One in five Americans experiences disability that affects their daily function because of impairments in mobility, cognitive function, sensory impairment, or communication impairment. The need for rehabilitation strategies to optimize function and reduce disability is a clear priority for research to address this public health challenge. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recently published a Research Plan on Rehabilitation that provides a set of priorities to guide the field over the next 5 years. The plan was developed with input from multiple Institutes and Centers within the NIH, the National Advisory Board for Medical Rehabilitation Research, and the public. This article provides an overview of the need for this research plan, an outline of its development, and a listing of six priority areas for research. The NIH is committed to working with all stakeholder communities engaged in rehabilitation research to track progress made on these priorities and to work to advance the science of medical rehabilitation.
William G. Gaines, Jr., MD, MPH
Dr. William Gaines has more than 30 years of experience in directing medical management programs. Board certified in Preventive Medicine-Occupational Medicine and Internal Medicine, he maintains a practice with Baylor Scott & White Health in College Station, Texas and is MedRisk’s Medical Director, overseeing the quality of provider clinical performance and helping MedRisk develops innovative medical management strategies.
Dr. Gaines previously served as Medical Director for a number of organizations, including a large property and casualty insurance carrier, Procter & Gamble and Conoco Phillips. He also held several academic appointments with Texas A&M University, including as Associate Director of its National Science Foundation, Industry University Cooperative Ergonomics Research Center and Assistant Professor of its University Health Science Center. In addition, Dr. Gaines has coauthored numerous scientific papers and delivered presentations on a variety of topics, including musculoskeletal disorders, back pain, occupational health, and delayed recovery from work injuries.
He earned his Doctor of Medicine degree from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas. Dr. Gaines conducted post-graduate work in internal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston and received his Master’s in Public Health from Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. In addition to serving on the ISAB, he is MedRisk’s medical director.