About the Founder William Kennedy Smith
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Center for International Rehabilitation's submission

to the Pepsi Refresh Project

Access to rehabilitative services and prostheses are lacking in many regions. Your vote will help the CIR continue to address the needs of amputees in these areas with its techniques to create and provide cost-effective prosthetics to amputees without access to rehabilitative care, allowing them to more fully participate in society.

You can place your vote by clicking the link below
Provide Cost-Effective Prosthetic Care
in Underserved Midwestern Areas

 or  texting
104494 to "Pepsi" (73774)

You can vote once a day from now until January 1, 2011.

Please vote today and everyday and help spread the word!

Thank you for your support!

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Call for Mobility Aid Donations
for Haiti
- March 2010

iCons in Medicine, under the auspices of its parent company the Center for International Rehabilitation, is seeking donations of Mobility Aids in the month of March, to support rehabilitation relief efforts in Haiti.

The needed mobility aids include Adult and Pediatric:

Crutches, Walkers & Wheelchairs

A specific quantity of each mobility aid type is needed
Please click here for details on devices needed and shipping information

Donations from individuals as well as bulk donations from
manufacturers and distributors will be accepted.

Please click on the appropriate link below to complete the form,
submit online and print to include in your shipment.


If you prefer to make a monetary donation towards the purchase
of Mobility Aids, please click the below link

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Join the “Best Buddies Illinois” Chicago Marathon or Half Marathon Team

– Registration is now open!

(The following information was provided to the CIR by Best Buddies Illinois)

February 8, 2010 - Are you, or someone you know, interested in running the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 10th or the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon on August 1st? Join Team Best Buddies, and do something great for yourself and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

You can do it – call today and we’ll get you to the finish line! Unsure? As a runner, you will…

…but there’s more.  Running with Best Buddies Illinois enables you to have the most optimal Chicago Marathon and Half Marathon experience possible.  Runners train for free, receive our weekly training and fundraising tips, set up their own websites, receive a dri-fit running shirt, a pre-race pasta dinner, win great prizes, and much more! The benefits of running with Team Best Buddies are endless. 

Call today and we’ll get you started!
Emilie Lewis
312.828.9313 ext. 18

For more information on this program, visit us on the web:

Chicago Marathon

Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

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Researcher for the International Disability Rights Monitor
is a Recipient of Human Rights Award in Finland

December, 2009 - Pirkko Mahlamäki, researcher for the Finland IDRM country report 2007, recently received a human rights award from the Finnish Federation of Human Rights (FFHR). She was this year’s recipient based on her long-standing and committed fight for the promotion of the rights of people with disabilities. Ms. Mahlamäki authored the IDRM country report for Finland, which was part of the IDRM European Regional Report, served as the secretary general of the Finnish Disability Forum, and worked as a disability expert and trainer on a number of projects focused on combating discrimination.

Founded in 1979, the FFHR pursues the work of the League for Human Rights established in 1935. Its principal objective is to monitor and improve the human rights situation in Finland. Since 2000, an annual award has been given to individuals who have worked tirelessly to promote the realization of human rights in everyday life.

The IDRM researchers and staff are pleased to congratulate Ms. Mahlamäki, and thank her for her ongoing efforts for the rights of people with disabilities.

Pirkko Mahlamäki, researcher for the Finland IDRM country report 2007

Read the Finnish Country Report
in the IDRM European Regional Report, 2007



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International Disability Rights Monitor Praises President Obama for Commitment to the Rights of People with Disabilities Worldwide

President Announces Intent to Sign United Nations Convention
on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Washington DC (July 24, 2009) – The International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM), a project committed to promoting the full inclusion and participation of people with disabilities worldwide in all aspects of life, today lauded President Barack Obama for announcing his intention to sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). President Obama made his historic announcement two days before the 19th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA), the landmark U.S. legislation prohibiting discrimination against people with disabilities that has afforded millions of Americans opportunities to participate as full members of their communities.

“Members of the IDRM team were intimately involved in the negotiations that led to the UN Convention,” said Mary Keogh, International Coordinator for the IDRM. “The United States did not participate in those negotiations, but has a great deal to contribute to this effort. We welcome U.S. engagement and salute President Obama for taking this important step.”

