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Professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation wins Magnuson Award

    Dudley S. Childress, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and of biomedical engineering, has been awarded the Paul B. Magnuson Award by the Research and Development Service of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    The highest honor given to VA rehabilitation investigators, the award is conferred on a researcher who "exemplifies the entrepreneurship, humanitarianism and dedication to veterans displayed by Dr. Magnuson." It is named for the Northwestern University surgeon who, as chief medical director of the Veterans Administration after World War II, successfully built the VA Healthcare System. A pioneer in rehabilitation medicine and prosthetics, he also was the founder of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Photo of Dudley S. Childress
Dudley S. Childress, PhD

    Childress directs the Prosthetics Research Laboratory and the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program, and is executive director of the Prosthetic Orthotic Education Center. He is a research health scientist at the VA Chicago Health Care System-Lakeside Division.

    Childress is a widely recognized researcher in the areas of biomechanics, human walking, artificial limbs, orthoses, ambulation aids, and rehabilitation engineering. This work involves the design and development of modern technological systems for persons with limb loss or existing limb disability.

    Under Childress' direction, the first systems were developed to control power wheelchairs by switches that are activated by sipping and puffing on a tube or using other minimal movements. His group also developed one of the first environmental control systems enabling persons with paralyzed hands and arms to activate electrical devices such as lights and appliances.

    In 1998, through VA assistance, Childress and his colleagues developed a state-of-the-art motion analysis system, one of a few such research tools dedicated to studies of prostheses, orthoses and other ambulation and manipulation aids. Childress has been honored often for his work providing engineering and technical assistance for people with physical disabilities. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine, part of the National Academy of Sciences; a fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago; the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics; the Rehabilitation Engineering Society of North America (RESNA); and a founding fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE).