State of the Science Symposium: Course Information

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

WAR Program

Lindsey James Buglewicz, MS LRT/CTRS
Aquatics Program Manager
Wounded Warrior Battalion East WAR Program

Ms. Lindsey James Buglewicz, MS LRT/CTRS is a Supervisory Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, Aquatics Program Manager - WAR Program for the Wounded Warrior Battalion East.  Ms. Weidow received the Bachelor of Arts degree in Recreation Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNC-Wilmington), and the Masters of Science in Applied Gerontology from UNC-Wilmington as well. Ms. Weidow has served as a 2011 Marine Corps Trials Wheelchair Basketball Assistant Coach and had the honor of briefing the USMC Commandant on the WAR Program’s aquatic programs and new pool facilities.

Rachel E. Cowan

Rachel E. Cowan, PhD
Research Assistant Professor
Department of Neurosurgery & Miami Project to Cure Paralysis
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Dr. Rachel Cowan is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery/Miami at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Her current research has two foci: a) defining what level of fitness and ‘skill’ are required for persons with SCI to independently perform transfers to and from the bed, car, shower, and ground and b) defining how changes in fitness and wheelchair configuration can meaningfully reduce the effort required to propel a manual wheelchair. Dr. Cowan’s graduate and post-graduate training focused on using exercise to improve function in ambulatory older adults; measuring function in ambulatory older adults; wheelchair propulsion biomechanical assessment; and fitness and functional assessments in persons with spinal cord injury. Dr. Cowan was an NIH Pre-doctoral fellow, a Paralyzed Veterans of America Post-doctoral fellow, and is currently site Co-PI on a federally funded multi-site study assessing an intervention to improve quality of life and participation in persons with SCI.

Lana McKenzie

Lana McKenzie, RN BSN MBA CCM
Associate Executive Director, Medical Services - Health Policy
Paralyzed Veterans of America

Ms. Lana McKenzie received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Loma Linda University and as well as the Master in Business Administration degree.  Ms McKenzie is a Certified Case Manager and Certified Public Health Nurse with over 24 years of practicing nursing.  Ms. McKenzie has also spent 10 years as an SCI nurse in the Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System and has leaded multiple major projects throughout her career serving Veterans. 

Currently, Ms. McKenzie is the Associate Executive Director of Medical Services for Paralyzed Veterans of America.  She is responsible for the operation of the medical services department, ensuring the VA healthcare policy is in compliance with its directives and guidelines and ensuring access to care for SCI/D veterans.

Maria Milleville

Maria Milleville, BA
Education and Outreach Coordinator, Human Engineering Research Laboratories
University of Pittsburgh

Ms. Maria Milleville, BA is an Education and Outreach Coordinator in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and Human Engineering Research Laboratories. Ms. Milleville is responsible for the facilitation of undergraduate internship programs and various outreach initiatives.  Ms. Milleville is pursuing a graduate degree in Social and Comparative Analysis in Education at the University of Pittsburgh. 

Carol O'Brien

Carol O’Brien, PhD
Chief, PTSD Programs
Bay Pines VA Healthcare System

Dr. Carol O’Brien received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1987.  She worked at the VA Medical Center in Minneapolis and was a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota before transferring to Bay Pines in 1992.  Dr. O’Brien is currently the Chief of the PTSD Programs at the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.  She established the Center for Sexual Trauma Services (CSTS) in 2000.  The Center includes residential and outpatient treatment programs for female and male veterans who experienced sexual trauma during military service.  Dr. O'Brien is also responsible for the Stress Treatment Program which offers residential and outpatient programs for veterans with war-related PTSD and for the Substance Use/PTSD Integrated Recovery Program (SPIR) that provides services for Veterans with PTSD and co-occurring substance abuse.  She is actively involved in research and is currently the principal investigator for two funded studies and several unfunded studies.  She has given numerous presentations to professional groups and organizations on such topics as PTSD, sexual trauma, gender-specific issues in mental health, and program development.  

