Rehabilitation Science and Technology
Dr. Elizabeth Brokaw is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently working with Dr. Bambi Brewer on home therapy for patients with chronic stroke. Elizabeth received a BS in Biological Resources Engineering from the University of Maryland in 2008. She received a MS. in 2009 and PhD. in 2012 in Biomedical Engineering from The Catholic University of America in Washington DC, where she worked with Dr. Peter Lum. Her work was conducted out of the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) and focused on the functional recovery of the upper extremity after stroke. She created a robotic therapy program for the ARMin III exoskeleton robot and trained chronic stroke patients with the system. The novel program focused on teaching normal arm kinematics during functional tasks, based on research suggesting that the loss of arm joint coordination limits functional recovery after stroke. She also created an orthotic for hand rehabilitation. This device, Hand Spring Operated Movement Enhancer (HandSOME), has shown great potential for improving the quality of life of people with hypertonia in their finger flexors as a result of stroke. The HandSOME device is currently being developed for market by Hokoma in Zurich, Switzerland.
In her new position at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. Brokaw will be focusing on upper extremity home therapeutic training for individuals post-stroke. The training program will involve the completion of functional and game activities using the Kinect, and the AcceleGove or, for patients with lower level of hand function, the HandSOME device.