amy rauworthAmy RauworthWritten by Bob Shepard, UAB News

Two members of the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative took part in the White House Summit and Research Forum on Improved Health and Fitness for Americans with Disabilities, that was held Oct. 6-7, 2014, in Washington, D.C. 

The summit and research forum were presented by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences James Rimmer, Ph.D., and Amy Rauworth, director of policy and public affairs for Lakeshore Foundation, made presentations at the event.

Written by Bob Shepard, UAB Media Relations

Quad Rider - courtesy InvotekQuad Rider - courtesy InvoTekThe University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Lakeshore Foundation are partnering with InvoTek, Inc. to create a gear and braking device that helps people with disabilities operate a handcycle safely. InvoTek, a research and development company in Alma, Arkansas, has received a $175,000 Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will fund the development of technology called a Quad Rider to enable thousands of people with high-level spinal cord injury the opportunity to enjoy the health benefits of handcycling.

james rimmer LakeshoreJames Rimmer, Ph.D.The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s James Rimmer, Ph.D., the Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been named to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition Science Board. He is the first researcher with a focus on the fitness of people with disabilities to be named to the prestigious post.

“There is a lack of representation of people with disabilities across the spectrum of health, wellness, exercise and nutrition and I believe society is starting to recognize the value that exercise and good nutrition have on improving the health of every member of society, including those with the least access to it,” said Rimmer, a professor in the UAB School of Health Professions Department of Occupational Therapy. “This administration has a tremendous interest in physical activity, sports, recreation and obesity reduction so this is a good time for people with disabilities to get on board the train.”

Rimmer’s three-year term with the board began on January 1, 2014. The team of 13 researchers will provide guidance and feedback on a variety of issues that pertain to the Council’s messages and programs.

James H. Rimmer, Ph.D., director of the Lakeshore Foundation / UAB Research Collaborative, has been selected to receive the AAP Excellence in Research Writing Award by the Association of Academic Physiatrists and the editorial board of the American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. The award, which is given annually to the lead author of the best paper published in the AJPM&R each year, is for Rimmer’s article titled “Telehealth Weight Management Intervention for Adults with Physical Disabilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

The article appeared in the December, 2013, issue of AJPM&R. It examined the results of Rimmer’s study on the effects of a remote, telephone-based weight management program for people with physical disabilities. The subjects were studied for nine months and used a web-based telehealth system that he and his team developed referred to as POWERS - Personalized Online Weight and Exercise Response System.

“This is the first randomized controlled trial that demonstrated people with physical disabilities can make small, effective improvements in self-managing their health," said Rimmer, the UAB School of Health Professions inaugural Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences. "We are continuing this research to determine if POWERS can help participants achieve greater weight loss/weight maintenance through an advanced m-health/e-health platform that is under development at UAB and Lakeshore Foundation.”

james_rimmer_LakeshoreThe University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and Birmingham-based Lakeshore Foundation have partnered on an initiative made possible by a $6-million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to find ways to improve health outcomes among disabled persons.

People with disabilities have some of the highest rates of physical inactivity in the United States, according to James Rimmer, Ph.D., Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences at the UAB School of Health Professions.


“Twenty-five million Americans have a mobility impairment, and this group remains one of the most physically inactive and obese groups in our society,” Rimmer said. “Some studies have indicated that disabled people on average spend 18 hours a day sitting down or lying down, and one in six are completely inactive 24 hours a day.”

To combat the problem, UAB and Lakeshore Foundation are creating the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Exercise and Recreational Technologies and Exercise Physiology Benefiting People with Disabilities, or simply RecTech.

NCHPADA $3 million, three-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will fund the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability which is locating in Birmingham as part of the University of Alabama at Birmingham/ Lakeshore Research Collaborative. The center focuses on the relationships between good health and physical activity in people with disabilities.


The center director is James Rimmer, Ph.D., recently recruited to UAB as the Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences in the UAB School of Health Professions. Rimmer, who has been developing and directing programs for people with disabilities for more than 30 years, leads the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative.

NCHPAD derives from a similar center Rimmer ran for 13 years at the University of Illinois at Chicago prior to joining UAB.  The new center expands on the scope of the previous efforts, in large part through UAB’s collaboration with Lakeshore Foundation.

“This grant represents and demonstrates the power of the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative,” said Jeff Underwood, president of Lakeshore Foundation. “To secure this program and funding within the first 90 days of the Research Collaborative’s operation is quite impressive and gives the Collaborative a tremendous start in establishing its reputation as a leader in physical activity and disability. It also positions Birmingham as the national hub of information about physical activity for people with disabilities,” added Underwood.

James RimmerInternationally known researcher James Rimmer, Ph.D., will become the Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Health Professions, effective Jan. 3, 2012, pending approval of the University of Alabama Board of Trustees. In that role Rimmer, who has been developing and directing programs for people with disabilities for 30 years, will lead the Lakeshore Foundation/UAB Research Collaborative.

The collaboration was forged in October 2009 to create a unique, world-class research program in rehabilitative science that links Lakeshore Foundation’s extraordinary programs for people with physically disabling conditions with UAB’s research expertise. It is funded by a $2 million investment from Lakeshore Foundation.

“We are thrilled to have a professional as accomplished and esteemed as James Rimmer take the reins,” said Harold Jones, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Health Professions. “We are entering an exciting time in rehabilitation sciences, and his expert direction will help us pursue discoveries that could significantly alter the lives of people with disabilities.”

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