Editor's Note

Looking Back & Ahead in a Season of Thanks

Since this is our November issue, I thought I’d take a cue from the season and mention some things I’m thankful for as we say good-bye to 2012...along with my accompanying wishes for 2013:

  • I am thankful for the accolades and higher profile enjoyed by London’s Paralympic Games, which focused spectators’ attention on athletes’ abilities rather than on their disabilities. Ironically, while many Paralympic competitions were sold out, it may actually have been easier to catch the live event in London than to watch it on TV. For instance, while NBC covered the Olympic Games in excruciating detail, it devoted only a few short “highlight” hours to the Paralympics. A plea to NBC, who also has American broadcast rights to the 2014 Winter Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, and 2016 Summer Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: Give us a real chance to root for all of our sports heroes. I bet you’d be surprised by how many tune in.

  • I am thankful for several encouraging signs from the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) front. While I was researching this month’s cover story, news broke that a bill that would create a National Pediatric Research Network that would award grants to study rare diseases such as SMA. A week later came news that Repligen Corp. had started a phase 1b clinical study of a drug called RG3039 that could potentially treat SMA. The month before, Ben Mattlin, an NPR commentator and writer, released his autobiography: Miracle Boy Grows Up. Sure, it might all be a coincidence, but it’s hard not to hope that the rise in SMA awareness and funding will lead to something very good. And sooner than later.

  • I am thankful to all the complex rehab technology providers, clinicians, ATPs, mobility dealers, manufacturer representatives and other industry experts who have shared their knowledge this year on everything from environmental accessibility to arm positioning to HCPCS code changes to the challenges of serving amputees. It’s great to be an expert, but great and generous to take the time to share one’s hard-won knowledge with others. With every year, I hope healthcare professionals at large and consumers in general give you your proper dues and respect as critical parts of the healthcare continuum.

  • I am thankful for the ongoing progress to create a separate benefit category for complex rehab technology. The folks who have worked on this — from writing the position papers and sorting through HCPCS codes, to inviting members of Congress over for hands-on demonstrations of a day in the life of an ATP — do so in their "free time," which translates to a lot of late nights and weekend e-mails. Recognizing complex rehab technology as its own science and practice is a no-brainer. May even more people see the light next year.

  • I am thankful to all who have supported TheMobilityProject.com, our consumer-targeted Web site that debuted in March. As of this writing, we’ve surpassed 2,500 Facebook “likes,” with readers across the country and around the globe.

    Incidentally, the birth of The Mobility Project means we now have twice the need for interviews, expert insight, commentary, etc. Thank you to those who have answered our call...and with incredible cheerfulness. More than a decade ago, you supported a new magazine called Mobility Management, and we owe our success and existence to you. Now, we also owe The Mobility Project’s success and existence to you, too.

  • Finally, my gratitude to this year’s editorial advisory board members — also a group that takes my calls and answers my e-mails much more good-naturedly than I deserve. I have much to be thankful for, thanks to you.

This article originally appeared in the November 2012 issue of Mobility Management.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at lwatanabe@1105media.com.

Rolling Dynamics, Rolling Resistance &  Optimizing Wheeled Prosthetics