Advanced Technologies Biographies

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 Leadership

RADM Joan F. Hunter

Asst. Surgeon General, USPHS
NGB, JSG, Psychological Health

RADM Hunter is the Assistant Joint Surgeon, National Guard Bureau, Joint Surgeon’s Office-Psychological Health; a Joint program that supports the behavioral health needs of National Guard Members and their families. In this capacity, she serves as principal staff and advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau. RADM Hunter has been tasked to “build” the National Guard’s psychological health program; placing a Director of Psychological Health in every State, Wing and Territory; based on DoD Mental Health Task Force Report recommendations and subsequent DoD Instruction 6490.09.  RADM Hunter partners with the NGB J1, Manpower and Personnel Directorate and the J32, the Counterdrug Division, to direct psychological health services.

RADM Hunter is a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and has been managing psychological health programs for over 20 years. Before assuming this assignment, she held the position of Deputy Division Director, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Federal Occupational Health (FOH), Division of Employee Assistance and Work-Life Programs. While at HHS, she directed policy and operations for a federal consortium of 436 Federal agency components; serving the mental health needs of approximately 700,000 Federal employees and their families. While at FOH, RADM Hunter created and directed the first occupational health Law Enforcement Assistance Program, represented HHS, USPHS as a critical incident stress management expert to DHS, FEMA and directed the mental health support operations for deployed FEMA responders. She has also advised Federal agency leaders on best practices in workplace behavioral health management. RADM Hunter has certificates in Advanced Critical Incident Stress Management and Federal Workplace Mediation. She has been a Field Instructor for students at Virginia Commonwealth University and Salisbury University.

RADM Hunter earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing from George Mason University and a Master’s degree in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University. RADM Hunter has been a conference keynote speaker representing the U.S. Surgeon General and has received numerous awards for her outstanding service, including the HHS Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Guest Faculty and Presenters (Listed Alphabetically)


Commander, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR)

Colonel Steven E. Braverman, MD is a native of Baltimore, MD.  He is a graduate of the University of Virginia (BA), National Defense University (MS) and Vanderbilt University (MD).  His medical specialty training included a transitional internship at the Dwight David Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, GA and a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC), Washington, DC. 

Following residency training, he was initially assigned to remain on the teaching staff at WRAMC serving as the Director of Inpatient Rehabilitation and then Director of the Physical Medicine outpatient clinic.  He was subsequently assigned as Chief of the PM&R Service and Director of the PM&R Residency Training Program.  In June 2000, he became the Deputy Commander for Clinical Services at Moncrief Army Community Hospital, Fort Jackson, SC. From 2001-2004 Colonel Braverman also served as the PM&R Consultant to the Army Surgeon General.  He went on to command Ireland Army Community Hospital at Fort Knox from 2005-2007, the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, TX from 2009-2011, and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in June 2013 to present.  He also served in staff positions for the National Defense University, US Army Medical Command, Multinational Corps-Iraq and the Office of the Army Surgeon General.

Colonel Braverman is Board Certified by the American Board of PMR and serves as an examiner for their oral board certification exam.  He has served on the Boards of Directors of the Association of Academic Physiatrists, the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, and the American Board of Medical Acupuncture.


Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinator
Department of Veterans Affairs-Health Administration

Dana A. Draa is currently serving as a Visual Impairment Services Team (VIST) Coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs-Health Administration and is responsible for the case management of over 400 legally blind and visually impaired Veterans in the Charlotte, NC area. Among various other duties including benefits review and referral, rehabilitation interventions, and serving as a vision loss expert for the Salisbury VA Medical Center, she is also responsible for the assessment, issuance, and training of assistive technology devices for her Veterans.

Prior to her tenure with the VA, Ms. Draa was an assistive technology consultant for Division of Services for the Blind where she used her knowledge of technology and assistive technology to assist persons with vision loss return to independent living, school, and work. Ms. Draa has a Masters of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling from University of Arkansas in Little Rock and Masters of Arts in Counseling with a focus on Orientation and Mobility for the Blind from Western Michigan University. 

Ms. Draa served 4 years active duty in the United States Navy and 3 years in the Alaska Army National Guard. She is a Veteran of Desert Storm/ Desert Shield.

In addition to her professional duties, Ms. Draa is Chapter Coordinator for Team River Runner, a program that promotes healing for active duty military, Veterans, and their families through water sports. Ms. Draa serves on the board of three local non-profits in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is extremely active in the Charlotte Veteran community.


