After five years of operation under the auspices of the University of Pittsburgh, the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) recently named a Founding Board to establish ISWP as a separate organization outside of the university.

Please see ISWP approved bylaws.

Eleven leaders representing a cross-section of the international wheelchair sector were elected by ISWP Advisory Board members and a Forming Committee of sector representatives.  Jon Pearlman and Mary Goldberg, co-directors of ISWP at the University of Pittsburgh, serve as ex-officio Board members. Board members are:

David Constantine, (UK), Founding Board Chair, is founder director of Motivation, the nonprofit social enterprise which offers products and mobility solutions in low- and middle-income countries. He holds a Master’s Degree in Computer Related Design from Royal College of Art and Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Studies/Accountancy & Finance from Oxford Brookes University.  Most recently, David served as the ISWP Forming Committee chair.  He represents end users and manufacturers/suppliers on the Founding Board.  E-mail: [email protected].

 

 

 

Silvana Contepomi, Argentine Assistive Technology Association [AATA] (Argentina) and Founding Board Vice Chair, is a physical therapist with over 30 years of experience in neurorehabilitation, specializing in seating and mobility for 20 years.  Silvana is passionate about 24 hour postural management.  As a WHO-WSTP trainer, Silvana has taught in South Africa, Mexico and Bhutan.  She sits on the Argentine Assistive Technologies Association (AATA) Board of Directors.  AATA has led 5 Latin America Seating Symposia.  On the Founding Board, Silvana represents clinicians and middle-income professional organizations in Argentina and Latin America.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Eric Wunderlich, manager of major initiatives, Latter-day Saint Charities (U.S.) and Founding Board Secretary-Treasurer, has been the organization’s wheelchair program manager for the past nine years, following three years as project manager and nine years as manager, disability programs with the organization.  Latter-day Saint Charities works primarily in low- and middle-income countries.  Eric holds an MBA from Weber State University and B.S., Accounting, from Brigham Young University.  On the Founding Board, Eric represents NGOs in low- and middle-income countries.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

 

Ritu Ghosh, academics director at Mobility India (India), is a Prosthetist and Orthotist who leads Mobility India’s academics programs within its Rehabilitation Research and Training Centre.  Ritu has over 24 years of experience in the disability field, including planning, managing, evaluating and designing service and training programs in the fields of Prosthetics, Orthotics, Rehabilitation Therapy and Wheelchairs at the local, national and international levels.  She is a member of the Board of Studies (Allied Health Sciences) at Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences and a member of the Rehabilitation Council of India P&O expert committee.  Ritu has contributed to the development of WHO guidelines and training packages in wheelchair and Prosthetics and Orthotics service provision and training delivery. She served as a member of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP) Integration Subcommittee.  Presently, she also is an International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) Wheelchair Advisory Group member.  Ritu has won state, national and international awards for her work.  In addition to her Prosthetist-Orthotist education, Ritu holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Health Care Services. On the Founding Board, Ritu represents clinicians and educators in middle-income countries.  E-mail: [email protected].

 

Mary Goldberg (ex officio) serves as co-director of ISWP and leads training and advocacy activities.  She is associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh Human Engineering Research Laboratories and Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology.  In these roles, Mary focuses on developing and testing evidence-based continuing education interventions for rehabilitation professionals.  She currently teaches four courses at the University of Pittsburgh and Coursera on disability, rehabilitation, and assistive technology topics.  Mary also serves as Co-Director for the U.S. National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Initiative to Mobilize Partnerships for Successful Assistive Technology Translation (IMPACT) Center.  IMPACT develops unique educational and research interventions to increase capacity of researchers worldwide to translate assistive technology products.  Mary received her PhD from the University of Pittsburgh in Administrative and Policy Studies of Education with a concentration in Rehabilitation Science. E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Karin Leire, V.P., research and innovation, Permobil (Sweden), leads external research and innovation for the company.  Previously, she was director, clinical research for Permobil.  Karin also currently serves as chair of the board of the Swedish Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences, section for clinical trials.  On the Founding Board, she represents the manufacturing segment.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

 

 

