211 E. Ontario
Chicago, IL 60611
William Kennedy Smith MD, Director
211 E. Ontario St.
Chicago, IL 60611
Type of Organization
Regions: Africa, North America, Central America, Middle East, Europe, Asia, South America
Countries: The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) and E-learning department serve El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Afghanistan, Tanzania, and India. The International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM) has produced regional reports covering all countries within Asia and the Americas.
Specific cities, regions, or groups of people: Specific cities in which CIR works or has partners include the following: (El Salvador) San Salvador, San Miguel; (Honduras) Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula; (Nicaragua) Managua, La Trinidad, Leon; and (Guatemala) Ciudad Guatemala; (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Tuzla; (Slovenia) Ljubljana; (Afghanistan) Kabul; (Tanzania) Moshi; and (India) New Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore.
Age Group: Adults
Fees Charged: No
Education, Rehabilitation / Training
There is a facility/physical building for patient care at the specified location.
Accomodations for volunteers near or at the specified location.
Volunteers: Prosthetists, Orthotists, Physicians, Therapists, Other: E-learning
Materials, Components, and Equipment: New
General Background Information
Founded in 1996 by William Kennedy Smith MD
Total volunteers to date: 50
Annual average volunteer participation: 15
Total recipients of care to date: 15000
Annual average recipients of care: 3000
Organization does NOT provide funding for volunteers.
Volunteer needs to raise individual funds for all expenses.
The Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) is a Chicago-based not-for-profit organization that develops research, education and advocacy programs to assist people with disabilities worldwide in achieving their full potential.
Additional Information & Comments
The Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) is a Chicago-based nonprofit organization committed to assisting landmine survivors and people with disabilities worldwide in achieving their full potential. Through innovative engineering projects, capacity-building education programs, interactive online tools, and disability rights advocacy, the CIR reaches out to individuals and communities across the Americas, Europe, and Asia.
The CIR is an outgrowth of Physicians Against Land Mines (PALM), a nongovernmental organization (NGO) devoted to ending the death, dismemberment, and disability caused by landmines. In 1998, PALM opened the CIR and expanded its activities in order to have a greater impact on the lives of people with disabilities around the globe.
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (RERC) was the first program implemented at the CIR and remains a core initiative. Through the RERC, the CIR develops technologies to improve the quality and accessibility of care for landmine survivors and people with disabilities in low-income countries.
The CIRís products are designed to meet the long-term economic, cultural, environmental, and functional needs of people with disabilities in the communities where they live, and can be made locally, using materials that are inexpensive and widely available.
The CIR Sand Casting system is an innovative, cost-effective system that uses vacuum-packed sand to fabricate a mold of an amputeeís residual limb for fabrication of prosthetic sockets. This revolutionary process significantly improves the production rate and quality of prostheses, offering a new alternative to traditional methods. The system reduces production time for socket fabrication from eight hours to one hour and relies on recyclable materials, allowing for easier service in the remote areas that the CIR serves.
The CIR-Whirlwind Wheelchair is an adjustable wheelchair designed for regions with little or no infrastructure for wheelchair distribution and service provision. It can be adjusted to meet the needs of the individual user and is specially engineered for stability and durability in rough terrain. In 2005, the CIR completed a successful pilot project for the provision of the CIR-Whirlwind Wheelchair in Kabul, Afghanistan. CIR staff trained local physiotherapists and wheelchair technicians in preparation for the distribution of 100 wheelchairs to local users. The CIR also trained the users on wheelchair skills and the use and maintenance of the wheelchair, and each user participated in follow-up assessments.
Additionally, the CIR has developed anatomically based alignment systems and a prosthetic foot that mimics natural movement. Research is being completed on the Anatomically Based (ABA) and Vertical Alignment Axis (VAA) methods in Nicaragua, and the protocol for field testing of the Shape&Roll Prosthetic Foot is in development.
In 2001, the CIR piloted a distance learning program designed to train prosthetic technicians working in clinics and hospitals serving landmine survivors, war-wounded and other people with disabilities in post-conflict countries. The CIR's courses were developed in conjunction with the renowned Northwestern University Prosthetics and Orthotics Center (NUPOC) and fulfill International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) Category II Prosthetist requirements. The program uses a blended learning format that combines online content modules, quizzes, and discussions with printed materials and face-to-face practical workshops. This high tech/low bandwidth e-learning program teaches practicing prosthetic technicians sound fundamentals for manufacturing and fitting artificial limbs.
The CIR distance learning program in prosthetics is now being taught to more than 70 students from 30 rehabilitation centers in six countries. These centers treat an estimated 8,600 war-wounded and other amputees each year. In January 2006, the CIRís distance education students in Bosnia became the first in the region to receive ISPO Category II certification. In addition, CIR staff members conduct technology transfer and training workshops at rehabilitation clinics and centers throughout the developing world.
In 2006, the CIR launched the International Disability Educational Alliance Network (IDEAnet). IDEAnet is an interactive website that provides information, communication tools, and social spaces designed to enable people from around the world to work together on issues of importance to people with disabilities. The site is designed around two communities. The Rehabilitation Services Community works to improve services for people with disabilities through the development and distribution of improved assistive technologies and through the delivery of distance education programs for service providers. The Disability Rights Community is dedicated to promoting and protecting the human rights of people with disabilities by building the capacity of grassroots disability organizations and promoting the implementation and monitoring of legal protections.
The CIR also has developed the International Consultants in Medicine (iCon) program, an Internet-based, store-and-forward teleconsultation system. iCon facilitates the delivery of specialty medical care to remote and underserved areas domestically and internationally by connecting remote clinics with medical experts to meet the unique needs of each patient.
Disability rights advocacy efforts are an important component of the CIRís efforts to assist people with disabilities worldwide in achieving their full potential. Since 2001, the International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM) project has trained more than 40 disability advocates to document the progress, problems and barriers experienced by people with disabilities. The IDRM has published regional reports on the Americas and Asia, as well as various thematic reports, including Disability and Early Tsunami Relief Efforts in India, Indonesia and Thailand (2005) and The International Disability Rights Compendium (2003). Similar studies for Europe and a follow-up report on the Americas are underway, and the organization is exploring future projects in the Middle East and Africa.
The CIR has also launched the website ConventionYES! to create an online space to disseminate information and coordinate advocacy efforts in support of the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.