Billie J. Randolph

Billie J. Randolph, PhD PT OCS
Deputy Director
Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence 


Dr. Billie J. Randolph serves as the Deputy Director of the Extremity Trauma and Amputation Center of Excellence, a joint effort between the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs to serve as the Nation’s premier center for promoting excellence in the care and research related to traumatic extremity injuries and amputations. Prior to assuming her current role in July 2012, Dr. Randolph served a four year appointment as the Deputy Chief Consultant (DCC), Prosthetic & Sensory Aids Service, Veterans Health Administration. As DCC, Dr. Randolph provided vision, policy, and clinical expertise in the fabrication and procurement of state-of-the-art technology in assistive devices, prosthetics, orthotics, implants, and sensory aids available to Veterans.

Dr. Randolph is a native of Richmond, Kentucky. She earned a Bachelor of Heath Science Degree in Physical Therapy from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Science Degree in Public Health from the University of Hawaii, and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Sports Medicine and Health Education from the University of Virginia.

Dr. Randolph received a direct commission and entered military service in 1978. She is a graduate of the Army Combined Arms Services Staff School, the Command and General Staff College, the Army War College, and the Federal Executive Institute. She served in clinical assignments at Ft. Knox, Kentucky, Ft. Stewart, Georgia, Tripler Army Medical Center, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Following completion of her Doctoral Degree from the University of Virginia, she returned to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 1998, where she served as Chief, Physical Therapy and as Physical Therapy Consultant to the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command. In addition, she served as White House therapist from 2002-2004. She served as commander of the Fort Meade Medical Department Activity from July 2004 to July 2006, responsible for the health care of 140,000 beneficiaries throughout Maryland and Pennsylvania, eight ambulatory care clinics, and an ambulatory surgical center. She retired from the Army in January 2007.

Dr. Randolph’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, and the Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster. She holds the Army Surgeon General’s “A” professional designator, the Order of Military Medical Merit, and the Expert Field Medical Badge. She is a board certified specialist in Orthopedic Physical Therapy, a Certified Athletic Trainer, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist.

Barbara Springer

COL Barbara A. Springer (USA Ret.), PT PhD OCS SCS
National Director
Project HERO (Healing Exercise Rehabilitation Opportunity)

Dr. Barbara A. Springer is the National Director of Project HERO, Ride 2 Recovery, a non-profit organization that utilizes cycling as an extension of physical and psychological rehabilitation for our healing military Service members and Veterans. She served over 24 years in the U.S. Army and retired out of the Office of The Surgeon General where she was the Director of Rehabilitation and Reintegration Division. She recommended policy and instituted Army-wide standards of care for rehabilitation and transition of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers.

Before assuming this position in 2008, Dr. Springer was Chief, Integrated Physical Therapy (PT) Service where she served as leader to both Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center in the Washington, DC Metro area. In this role, she ensured world-class rehabilitative care to thousands of wounded service members and other military beneficiaries, averaging over 7,000 visits each month.  She was also responsible for conducting, tracking, and supervising clinical research projects; overseeing graduate education; supporting congressional projects; supporting amputee, traumatic brain injury, and spine centers; and planning for and executing PT Service integration for Base Realignment and Closure.  While serving in this position, Dr. Springer was also the White House PT Consultant, the North Atlantic Regional Medical Command PT Consultant, and a member of the Military Amputee Research Program Executive Committee.

Dr. Springer’s other assignments include Chief of PT and Director of the Sports PT Residency at West Point, NY; Chief of PT at Schofield Barracks, HI; Chief of PT at Camp Casey, Korea; and PT at Ft Sill, OK.  She earned a Ph.D. in Health Education from The University of Texas at Austin and is part of the Graduate Faculty in the Doctoral Program in Sports Medicine-Physical Therapy at Baylor University.  COL Springer (Ret) is board certified as both an Orthopedic and a Sports Physical Therapy Specialist.  Her research interests lie in sports physical therapy, amputee rehabilitation, breast cancer and core stabilization.  She has published in peer-reviewed journals and has presented numerous platform presentations at professional meetings. 

