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RESNA readies new exam, applauds funding opportunity

RESNA readies new exam, applauds funding opportunity

Andrea Van HookWASHINGTON – The exam for RESNA’s seating and mobility specialist (SMS) certification went on hiatus on Nov. 1 in preparation for a new exam to debut in February. 

A group of volunteer subject matter experts has been working for the past two years to update the SMS exam by, among other things, conducting a job analysis, says Andrea Van Hook, executive director of RESNA. 

“The exam isn’t necessarily about new technology,” she said. “It’s more about the process of service delivery and doing the assessment and evaluation. So, it’s not like it goes out of date, but definitely for seating and mobility, with power wheelchairs, you’ve got a lot more in terms of assessment and intervention that you need to think about.” 

When the new SMS exam gets back online in February, RESNA will offer a discount to the first cohort of applicants, who will have to wait longer to receive their scores while the organization validates the exam. 

There are about 226 seating and mobility specialists in the United States and Canada, Van Hook says. 

New emphasis on research 

RESNA, which has a contingent of researchers as part of its leadership, applauds a recent decision by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), which is part of the National Institutes of Health, to designate people with disabilities as a population with health disparities. 

“Research is a very important part of our organization,” Van Hook said. “We work with all the universities that receive funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and this potentially opens up big opportunities in research funding.”  

The designation allows NIH funding to go toward projects that include a focus on disability health disparities and enhance clinical research by incentivizing the recruitment of both researchers and clinical research participants with disabilities. 

Following the new designation, the NIMHD released a Notice of Funding Opportunity focused on the intersection of disabilities, race and ethnicity, and socioeconomic status in persons with developmental and physical disabilities.


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