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.”

Jeff Underwood, president of Lakeshore Foundation, agrees: “The combined, collaborative energies of Lakeshore Foundation and UAB under the direction of the nation’s leading voice on physical activity and disability give us a profound combination of talents and resources to develop an international research effort second to none.”

Rimmer, who directs two federally funded centers which will transfer to UAB — the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, and the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities — embraces the challenge.

“The opportunities to develop a research program in exercise, health promotion and disability between Lakeshore and UAB are enormous, and this is the first such endeavor in this area of research in the nation and likely the world,” said Rimmer. “During the next 10 years, Birmingham will transform itself into the epicenter of research, professional growth and development in this important and understudied area of science. I am honored to be a part of it.”

Rimmer is on the NIH National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research advisory board. He also serves on several national advisory boards in rehabilitation engineering and is currently a

member of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Health Disparities Advisory Committee to the Director of CDC.   

“This is a partnership that builds on the strengths of our two organizations,” said Underwood. “UAB and Lakeshore working together can truly impact the world with regard to better outcomes for people with physical disability, so that people in our community and in the world will say, ‘Because of this research, my life is better’.”