COL Springer (Ret), her husband Steve, and their two children, Nick and Mike, live in Potomac, MD.  They enjoy cycling, camping, hiking, and sporting activities.

Irene Trowell-Harris

MAJ GEN Irene Trowell-Harris (USAF Ret.), RN EdD
Director, Center for Women Veterans
Office of the Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs

Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris was nominated to be Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veterans in June 2001 and approved by the White House on October 2, 2001. In this role, she is the primary advisor to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on programs and issues related to women Veterans. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Trowell-Harris served as Director of VA’s Office of Inspector General’s Healthcare Inspections Washington DC Regional Office. In this position, she directed a multidisciplinary staff of inspectors responsible for conducting oversight reviews to improve the economy, effectiveness, and efficiency of VA’s programs. Concurrent with her position in VA’s Office of Inspector General, Dr. Trowell-Harris served 38 years in the U.S. Air Force/Air National Guard (ANG), retiring as a Major General in September 2001. During her military career, Dr. Trowell-Harris held numerous positions, including chief nurse Director, Center for Women Veterans executive; flight nurse examiner; commander; advisor for nursing and readiness; assistant to the director, ANG; and military representative to the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) for the ANG. She was a 1997 Air Force representative for the Committee on Women in the NATO Forces Conference held in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. Trowell-Harris is an adjunct graduate faculty member at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, and serves as an ex-officio member to the DACOWITS and VA’s representative on the White House Council on Women and Girls. She also served as a senior policy specialist for the American Nurses Association. Born in Aiken, S.C., Dr. Trowell-Harris is a graduate of Columbia Hospital School of Nursing, Jersey City State College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in health education. She earned a master’s degree in public health from Yale University and a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Dr. Trowell-Harris was the first African-American female in the history of the National Guard to be promoted to general officer. She is also the first to have a mentoring award and a Tuskegee Airmen, Inc., Chapter named in her honor. Dr. Trowell-Harris is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably the Air Force Distinguished Service and Legion of Merit awards; the Dr. James D. Weaver Society Award, named for the distinguished Pennsylvania Congressman and Air National Guard Flight Surgeon; the Eagle Award from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for her contributions to aviation; the Air Force Association’s National Aerospace Award for Department of Veterans Affairs Employee of the Year 2010, given for the most outstanding performance of duty as a VA employee and her consistent dedication to the well being of our Veterans, the VA Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community Award; and numerous Outstanding Performance awards. She is a Distinguished Alumna of Yale University and Columbia University, and was inducted into the Columbia University Nursing Hall of Fame and the Yale University School of Medicine Honor Roll for her dedication to public service. She was honored as one of the “21 Leaders of the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews.

Amy K. Wagner

Amy K. Wagner, MD
Associate Professor, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Amy K. Wagner, Project Director for the R|BRN, has developed the Rehabilomics® research concept and integrated this paradigm into her biomarkers research program and is working with each of the core faculty of the R|BRN to integrate Rehabilomics® research expertise across the areas of proteomics, genomics and transcriptomics, neuroimaging, rehabilitation research design, data modeling and biostatistics, experimental modeling, and bioinformatics, assistive technology and biotechnology translation to create a comprehensive Rehabilomics Community at the University of Pittsburgh and beyond.  Dr. Wagner is also a tenured professor and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Pittsburgh.  She completed her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in 2000 at the Charlotte Institute of Rehabilitation where she was also Program Scholar for the Research Enrichment Program for physiatrists from 1998-1999.  Dr. Wagner completed an NIDRR post-doctoral research fellowship in 2001 and was appointed Associate Director for Rehabilitation Research in at the Safar Centr for Rescuscitation Research in 2003.

