“My Last Step Backwards”

Tasha Schuh

After a tragic theater accident left Tasha paralyzed from the chest down, Tasha has discovered invaluable lessons that resonate with audiences of all demographics. Since 2007, she has been traveling across the country inspiring and challenging thousands of listeners to overcome and persevere, no matter what life throws at them.

Tasha is the former Ms. Wheelchair USA (2012-13), and received the National Rehabilitation Champion Award in 2012, having been nominated by the Mayo Clinic. She has twice been recognized by the Wisconsin State Legislature for her remarkable inspiration to others. In 2014, she received the Young Distinguished Alumni Award from Winona State University and in 2016 was awarded the Falconer Distinguished Service Award from the Wisconsin Governor’s Committee for people with Disabilities.

For more information about Tasha’s journey, click here.

Distinguished Speakers and Panelists

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Beth Baker, MD, MPH, FACOEM

Dr. Baker is board certified in Occupational Medicine and Internal Medicine. She is a medical consultant at SFM- The Work Comp Experts and Minnesota Counties Intergovernmental Trust.

Dr. Baker was a staff physician at HealthPartners Occupational Medicine Residency for 18 years and was a prior residency director. She is president and founder of Medical and Toxicology Consulting Services, Ltd., and has served as a consultant for SFM, 3M, Canadian Pacific Railway, University of Minnesota Employee Health Services, Minnesota Department of Health, and Fairview Employee Health Services. She is the current chair of the Medical Services Review Board for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry.  She is also Vice President of the American College of Occupational Medicine and is on the Board of Directors for the American Board of Preventive Medicine. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota.

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Heather Bell, MD

Dr. Bell began her family medicine practice in rural MN in 2012. With her visionary leadership, Dr. Bell has been influential in redesigning the primary care delivery model across the clinic by adopting whole person centered care leading the clinic in earning recognition by the state of Minnesota as a Medical Home. As opioid use and related issues became increasingly apparent, Dr. Bell identified that the whole-person care approach was most appropriate for re-engineering the approaches to care of this population. Her leadership and perseverance are transforming the clinic practice, demonstrating success in both cost savings and patient care outcomes. Dr. Bell, with her colleague Dr. DeVine, in partnership with the MN Department of Human Services, have launched the first MN ECHO program (videoconferencing education platform).  Through this program and funding they have been able to educate and mentor others on appropriate opioid prescribing and encouraging rural buprenorphine treatment.

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Judith Burnfield, PhD., PT

Dr.Burnfield is Director of the Institute for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering, Director of the Movement and Neurosciences Center, and the Clifton Chair in Physical Therapy and Movement Sciences at Madonna Rehabilitation Hospitals. Dr. Burnfield earned her physical therapy degree from the State University of New York (Buffalo, New York, USA), her Ph.D. in Biokinesiology from the University of Southern California (Los Angeles, California, USA), and completed her post doctoral training at the Pathokinesiology Laboratory at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center (Downey, California, USA). Dr. Burnfield publishes and presents extensively in areas relevant to the promotion of functional independence, cardiorespiratory fitness, and long-term health and wellbeing of individuals with disabilities and chronic conditions emerging from neurologic and orthopedic injuries and illnesses. Her work has led to the creation of patented technologies now being used worldwide in rehabilitation, fitness, and home settings. She also co-authored the book, Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function, used in many physical therapy, orthotics, prosthetics, and physical medicine and rehabilitation programs.  

Brian T. Carlsen, MD

Dr. Carlsen is a reconstructive microsurgeon and hand surgeon at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. He is an Associate Professor and Consultant of Plastic and Orthopedic Surgery.  He is interested in upper and lower limb reconstruction after severe trauma or amputation, including replantation of amputated parts, toe transfer for hand function, targeted muscle reinnervation for improved prosthetic control, and hand transplantation.

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Kurt Devine, MD

Dr. Devine has been a full spectrum family medicine physician for more than 26 years. As a practicing physician in Rural Minnesota, he has faced many unique challenges caring for patients in the primary care setting amid evolving care delivery models demanding forward-thinking and creative strategies for change.  As opioid use and its attributing issues became increasingly apparent, he became more engaged and involved with the local community task force assembled to address concerns of opioid use and dependency within the county. His leadership has enabled grant funding to be put to practical use, demonstrating positive outcomes both financially and from a patient care perspective. During this time, Dr. DeVine added buprenorphine to his primary care practice, to improve rural access to treatment from opioid use disorder. Through legislative funding and grant procurement, Dr. DeVine and his colleague Dr. Heather Bell initiated Minnesota’s first ECHO educational program and a pilot project to replicate their system to reduce and monitor opioid prescribing in a rural clinic setting.

