Looking back and thinking forward: 20 years of disability and rehabilitation research

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, Alan M. Jette, Marcus J. Fuhrer, Carl V. Granger

    Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research recently celebrated its 20th Anniversary. The celebration included a symposium highlighting advances in rehabilitation science over the past 2 decades. The anniversary also reminds us of the challenges that remain in order to strengthen the foundation of disability and rehabilitation research. These challenges have been described in 3 reports published by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) in 1991, 1997, and 2007. Three areas of concern appear across the IOM reports. These include (1) the lack of a comprehensive disability monitoring program, (2) the need for better integration and coordination of federally supported disability research, and (3) funding levels that are inconsistent with the current and projected impacts of disability on individuals, families, and communities. In this commentary we examine the lack of progress in addressing the recommendations contained in the IOM reports. We conclude that renewed efforts by consumers, clinicians, educators, researchers, administrators, and policy makers are needed to achieve the promise of rehabilitation and disability science identified 20 years ago.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1392-1394
    Number of pages3
    JournalArchives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
    Issue number8
    StatePublished - Aug 2012


    • Comment
    • Rehabilitation
    • Review

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Rehabilitation


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