Remembering Rusk - The Father of Rehabilitation Medicine

"To believe in rehabilitation is to believe in humanity" ~Dr. Howard A. Rusk

April 9, 1901 – November 4, 1989

The Rusk Institute
Dr. Howard A. Rusk was a world renowned authority on the treatment of the disabled and founder of the Rusk Institute. Howard A. Rusk (1901-1989) left private medical practice to join the Army Air Corps in World War II. As a medical officer in St. Louis, he developed programs to help convalescent soldiers regain full physical abilities more quickly. These methods caught the attention of top generals, and Rusk was brought to Washington to implement his Convalescent Training Program service-wide.


Dr. Rusk Caring for an Infant
When the war ended, Rusk wanted to continue to help the disabled, even though some members of the medical community thought he was wasting his time. Arthur Hays Sulzberger, owner and publisher of The New York Times, suffered from severe arthritis and was sympathetic to the plight of others with disabilities. He invited Rusk to write a weekly column to help raise public awareness about rehabilitative medicine.

After the war, he overcame much resistance to establish similar programs in civilian hospitals, founding what would become the Howard A. Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University.
 
Roy Campanella and Dr. Rusk
Stroke victims, amputees, people paralyzed after contracting polio or suffering an accident, and individuals born with birth defects were among the many patients who sought out Dr. Rusk and his staff for treatment. One of his most famous patients was Roy Campanella, catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Paralyzed after a car accident, Campanella eventually regained the use of his arms and hands after undergoing extensive physical therapy.

Recognized as an expert in his field, Rusk served as a consultant to nine U.S. presidents, the Veteran’s Administration, and the United Nations. He was a consultant to the World Health Organization, he took his methods global by founding the World Rehabilitation Fund (1955). For his work and achievements, Rusk received many awards and honors. In 1974 the University of Missouri named its rehabilitation center in honor of Rusk. He received the Distinguished Service Medal, three Albert Lasker Awards, the Pacem in Terris Award, and the French Legion of Honor. Rusk was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize but did not win. In addition, he authored several books including A World to Care For (1972).


 
Mike Sanders is the Senior Director of Talent Management Services for NTI where he oversees the Training, Call Center, and Recruiting departments. In the past, Mike was the Manager of Training for Canon North America, worked for a few Financial Firms, and has built Interactive media, Websites and Learning Management Systems for several Fortune 500 firms and start-ups.

 

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