(Posted March 2, 2021)
Name: Susan L. Garber, M.A., O.T.R., F.A.O.T.A., F.A.C.R.M.
Susan L. Garber, M.A., O.T.R., is Professor, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Baylor College of Medicine. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from Columbia University, New York, New York and a Master of Arts degree in occupational therapy education from Texas Woman’s University, Denton, Texas. She has been a clinical researcher for over 45 years as principal investigator, co-investigator, consultant or content expert on more than 30 funded research projects, 5 funded training projects, a NIDRR-funded Clinical Program and 4 contracts. Her research has focused primarily on spinal cord injury and pressure injury prevention, treatment and education. She has authored or co-authored 50 papers, more than 18 abstracts, 8 monographs, and 15 book chapters. She has presented extensively at numerous national, regional, and local professional meetings. She is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. In 2006, she was inducted into the Academy of Research of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. In 2015, she received the Eleanor Clark Slagle Lectureship award, the highest academic honor given by the American Occupational Therapy Association. She presented her lecture “The Prepared Mind” at the 2016 at the AOTA Annual Conference and Expo. In 2017, she was listed as one of the most influential Occupational Therapists of the Occupational Therapy Profession’s first 100 years.
In 1975, Mrs. Garber joined the Texas Rehabilitation Engineering Center (REC), a federally funded grant obtained by a consortium of institutions: The [Texas] Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, Baylor College of Medicine, and Texas A & M University. She became a member of Baylor’s faculty in1980. She remained at TIRR for 19 years. In 1996, her research took her to the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Occupational Therapy became nationally recognized in pressure injury prevention and treatment in 1990 when Mrs. Garber represented the American Occupational Therapy Association as a member of two clinical practice guideline development panels (Pressure Ulcers in Adults: Prediction and Prevention and Treatment of Pressure Ulcers) under the auspices of the Agency of Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR-1990-1994), now known as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). She then represented AOTA on the Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) that was creating panels to develop clinical practice guidelines specifically for persons with spinal cord injury. She was named chairperson of the clinical practice guideline development panels for the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers for persons with spinal cord injury. The guidelines were published in 2000 and updated in 2014.
Mrs. Garber’s research has included VA merit review projects “Clinical Evaluation of a Wheelchair Mounted Robotic Arm”, “Telerehabilitation for Veterans with a Lower-Limb Amputation or Ulcer (Phases 1 and 2)”, “Assisted Movement Neuro-Rehabilitation: VA Multi-Site Clinical Trial”, 2002-2005, and the multi-site project “Preventing Pressure Ulcers in Veterans with Spinal Cord Injury” supported by the VA Health Services Research and Development Service. Although Mrs. Garber has devoted most of her professional life to the study of pressure injuries in persons with spinal cord injury, she has conducted or participated in other areas of research: assistive technology, outcomes of spinal cord injury and stroke rehabilitation, cardiac rehabilitation, lower-limb amputation and sexuality, post-prostate cancer radiation and fatigue, and robotics for both therapy and function. Her other interests include wheelchair mobility, evaluation and utilization of assistive technology, technology transfer, and patient and family education. She was on the Board of Directors of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel. Currently, she serves on the Research Committee of Baylor’s Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, reviews manuscripts for a number of professional journals, and reviews grant proposals submitted to private foundations, professional organizations and government agencies. For 3 years she was on the board of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.