor of Arts in History and Religion from Grove City College, Grove City, PA, in 1982, graduating Cum Laude.  He furthered his education at Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1987 with a Masters Degree in Divinity.

CH(LTC-P) Etter is also an ordained Presbyterian minister and a state certified Paramedic.  His hobbies include high altitude mountaineering, rock climbing and backpacking.  Mr. Etter has published several articles and book chapters.  He is currently the co-editor of a book, Warrior Reintegration, published in November 2014.

Matthew St. Laurent

Chief, Occupational Therapy (OT) Department of Rehabilitation
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC)

LTC (P) Matthew St Laurent is the Chief, Occupational Therapy (OT), Department of Rehabilitation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC).  He has served in the military for the past 19 years as an OT in many leadership positions advancing rehabilitation best practices.  He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Science in OT, both from the University of New Hampshire in 1990 and 1994 respectively.  He entered the military as an intern in OT at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington, DC in 1994. He earned his Master’s of Science in OT from the Medical College of Georgia, 2005. 

He served in several clinical leadership positions as a young military officer and clinician and in 2003 was awarded the first ever Army Medical Specialist Corps, Chief of Excellence Award. In the early years of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, then, Major St Laurent was transferred to WRAMC to support the continuous flow of critically wounded war casualties. He has remained at Walter Reed for the past 11 years providing leadership and clinical expertise in support of Walter Reed’s critical warrior care mission, Base Realignment and Closure, transition to the National Naval Medical Center and integration of Joint Services to establish WRNMMC. While at Walter Reed, he served in multiple capacities to include a 7 month deployment to Iraq with the 85th Combat Operational Stress Control Detachment. He served as Assistant Chief of Integrated OT Services and currently serves as Chief, OT Services. He was selected and served for one year as an Interagency Fellow attached to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veteran’s Health Administration, Rehabilitation Services, Central Officer, Washington, D.C. In addition to serving the Walter Reed community, LTC St Laurent also chaired the Deployment and Operations Cabinet, which provided OT training and personnel deployment recommendations to the OT Branch Consultant to the Army Surgeon General. 

He received many military awards and has presented at national conferences and universities to share his experiences serving as an Army Occupational Therapy providing Warrior Rehab.  He is married with 3 children and lives in Maryland.

Harvey Naranjo

Program Coordinator, Adaptive Sports
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center


Harvey Naranjo is the Adaptive Sports Program Coordinator at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and a certified occupational Therapy assistant (COTA/L) for the Military Advanced Training Center since 2002. Harvey served as a combat medic and occupational therapy assistant for the U.S. Army Reserves at Walter Reed ARMY Medical center, receiving several awards in service, to include the Meritorious Service Medal.

Once Harvey completed his commitment to the USAR, he continued to serve as a civilian contractor at Walter Reed. Harvey was instrumental in the development and implementation of Adaptive Sports and Community Reintegration programs in rehabilitation for severally injured service members returning from war. These programs allow medical staff at Walter Reed to harness their patient’s competitive and warrior spirit allowing them to maximize their rehabilitation and independence post injury. The utilization of Adaptive Sports and Recreation in military rehabilitation has become a model for treating combat wounded service members at Military hospitals across the United States. Harvey and his colleague’s now oversea over 100 adaptive programs a year for severely injured service members at WRNMMC.

Harvey is a recent recipient of the ARMY Outstanding Civilian Service Medal one of the highest military awards for his service to our wounded. Harvey believes serving our wounded warriors is the greatest honor bestowed to him and enjoys participating in all the adaptive sports programs alongside his patients.

Cara Navarro

Recreation Therapist
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC)


Cara A. Navarro graduated from East Carolina University in 2007 with her degree in Recreational Therapy.  Her focus throughout college was on physical disabilities, brain injury and aquatic therapy.   Cara started working with the active duty wounded, ill, and injured in 2010 on the inpatient unit at the National Naval Medical Center where she redefined the role of Recreational Therapy. 

She transferred to outpatient Occupational Therapy in 2011 where she continued to develop and streamline the Recreational Therapy process for the patients coming through Walter Reed's treatment of care. While in outpatient, she developed several Recreational Therapy programs to enhance the care for traumatic brain injury, amputee and PTSD patients.   Cara continues to work as an outpatient Recreational Therapist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center providing one-on-one and group treatment in adaptive sports, community reintegration and leisure education.

Cara enjoys skiing, cooking, hiking and spending time with family and friends.

Karen Noel

Recreation Therapist
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC)


Karen R. Noel has been a Recreational Therapist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) since March 2011, working first on the in-patient trauma and TBI units and then coming to out-patient Occupational Therapy in 2013. She has over 30-plus years of experience in the field working with multiple disabilities and ranging from outdoor adventure to community therapeutic recreation programs.

Karen first began working in the field providing community recreational therapy programming for our Vietnam Veterans. Her love of the outdoors was her tool in working with troubled youth, people with developmental disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and physical disabilities.

Karen enjoys shooting, painting, camping, paddling, hiking, and reading.

Rick Yount

Executive Director
Warrior Canine Connection


Rick Yount has served in the field of social work for 25 years. He has involved Animal Assisted Therapy in his practice for the past 15 of those years. Rick holds a B.A. degree from West Virginia University and a MS degree in Assistance Dog Education. He combined his social work knowledge and experience with his service dog training background to develop a novel intervention to help service members with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Rick pioneered the first therapeutic service dog training program at the Palo Alto, CA Veterans Hospital in 2008.

Rick’s new program concept, involving Veterans with PTSD in the training of mobility service dogs for fellow Veterans, yielded very positive results. He has presented the program concept at forums including the VA National Mental Health Conference and the International Society of Traumatic Stress Studies.


Faculty Disclosure

Faculty for this activity have been required to disclose all relationships with any proprietary entity producing health care goods or services, with the exemption of non-profit or government organizations and non-health care related companies.

No significant financial relationships with commercial entities were disclosed by:

Michael R. Baria, MD MBA, Guest Faculty

Dr. Katherine Bentley, PT DPT, Guest Faculty

Shelly R. Brown, MEd, Course Coordinator

Patricia A. Deuster, PhD, MPH, Guest Faculty

Cara A. Navarro, CTRS, Guest Faculty

Harvey Naranjo, COTA/L, Guest Faculty

Karen R. Noel, CTRS, Guest Faculty

COL (Ret) Paul F. Pasquina, MD, Course Director

LTC (P) Matthew St. Laurent, Guest Faculty

The following information was disclosed:

Rory Cooper, PhD, Course Director.   Patent Agreements: AT Sciences; Three Rivers Holdings.

Rick Yount, MS, Guest Faculty.  Grant/ Research Support:  Warrior Canine Connection; Non-profit CEO, warrior Canine Connection

CME Accreditation and Designation Statement 

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the Center for Rehabilitation Science Research at the Uniformed Services University for the Health Science. The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 6.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Other health care professionals are awarded 0.6 continuing education units (CEU's) which are equal to 6.5 contact hours.

Disclaimer Statement

The information presented at this CME program represents the views and opinions of the individual presenters, and does not constitute the opinion or endorsement of, or promotion by, the UPMC Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences, UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Medical Center or Affiliates and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Reasonable efforts have been taken intending for educational subject matter to be presented in a balanced, unbiased fashion and in compliance with regulatory requirements. However, each program attendee must always use his/her own personal and professional judgment when considering further application of this information, particularly as it may relate to patient diagnostic or treatment decisions including, without limitation, FDA-approved uses and any off-label uses.