David M. Brienza, PhD

Dr. Brienza is Director of the RERC on Telerehabilitation and task leader on R4 Telerehabilitation for self-management of chronic edema/lymphedema in individuals with mobility limitations. He is a Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology with secondary professorial appointments in the department of Bioengineering and the McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine. Dr. Brienza received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 1986, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Virginia in 1988 and 1991, respectively. From 1987 to 1991 he worked as a research assistant at the REC on Wheeled Mobility at the University of Virginia. In 1991 he joined the faculty at Pitt. Dr. Brienza has been working in the fields of wheelchair R&D, pressure ulcer prevention, and seat cushion and support surface R&D since 1987. He has made significant contributions in the areas of cushion design, standard test methods, and soft tissue biomechanics. He has consulted for several companies developing seat cushions and support surfaces, and serves as a consultant to the SADMERC for seat cushion and wheelchair coding policy. His research and development experience includes being principle investigator of two NIH R01 grants, several NIH SBIR grants, an NIDRR FIR grant, and a PVA grant among others. Within the RERC structure, he has served in numerous roles including student researcher, co-investigator, task leader, Co-Director and Director.  Dr. Brienza currently serves as Director of the RERCs on Telerehabilitation and Spinal Cord Injury.  He is the former Director of the RERC on Wheeled Mobility.

As an electrical engineer, Dr. Brienza has extensive formal training in telecommunications technology (signal and image processing and coding methodologies). He has applied this knowledge initially in 1986 when he worked for the National Security Agency (NSA) as an electronics engineer. Dr. Brienza’s interest in telerehabilitation began in the early to mid 1990’s when he assisted Nigel Shapcott and Mark Schmeler at Pitt’s Center for Assistive Technology implement its first remote evaluation capability. In 1998, Dr. Brienza led an effort to develop an RERC proposal on telerehabilitation. The VA through the Department’s Human Engineering Research Lab eventually funded much of the work proposed in the 1998 RERC proposal.

Dr. Brienza has chaired the RESNA special interest group on seating and mobility and was selected Fellow of RESNA in 2007.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), where he is currently Chair of the NPUAP Research Committee. Dr. Brienza played a major role in the initiation of NPUAP’s Support Surface Standards Initiative to develop standards for support surfaces (e.g., beds, mattress replacement systems). Dr. Brienza currently serves as Chair for the Working Group on Tissue Integrity. He has also served as vice-chair of the RESNA Wheelchair Standards sub-committee on seat cushions, and, is currently a member of the RESNA Board of Directors. Dr. Brienza’s professional services also include activities on several editorial boards for prominent journals, and in extramural funding peer review for NIDRR, NIH, PVA, EPVA, NSF, and Dept. of Commerce. Dr. Brienza is appointed as Adjunct Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, China.

In 2000, Dr. Brienza founded Dynamic Contours, LLC, a small business devoted to the development of wheeled mobility and seating products. Dynamic Contours, LLC continues operation under new ownership with three successful SBIR funded projects, a wheelchair input device, a wheelchair seat cushion, and a device for characterizing soft tissue mechanical properties.







Journal of Telerehabilitation


D3 video screen on YouTube

TeleWellness: Interactive Mobile Health and Rehabilitation



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