While the future of Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) is often described via evolutions of seating and wheeled mobility product, the industry’s success also depends on the people of CRT — clinicians, providers, manufacturers, engineers, funding specialists, service technicians — and how they lead.
Mobility Management’s latest podcast, “Academia, Diversity & the Future of CRT,” examines the industry’s future from all these perspectives.
Joining Editor Laurie Watanabe on the podcast is Pooja Viswanathan, Ph.D., the CEO of Braze Mobility. Braze Mobility manufactures blind-spot sensors for wheelchairs, to make wheelchair use safer for a range of consumers.
Viswanathan talks in the podcast of visiting long-term care facilities and seeing “a lot of the residents there were slumped over in manual wheelchairs that they didn’t have the strength to self propel, and they weren’t being allowed to use power wheelchairs because of safety concerns.
“The majority of residents in long-term care facilities often have dementia, and so that diagnosis alone was often excluding people from power mobility use. It really did feel like a violation of a fundamental human right, but of course, there are a lot of factors to consider and balance.”
Viswanathan left academia to bring Braze Mobility’s blind-spot sensors to market; she is now the young female CEO of a CRT company. And during the podcast, Viswanathan also discusses the everyday value of diversity.
“I absolutely do believe diversity needs to start at leadership,” she said. “Leadership really sets the tone.
“Whenever you have an organization or a roomful of one sex or one race or one color, behaviors start emerging that can be very discriminatory. I think leadership keeps everyone in check, and when you have diversity at the leadership level, it trickles down to the entire organization.”