Online Program

Enhancing the lives of those who are disabled with high-tech low-cost medical devices

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Hilary Rees, MPH, CPH, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
David Dawley, MPH, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Burris Duncan, MD, Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Tracy L. Carroll, PT, MPH, Department of Family and Community Medicine - College of Medicine, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Francisco Trujillo, ARSOBO, Nogales Sonora, Mexico
Norma Orozco, ARSOBO, Tucson, AZ
Objective: To assist in alleviating physical, psychological, and economical barriers faced by individuals with disabilities by providing high‐tech, low‐cost medical devices that minimize their disability. Vision: Phase 1 creates a shop that constructs wheelchairs designed for rough terrain. Phase 2 creates a high-tech, low cost hearing aids with solar-powered battery rechargers. Phase 3 develops the expertise and capacity to build prosthetics and orthotics. Philosophy: The bottom line is social good not financial gain (non-profit). Individuals with limitations will be hired to construct the devices that they use or need and a small fee will be charged for the devices to ensure the pride of ownership and based on what the family can afford (subsidies pay the rest). Description: Surveys and interviews determined the needs of those with disabilities. Partnerships were built within local cross-border organizations to help obtain commitments to subsidies, secure space to house all projects, secure funds to implement projects, and continue operations until self-sufficient. Medical devices were marketed targeting rural, tribal, and other communities lacking adequate terrain for conventional wheelchairs. Delivery: CECATI #118 vocational school in Nogales, Sonora provides free space and utilities. The non-profit shop, employing two wheelchair riding technicians, opened January, 2011 and can produce 15 chairs per month. Each chair is custom-fit to the rider and sold at cost, with commitments for subsidies obtained from DIF (Desarrollo-Integral-de-La-Familia), a Mexican social service agency. The hearing aid project will open February 2013. Grants are being developed to secure funds to begin the prosthetic shop.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe how each of the three assistive devices lessens the disability. Compare the essential differences between a conventional wheelchair and the RoughRider. Explain why it is important to provide the appropriate wheelchair for individuals in resource-limited areas. Discuss the importance of having individuals who need or use the assistive medical devices construct them.

Keyword(s): Disability, Medical Devices

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have assisted with the design and implementation of the all-terrain wheelchair construction shop. I have also presented at two other conferences on the medical devices being discussed.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.