Shona McDonald is founding director of the ShonaquipSE (South Africa), a hybrid NPO Social Enterprise established in 1992 to build capacity, influence and support systems change for inclusion while stimulating local economies though growing the quality and reach of sustainable quality paediatric wheelchairs and assistive device provision across Southern Africa.  Her life’s work — and the company’s origin — was inspired by her daughter who spurred her life-long commitment to address the lack of appropriate wheelchair provision, holistic support services, parent empowerment and adequate policy for people with mobility disabilities, as every wheelchair user should have access to a correctly fitted, appropriate wheelchair and be actively included in school, work and all levels of their community.  ShonaquipSE’s in-house design department continue to innovate and develop a wide range of mobility and 24-hour postural support devices which are locally produced in Cape Town.  The designs are born in the field and informed by a wide variety of users, their unique needs and the contexts in which they live.  On the Founding Board, Shona represents non-governmental organizations (NGOs), clinicians, manufacturers/suppliers and caregivers.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Marilyn Pattison (Australia) is the Immediate Past President of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT), having served as President from 2014 to 2021 and Executive Director from 2002 to 2014.  She is the founder of MPOT/Access Fitness (South Australia), which is a multi-disciplinary rehabilitation service providing services for almost 25 years, and the General Manager of Talking Matters (South Australia), a major provider of pediatric services. Marilyn holds a Dip. COT (UK), a B.App.Sc (OT) and an MBA (University of South Australia).  On the Founding Board, Marilyn represents WFOT and sector organizations.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Jon Pearlman (ex officio) is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology and director of the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals (ISWP). Jon also serves as co-director for the U.S. National Institute for Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Initiative to Mobilize Partnerships for Successful Assistive Technology Translation (IMPACT) Center.  IMPACT develops unique educational and research interventions to increase capacity of researchers worldwide to translate assistive technology products.  Jon earned his BS and MS in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley and Cornell University, respectively.  He completed his PhD in Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh in 2007, with an emphasis on assistive technology design and transfer to developing countries.  Jon’s research interests are in the areas of participatory action design, assistive technology transfer methods, and new product development.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Alba Polanco Vidal currently leads the Gender Equality Incorporation in the Government Institutions Department in the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Women.  She also consults on issues related to the inclusion of people with disabilities and is an adjunct professor at the School of Psychology of the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra (PUCMM), where she teaches Psychology of Diversity.  Alba has a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the Universidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and a Master’s Degree in Neuropsychology from the University of Salamanca, Spain, as well as postgraduate studies in Health and Social Protection Systems and Care Policies with a Gender Perspective.  Alba dedicated the last seven years to rehabilitation and public disability policies, which include co-leading the design of the National Disability’s Assessment, Certification and Registration System and the efforts to strengthen the wheelchair provision system in the Dominican Republic, being directly involved in process design, product quality and national capacity-building initiatives.  On the Founding Board, Alba represents the government sector in middle-income countries.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Paula Rushton is an associate professor at the Université de Montréal, School of Rehabilitation, Occupational Therapy Program and a researcher at the CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center. She obtained her MClSc (OT) from the University of Western Ontario (1999), her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of British Columbia (2010) and her postdoctoral training at the University of Montréal in Biomedical Sciences (2014).  Her research is focused on measurement, intervention, knowledge translation and education related to improving the wheeled mobility of both adults and children through an improved wheelchair service provision process.  From the measurement, intervention and knowledge translation perspective, Rushton’s expertise lies in the domains of wheelchair skills and wheelchair confidence. From the education perspective, Rushton has been working with the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals to enhance wheelchair content in health care professional university curricula globally through the Integration Subcommittee and the development of the Wheelchair Educators’ Package. Rushton currently teaches a 45-hour wheelchair course that addresses all 8-steps of the WHO wheelchair service provision process at the Université de Montréal.  On the Founding Board, Paula represents clinicians, educators and academic researchers.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Claude Tardif is an Ortho-Prosthetist and consultant on rehabilitation and assistive technology. Until 2016, he was the Head of the ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Programme, and prior to his ICRC role, Claude was director of the P&O programme at College Montmorency, Canada. He is the President-Elect of the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), assuming the presidency in November 2021, and chairs the ISPO Wheelchair Advisory Group. He is a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Ad-hoc Advisory Group of Experts on Assistive Technology and a member of the board of the Global Rehabilitation Alliance (GRA). Over the years, Claude also has been actively involved in strengthening the African Federation of Rehabilitation Professionals (FATO).  He has participated on several sector boards and committees, including: Tanzanian Training Centre for Orthopaedic Technologists (TATCOT) Advisory Board; WHO Guidelines Development Group for the “Guidelines for Health Related Rehabilitation”; WHO Standards Development Group for Standards for Prosthetics and Orthotics Service Provision; and WHO Core Working Group for the Development of Minimum Standards and Recommendations for Rehabilitation in Emergencies: Guidance Document for Foreign Medical Teams.  On the Founding Board, Claude represents ISPO and sector organizations.  E-mail:  [email protected].

 

Edward Winter, senior technical advisor for social inclusion, World Vision (U.S.), supports social inclusion work (including persons with disabilities and indigenous populations) in World Vision’s programs.  Edward was appointed to this role in May 2019 after serving as World Vision senior business development manager for 6 years.  From 2011 to 2013, Edward was director of institutional funding for Handicap International (now Humanity & Inclusion).  From 2009 to 2011, he was director of program development and evaluation for Eurasia Foundation.  Edward holds an MSc, Development Management, from The Open University, a postgraduate certificate in Education-History and English, Durham University; and a B.A., History, Durham University.  On the Founding Board, Edward represents NGOs in low- and middle-income countries.  E-mail: [email protected].

 

ISWP’s current Advisory Board will feed into the ISWP co-directors and the Founding Board.