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Accessible technology and rehab medicine help Americans with disabilities in today's work force

NEW YORK -- July 13, 2005 -- The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine and Microsoft Corp. have teamed up to educate the medical community about the importance of incorporating accessible technology into the rehabilitation process to help patients with disabilities return to the work force and be more productive and competitive in their jobs.

The forum, "Innovations for a Healthy Work Force," will take place this morning at New York University Medical Center in New York City. A panel of medical and technology experts will discuss workplace issues confronting people with physical and sensory disabilities caused by injury, disease or aging, with a focus on ways that accessible technology can help mitigate these issues.

"Our economy and social fabric are increasingly reliant on the use of computers for the conduct of commerce, business and communications," said Dr. Bill Crounse, global healthcare industry manager for Microsoft. "When large numbers of people are unable to use computers due to injury, illness or the effects of aging, they are also excluded from jobs and from contributing to the information economy. This is a scenario that we cannot afford to accept."

In today's economy, computers are essential for many businesses, and are a mainstay of personal and professional life around the world. Among working-age adults in the United States, 78 percent use computers -- 68 percent at home and 45 percent at work . With nearly 60 percent of the work force experiencing some level of disability or impairment due to chronic ailments (e.g., vision loss, carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis) or serious injury, using a computer can be challenging for many people.

"We are committed to helping patients overcome their disabilities and have found that rehab therapy plays an essential role in enabling many of our patients to return to the work force," said Dr. Mathew H. M. Lee, the Howard A. Rusk professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University S
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Contact: Mechal Weiss
mechal.weiss@edelman.com
212-642-7731
Edelman Public Relations
13-Jul-2005


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