Director, Neural Engineering for Prosthetics and Orthotics Laboratory
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Research Scientist, Center for Bionic Medicine
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
Research Assistant Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Dr. Levi J. Hargrove’s research interests include signal processing, pattern recognition and myoelectric control of powered prostheses.

Dr. Hargrove focuses on research and development of clinically realizable myoelectric control systems in hopes that the systems can be made available to amputees in the near-term.  He received the BScE in Electrical Engineering from University of New Brunswick in 2003; receiving the MScE and PhD in Electrical Engineering, also from the University of New Brunswick in 2005 and 2008, respectively.

Dr. Hargrove is a member of the IEEE Society and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of New Brunswick.


Assistive Technology Specialist
Walter Reed National Military Medical Center

Mark Lindholm is an Assistive Technology Specialist in the Occupational Therapy Department at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. He has a background as a Computer Technician and a Major Home Appliance Technician. He received his Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from Boston University in 2000. 

He has worked in the field of Assistive Technology for 14 years. This includes 4 years at Walter Reed, where he is collaboratively finding assistive technology solutions for wounded, ill, and injured service members with vision, cognitive, and dexterity impairments. He is certified by the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) as an Assistive Technology Professional.


Executive Director
University of Texas at Arlington Research Institute
President and CEO
R Lynch Enterprises, LLC

The former head of all US Army Installations, LTG Rick Lynch has faced more than most leaders will in a lifetime - which is why his lessons on how to adapt will inspire and provide unprecedented clarity to leaders from all walks of life.

From surmounting his parents' inability to pay for college by gaining entry to West Point to leading "The Surge" in Iraq with only six weeks to prepare; from reinvigorating a bloated Army organization of 120,000 civilian employees (via billion dollar budget cuts) to lowering divorce and suicide rates at Fort Hood by outlawing weekend work and mandating soldier family time, Lynch has embraced leadership principles through his years in the US Army.

LTG Lynch is popular keynote speaker who shares his disciplined and effective mantra for success, from the foundation of business leadership to the need for resiliency and engagement.


Research Biomedical Engineer
Assistant Director of Laboratories
Engineering Director of Mobile Rehabilitation Clinic
VA HSR&D/RR&D Center of Excellence, Maximizing Rehabilitation Outcomes
James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital




Executive Director, Advanced Platform Technology (APT Center)
Director, Motion Study Laboratory
Senior Research Career Scientist, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center
Professor, Department of Orthopaedics, School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University

Dr. Ronald J. Triolo received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Villanova University, Villanova PA in 1980, and MS degrees in both Biomedical Engineering and Electrical Engineering from Drexel University in Philadelphia PA in 1982 and 1984, respectively, as well as a doctorate in Biomedical Engineering for the design and clinical testing of an actively powered and myoelectrically controlled above knee prosthesis for transfemoral amputees in 1986. Dr. Triolo was Director of Research at the Philadelphia Unit of Shriners Hospitals from 1986 through 1994 he where he investigated neuroprosthetic and neurotherapeutic uses of electrical stimulation for children with motor dysfunction due to spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy.

Dr. Triolo is currently a tenured Professor of Orthopaedics and Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and a Senior Career Scientist with the Rehabilitation Research & Development Service of the US Department of Veterans Affairs. He is the Executive Director of the Advanced Platform Technology Center of the Department of Veterans Affairs where he oversees the design, prototyping and production of novel medical devices for the rehabilitation of individuals with sensorimotor impairments or limb loss. He also directs the Motion Study Laboratory of the Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center where he pursues research in the development and clinical application of neuroprostheses and restorative technologies, biomechanics and the control of movement, rehabilitation engineering, and the assessment of assistive technology.

Dr. Triolo currently leads independently funded research programs to restore or enhance the upright and seated mobility, posture and balance in individuals with neuro-musculo-skeletal disorders.

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:

Steven E. Braverman, PhD
Shelly R. Brown, MEd, Course Coordinator
Dana A. Draa, MA CRC COMS
Levi J. Hargrove, PhD
RDML Joan F. Hunter, MSN
Mark Lindholm, OTR ATP
COL (Ret.) Paul F. Pasquina, MD, Course Director
LTG (ret) Rick Lynch, MA
Brian Schulz, PhD
Ronald J. Triolo, PhD

The following information was disclosed:

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

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 7.5 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 0.7 continuing education units (CEU's) which are equal to 7.5 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.