WAR Program

Linda H. Weidow, RN CCM
Medical Case Management Advisor
Wounded Warrior Battalion East

Mrs. Linda H. Weidow, was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania, where she met and married her husband in 1981.  Mrs. Weidow is a Marine Corps spouse and has over 31 years of nursing experience.  In July 1981, following her graduation as a licensed practical nurse, she moved with her husband to Camp Pendleton California where she was employed as a staff nurse at a Rehabilitation Hospital in San Clemente until June 1983.  In Sept 1990 she attended Hawkeye College and graduated in 1991 with a degree in Applied Science and Nursing. 

In Sept 1991, employed as a Home Health Coordinator with Comprehensive Home Health Care, Mrs. Weidow was part of the first class of home care nurses trained and certified to administer chemotherapy in the home health environment.  Later with the same company, she was a Hospital Liaison for home health care with military and civilian providers, which included hospitals, doctors, nurses, durable medical equipment companies, and infusion companies.  She was one of the first home care nurses to do discharge planning in coordination with discharge planners at Duke University Hospital, Pitt County Memorial Hospital, Wake Medical Center, and University of North Carolina Hospitals and clinics.

In Sept 1998 she accepted a position for Apria Home Health Care as an account executive were she performed marketing and community education for medical supplies and homecare services.  This included physician education regarding utilization of home care services.  Employing market analysis and a market sales growth plan she was successful in growing sales 80 % in two years.  In July of 2000 she accepted the position of Discharge Planner/ Utilization Reviewer with Humana Military Insurance Company.  She conducted utilization review of military treatment facilities at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune and Cherry Point and coordination of care across the continuum of care for active duty, military dependents, and military retirees.  In July of 2001 she accepted the position of Home Health Care Case Manager with Continuum Home Care and Hospice.  Mrs. Weidow provided Case Management of home care patients including hands on nursing care, disease management, and education.  Home visits included assessment, treatment, and monitoring of diseases.      
In June 2002, she was employed by Humana Military Insurance Company as a Health Care Finder.  She was responsible for ensuring medical authorizations for active duty military and dependants which included coordination with civilian doctors, military doctors, and civilian hospitals to ensure correct referrals and authorizations were approved.

She accepted the position as lead Case manager with PhyAmerica Government as the first active duty nurse case manager at Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune in October 2002.  Mrs. Weidow carried a caseload that averaged between 68-80 active duty wounded during Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom.  She was responsible for clinical management of complex and resource intensive patients.  She performed assesses plans, implemented, coordinated, monitored and evaluated options and services to meet individual's health needs utilizing available resources in compliance with state and federal regulations.  She collaborated with patients, families, and multidisplinary teams across the continuum of care.  Mrs. Weidow transferred to Wounded Warrior Battalion East, June 2007 as a Nurse Case Manager for Active Duty wounded warriors.  She was certified by the Commission for Case Managers in October 2007 and was responsible for clinical management of complex or resource intensive patients. She was hired as the Medical Case Management Advisor to the Commanding Officer, Wounded Warrior Battalion East in May 2009 and remains in this position currently.  Mrs. Weidow and her husband will be married 32 years on July 4, 2013.  They have one child and one grandchild: Jennifer Buell and Malia Buell, who is married to Sgt. Mark Buell currently serving as a Drill Instructor at Parris Island, South Carolina.

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:
Shelly R. Brown, MEd, Course Coordinator
Lindsey James Buglewicz, Faculty
Rachel E. Cowan, PhD, Faculty
Lana McKenzie, RN BSN MBA CCM, Faculty
Maria Millville, BA, Speaker
Carol O’Brien, PhD, Faculty
COL Paul F. Pasquina, MD, Course Director
Billie J. Randolph, PhD PT OCS, Faculty
COL Barbara A. Springer, (USA Ret.), PT PhD OCS SCS, Faculty
MAJ GEN Irene Trowell-Harris, (USAF Ret.), RN EdD, Faculty
Amy K. Wagner, MD, Faculty
Linda H. Weidow, Faculty

The following information was disclosed:

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

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.