Life in Action Editor’s Note: Consumer Power

Ian Ruder, Editor, Life in Action

Ian Ruder, Editor, Life in Action

As this issue hits your mail boxes, the staff of NSCIA and United Spinal — and a good number of members — will be gearing up for the second annual Roll on Capitol Hill, Jun. 16-19. After last year’s success, the excitement levels in anticipation of this year’s event are off the charts. While that alone would be enough to spark optimism about the present and future of our organization, I see plenty of other compelling reasons to be excited.

Our continuing efforts to stand up for consumers with spinal cord injuries are resonating louder and louder in the medical supply industry and with Congress. This year, for the first time ever, the exhibit hall at the wheelchair industry’s biggest get together, the International Seating Symposium, was open to consumers. As if that wasn’t enough, our president, Paul Tobin, delivered the keynote speech, focusing on empowering consumers.

Under the same roof, UsersFirst, a program of United Spinal, was amplifying that message and cementing its place at the center of the consumer movement. Over 300 people got a glimpse of the future of wheelchair technology at The Wheelchair User Experience, and more companies signed on to take advantage of some of the unique connections a consumer-oriented program like UsersFirst can offer. “Seeing the successful consumer turnout and sound support from clinicians and the wheelchair industry is empowering and motivating for all stakeholders,” says Ann Eubank, United Spinal’s vice president for community initiatives. “It was awesome.”

On top of all that, United Spinal’s policy team is continuing to fight for access in key battles across the country. I’m looking forward to covering all of these goings-on in Life in Action as they develop, and I hope you will keep chiming in and sharing your thoughts and ideas so this magazine can remain as exciting as the organization it represents.