Dr. William Kennedy Smith, M.D., founder of the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR), the international nonprofit organization that launched the IDRM said, “This was the most rapidly-negotiated treaty, with the most first-day signatories, in United Nations history. By joining this treaty, the United States is embracing an important effort by the international community and regaining leadership in an arena where the United States has traditionally set the benchmark. President Obama deserves all the credit in the world for his initiative on this issue.”
The United States will join more than 100 countries that have signed the CRPD since it was adopted by the United Nations in December 2006.  The goal of the CRPD is to remove barriers and improve the standard of living and employment opportunities for approximately 650 million people with disabilities worldwide. 

These objectives align directly with IDRM’s mission to ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are respected and enforced through the use of international humanitarian law. The CIR, which is dedicated to helping those with disabilities achieve their full potential, has worked with other international disability organizations to develop the IDRM into a grassroots project that relies on researchers from around the world to document and assess the status of people living with disabilities and the ongoing human rights violations that often are part of their daily lives.

To date, IDRM, which was founded in 2001, has produced six reports including the International Disability Rights Compendium (2003) Regional Report of the Americas (2004); International Disability Rights: An Overview and Comparative Analysis of International and National Initiatives to Promote and Protect the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2005), Regional Report of Asia (2005); Disability and Early Tsunami Relief Efforts in India, Indonesia and Thailand (2005); and the Regional Report of Europe (2007). Not only do these reports provide information that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, the 2004 and 2005 reports contributed significantly to the passage of the CRPD.

“While the United States has come a long way since passing the ADA in 1990, there is still a great deal of work to be done to break down barriers so that every person with a disability can fully participate in society,” said Dr. Smith. “For years, the United States has been a leader in protecting the rights of people with disabilities. By signing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities treaty, our country can better advance this cause not only in our backyard, but around the world.”

For more information on IDRM, please visit www.idrmnet.org .


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USAID/Albania Selects the Center for International Rehabilitation to Provide Disability Training in Ireland:
A program to promote the rights of Albanians with disabilities
visits which will give an opportunity to observe the operation of disability services in Ireland.

Participants will have the benefit of the CIR’s years of advocacy experience and success. It has extensive pra

CHICAGO (February 25, 2008)— After a competitive selection process, The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)/Albania has selected the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) as the training provider for their FORECAST Third Country training. This training program will educate Albanian disability delegates on effective strategies to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in Albania’s mainstream society. The training will take place March 2 - 9, 2008 and will consist of intensive workshops and site visits that will take place in Ireland. Ireland is an ideal showcase for this program considering that over the past 15 years there have been many opportunites that have opened for people with disabilities regarding access to education, employment and services.

"The situation in Albania is the typical experience of many people with disabilities worldwide, lack of access to transport, assistance with community living means disabled people remain on the margins of society," says International Coordinator Mary Keogh. "This generous award will allow us to work with a group of disability advocates and government official in Albania to build expertise on strategies to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities."

The methodology to be used in the training will ensure maximum interaction between the participants and the presenters. Each day will balance direct input by experts (i.e. Disabled Persons Organization’s (DPOs), service providers and state institutions) with interactive site

ctice in the delivery and implementation of international training programs to a wide variety of groups. This experience includes: managing multiple international educational programs including the implementation and planning of more than 40 short-term rehabilitation workshops; working with world renowned Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern University and others to establish centers of excellence; developing and delivering an internationally recognized prosthetics training curriculum to students from developing countries; integrating follow-up and verification procedures to ensure a continuum of learning; and utilizing a tele-consultation application to connect specialty physicians with medical professionals in the field.

As a result of this training program, participants will be able to take away a toolkit of ideas they can use to develop effective disability-related programs in Albania.

The Center for International Rehabilitation, based in Chicago, is a not-for-profit Non-Governmental Organization that seeks to improve the lives of people with disabilities in countries affected by war by providing rehabilitation and training programs and mobility aides, and advocating for the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. For more information on the programs of the CIR, please visit our website at www.cirnetwork.org.

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Center for International Rehabilitation Chosen by Iraqi Ministry of Health to Train Country’s Medical Personnel in Care of War Wounded

World Bank subsidizes training sessions now underway in Bosnia of more than 100 Iraqis

CHICAGO (October 18, 2007)—The Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) and the Iraqi Ministry of Health have formed an alliance, funded by the World Bank, to provide medical training in Bosnia through December 2007 to 110 Iraqi physical therapists, rehabilitation center managers and hospital-based physicians who provide care to the civilian war wounded in Iraq. The CIR, the only US Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) working directly with the Iraqi Ministry of Health and World Bank to assist the Iraqi war wounded, is committed to improving care for those disabled by war.

