Rehabilitation Engineering

Rehabilitation Engineering

Division of Rehabilitation Engineering

The Division of Rehabilitation Engineering has been providing patient services at the University of Virginia since 1985. Initially created to provide a clinical link for the rehabilitation engineering research and postgraduate training programs at the University of Virginia, the Division has evolved into a comprehensive rehabilitation engineering and assistive technology design program within the Musculoskeletal Service Center. The Division provides rehabilitation engineering services to individuals of all ages, with all disabilities, and with a
spectrum of assistive device needs.


Over the years, the Division has become a recognized leader in the provision of advanced seating systems for individuals with severe disabilities. The Division specializes in the design and fitting of custom contoured seating systems to decrease the risk of pressure ulcers, decrease the risk of musculoskeletal deformities, or increase sitting stability for functional pursuits. As an example, the Division uses proprietary CAD-CAM technology to create custom carved cushions. These have seat and back cushions carved specifically for the patient. The patient is usually more comfortable in the custom carved cushions.
More importantly, the cushions provide the support needed to control
strong extensor tone.

While the custom carved cushions successfully support the seated postures of children, they excel in providing pressure relief for individuals at high risk of developing pressure ulcers. Simply stated, the custom carved cushions provided by the Division offer unparalleled pressure relief. This is crucial for individuals who have a history of chronic, recurrent pressure ulcers and associated surgical repairs. Working with the rehabilitation and wound-care specialists of the University of Virginia Health System, the Division is able to offer services that cannot be found elsewhere.

Specialized seating services are not the only services offered by the Division of Rehabilitation Engineering. The Division also provides rehabilitation engineering services to public school systems to enhance the educational opportunities for children with disabilities, offers vocational and ergonomic evaluations to enhance the employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities, and supports the rehabilitation team in the design of custom assistive devices to meet the daily living needs of individuals with disabilities.

The Division of Rehabilitation Engineering is staffed by Licensed Professional Engineers holding advanced degrees in biomedical engineering. As such, it is the only rehabilitation engineering service program in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and one of only a few select service programs nationwide, with that distinction. In addition, the engineers have extensive experience in service delivery, education, and research related to assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering. When it comes to the design of assistive devices for individuals with disabilities, these are the credentials needed for safe and effective design.

For more information about the Division of Rehabilitation Engineering, or the services it provides, contact: Jonathon Z. Schuch, M.Eng., P.E. 434-982-3845