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Award recognizes contributions to rehabilitation engineering


Toronto, ON – February 13, 2004 – Finding innovative solutions for people living with mobility problems has earned Dr Geoffrey Fernie, PhD, PEng, the prestigious 2003 Medec award for medical achievement.

Medec – the national association representing Canada’s medical device technology industry – established the award in 1979 to recognize Canadian scientists who have made significant contributions to the advancement of medicine and whose work is acknowledged in Canada and internationally.

“Dr Fernie’s contribution to rehabilitation engineering and the advancement of mobility technology ensures that Canadians continue to gain access to technology that improves their quality of life,” said Stephen Dibert, president and CEO of Medec. “We are pleased to present this award to an individual who has had a major impact in the area of mobility technology.”

Dr Fernie’s commitment to find solutions for people living with mobility problems has earned him international recognition and success in rehabilitation engineering. Dr Fernie is responsible for leading the research and invention of many devices including the world’s first portable, battery-powered overhead lift, which is now used extensively in hospitals all around the world. He also led the team that developed the Staxi Transport Chair System, a device that allows people with mobility impairments to manage greater distances.

Dr Fernie is vice president, research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. He is also a professor in the department of surgery at the University of Toronto with cross-appointments that include the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, the graduate department of rehabilitation science and the departments of mechanical and industrial engineering, physical therapy and occupational therapy. Dr Fernie was director of the Centre for Studies in Aging at Sunnybrook & Women’s College Health Sciences Centre until he joined the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute in September of 2003.