Board of Trustees


Mary Ellen Buning, PhD, OTR/L, ATP/SMS, RESNA Fellow


Mary Ellen Buning is an occupational therapist who has specialized in assistive technology as a seating and mobility specialist. Dr. Buning has now retired from her position as assistant professor in the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Louisville and senior researcher at the Human Locomotion Research Center at Frazier Rehab Institute. In Louisville, she developed an Assistive Technology Resource Center (ATRC) to serve Frazier Rehab and Neuroscience Institute. This program supports the translational research goals of the Frazier Spinal Cord Medicine and the Neuroscience Collaborative Center within the Department of Neurological Surgery. The ATRC provides evidence-based evaluation and treatment for individuals needing wheelchairs and specialized seating, alternative, augmentative communication and adaptive computer access and control of the environment. In this role, she also directed the clinical aspects of the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology graduate certificate within the Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville.

Dr. Buning has a strong interest in information technology and during her doctoral work developed WheelchairNet, a virtual community on wheeled mobility. She investigated the use of WheelchairNet as a decision-making support when individuals are preparing to acquire new wheelchairs. She is an experienced educator and presenter and has a strong commitment to the use of the Internet and telecommunications to improve practice, conduct survey research, and disseminate research findings. She is particularly interested in wheelchair transportation safety for those who must sit in wheelchairs during motor vehicle travel. She has studied the impact of WC19-compliant wheelchairs on the safety of students riding in school buses.

Dr. Buning is President-elect of RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America and will begin her tenure as President of the Board of Directors in August 2018.  She is credentialed as an Assistive Technology Practitioner (ATP) and has been active in AOTA’s Technology Special Interest Section.



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