Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- October 28, 2002

Cal State L.A. to Take Part in New Rehab Engineering Research Center

California State University, Los Angeles will take part in a five-year, $4.5 million grant funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)—a component of the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services—to establish a new Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC).

With Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center as the lead institution, researchers from Cal State L.A. UCLA, and UC Irvine will work on six projects to develop cutting-edge products to help individuals with spinal-cord injury (SCI) cope better with daily mobility challenges. Cal State L.A.’s project, entitled “Practical Adaptive Equipment for Model SCI Exercise Programs,” will begin November 1, 2002, and is focused on improving exercise devices for individuals with SCI and also improving accessibility to exercise for individuals with SCI.

The principal investigator for the Cal State L.A. project is Ray de Leon, assistant professor of kinesiology at Cal State L.A., and the co-principal investigators are Tamar Semerjian and Jesus Dominguez, also assistant professors of kinesiology. Sam Landsberger, one of two program directors for the RERC, is a faculty member in kinesiology and engineering at Cal State L.A., and director of rehabilitation engineering at Rancho Los Amigos—one of America’s rehabilitation leaders for more than half a century.

de Leon, who along with Dominguez oversees the University’s Mobility Training Clinic, explains, “The people with SCI who participate in our project will get to use special, adapted exercise equipment and we’ll also provide one-on-one personal training for them in the Mobility Center, an exercise facility that we established on the CSULA campus last year for people with physical disabilities. We’ll have teams of kinesiology and engineering students work with each individual, to guide them through a 10-week exercise program and get their input regarding the devices. We’ve been offering these exercise opportunities for people with disabilities since we opened the Mobility Center last year, but now we have funding!”

“Ultimately, our findings will influence how exercise devices and equipment are designed, built and then utilized by people with SCI,” adds de Leon. “Our students will also gain a tremendous amount of experience that we hope will inspire them to serve people with disabilities in their future careers.”

CONTACT: Margie Yu, Public Affairs Specialist, (323) 343-3047

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