“The Iraq war has taken a terrible toll on the country’s civilian population and left many people with significant disabilities,” said CIR president Dr. William Kennedy Smith. “As an organization founded to help people and counties rebuild after conflict, we are dedicated to working with Iraqi healthcare professionals and the ministry of Health to deliver the best possible care to the civilian war wounded in Iraq.  We feel it is important to do this. Important for the Iraqis and important as well as for ourselves and for our country.”

The program, which is part of the Ministry’s Emergency Disability Project (EDP) subsidized by the World Bank, combines academic course work with hands-on training. Course materials were developed in collaboration with professionals at the Northwestern University Department of Physical Therapy and the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Instruction is being provided by professionals affiliated with CIR and University Klinical Center (UKC) in Tuzla, Bosnia, which hosts the six training sessions. In all, 110 Iraqi medical professionals will receive comprehensive instruction by the end of the year. The CIR and UKC, which previously worked together to help rehabilitate victims of the Balkans war in the 1990s, covered all travel, lodging, food and session costs for the Iraqis.

Courses include the following:
•    Three four-week sessions for 70 physical therapists focusing on amputee, neurologic, pediatric and general rehabilitation. (September through October)
•    One two-week training session for 20 rehabilitation center managers in community-based rehabilitation; health systems (politics, economics, financing), change management; human resource management; planning and needs assessment; integrative leadership; and standard operating procedures. (October)
•    Two two-week sessions for 20 hospital-based physicians on specialized content areas of rehabilitation including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, amputee and medical rehabilitation. (November through December)

Goals of the Iraqi Ministry of Health’s Emergency Disability Project (EDP) include improving services at 14 Iraqi rehabilitation centers, fostering legal protections and creating a social framework of inclusion for people with disabilities. The EDP program, which calls for strengthening partnerships with NGOs, is subsidized by the World Bank, an essential source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world.

The Center for International Rehabilitation, based in Chicago, is a not-for-profit Non-Governmental Organization that seeks to improve the lives of people with disabilities in countries affected by war by providing rehabilitation and training programs and mobility aides, and advocating for the rights of people with disabilities worldwide. For more information on the programs of the CIR, please visit our website at www.cirnetwork.org.

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Left to right, Dr. William K. Smith, Dr. Jay H. Sanders and Dr. Ronald C. Merrell.

Humanitarian Relief through International Telemedicine — Information Technology to Build Global Bridges in Medicine

A continuing medical education event sponsored by the Center for International Rehabilitation and the Chicago Medical Society

On September, 8, 2007, more than 100 physicians and medical students gathered at Northwestern University’s scenic Chicago campus to attend a continuing medical education (CME) event hosted by the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR) and the Chicago Medical Society.

The three-hour event, moderated by the Chicago Medical Society President Dr. Saroja Bharati focused on humanitarian relief through international telemedicine. Speaking on this subject were three experts well versed in the area: Dr. Jay H. Sanders, President and CEO of the Global Telemedicine Group, Dr. Ronald C. Merrell from Virginia Commonwealth University and Dr. William K. Smith of the CIR.

Dr. Sanders started off the session with his presentation “Where We Are and Where We Need to Be.” He walked the audience through the portfolio of medical technologies and applications that are now in use or in testing, and then examined how information and computer technologies are transforming where the examination room of tomorrow will be. Following Dr. Sanders was Dr. Merrell’s talk “International Telemedicine for Humanitarian Goals.” Dr. Merrell addressed the scope of international and humanitarian medical need and the potential of current technology and resources for international relief. Dr. Merrell also highlighted the accomplishments of telemedicine and e-health for humanitarian purposes, and introduced future trends for telemedicine in the humanitarian sector.

Both Doctors Sanders’ and Merrell’s presentations were the perfect lead-in to the final presentation given by Dr. Smith, which introduced the CIR’s new International Consultants in Medicine (iCon) program. The presentation titled, “A Volunteer Driven, Next Generation, Knowledge Network: Toward a Paradigm Shift in Global Telehealth and Humanitarian Medicine,” outlined the program’s step-by-step process, which brings together volunteers in the medical community to provide online consultation and clinical decision-making support to primary care doctors in medically underserved areas.

The audience remained engaged throughout the presentations and participated in the closing panel discussion.

To learn more about the iCons in Medicine program, please visit: www.iconsinmed.org

The audience.

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