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Mitch Freeman, PharmD

Dr. Freeman is the Chief Clinical Officer for Mitchell International, Pharmacy Solutions. Prior to joining Mitchell, Freeman was the CEO of First Coast Health. He has a wealth of industry expertise and leadership in the workers’ compensation industry including the chief sales and marketing officer at PMSI, vice president of sales at Ameritox, vice president and general manager at ExpressScripts, and president of pharmacy services at MSC. Freeman is a frequent guest speaker and author. Freeman is a graduate of Florida A&M University where he received his doctorate of pharmacy.

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Mark E. Gormley, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Gormley is a pediatric rehabilitation medicine physician at Gillette. He treats children and adolescents who have cerebral palsy, brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, neuromuscular disorders, and other conditions, with a special interest in spasticity management. He joined Gillette in 1993. 

Dr. Gormley received his medical degree at the University of Louisville School of Medicine in Louisville, Ky.  He completed his residency in physical medicine and rehabilitation at Tufts Affiliated Hospitals in Boston, and completed a fellowship in pediatric rehabilitation medicine and traumatic brain injury at the University of Michigan Medical Center.  

Dr. Gormley is board-certified in pediatric physical medicine and rehabilitation. His professional memberships include the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the Association of Academic Physiatrists and the Association of Children's Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics.

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Kate Harri, MA LP

Kate is a Licensed Psychologist with over 30 years of experience in the mental health field and with employers and workers’ compensation and disability carriers. Working now for the past 20 years in the disability and worker’s compensation arena in both the US and Canada, she developed effective products for motivational interviewing, case management and addressing accommodations for return to work, and return to work coaching. She has also developed successful interventions for recovery from traumatic work incidents.

Publications include understanding and addressing mental health concerns in the business environment, effective supervision, and best practice treatment and recovery to facilitate return to work. Her focus is on collaboration with all parties, with appropriate application of strategies and interventions designed to improve the lives of individuals impacted by mental illness, facilitating recovery and return to work.

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Kerry Maher, PT, MD

Dr. Kerry Maher is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr Maher also has an undergraduate degree in Physical Therapy. She currently serves as the V.P. of PM&R Consulting & Physician Relations and the Medical Director of Admissions for Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, Brooks Skilled Nursing and Brooks Home Health. She has presented at multiple local, regional and national conferences regarding TBI and post-Acute Care. Dr. Maher earned her P.T. and M.D. at the Medical College of Georgia and she completed her residency in PM&R at Northwestern University and the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

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Sunil Kothari, M.D.

Dr. Kothari is the Medical Director of the Disorders of Consciousness Program at TIRR Memorial Herman as well as an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine.

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Robert McIver, PT, DPT, NCS

Dr. McIver has 15 years experience in the orthopedic and neurologic fields.  He is a Board Certified Neurologic Specialist and is well versed in advanced rehabilitation technologies application, development, and implementation.  Dr. McIver is currently the Director of Rehabilitation Technology and Wellness Programming at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, Jacksonville, FL.  Prior to moving into the director position, Dr. McIver was manager of the Neuro-Recovery Center at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital where he trained clinician and students on advanced rehab equipment such as FES cycles, ARMEO Spring, upper extremity Bioness, etc.  Dr. McIver has spoken extensively on various rehabilitation topics including the evolution of the exoskeleton and new advanced in spinal cord injury technology.  Dr. McIver obtained his Doctor of Physical Therapy from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, St. Augustine, FL; and his Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Delaware, Newark, DE. 

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Mark S. Nash, Ph.D., FACSM

Dr. Nash is a tenured Professor of Neurological Surgery and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Principal Investigator of the Applied Physiology Research Laboratory for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, and Director of Research in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. He is a Fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Nash has primary interests in assessment/treatment of cardiometabolic disease risks after SCI. He has published more than 125 peer-review articles, scholarly monographs, and book chapters on these themes and related topics within rehabilitation physiology.

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Jennifer Peterson, MA, PT

Jennifer Peterson graduated summa cum laude from The College of St. Scholastica with a Bachelor of Arts in Health Science and a Master of Arts in Physical Therapy. She has specialized in upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation since 2010 at Arm Dynamics.  She is a certified Parent Peer Visitor for the Amputee Coalition, a member of the Upper Limb Society of the AAOP and on the Leadership Committee for the Little Fins Limb Difference Family Support Group. Jennifer frequently presents to medical professionals and students on upper limb prosthetic rehabilitation, reviews articles for the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and has been published in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Journal of Hand Therapy,  the ACPOC News, and the Amputee Coalition InMotion magazine and First Step: A Guide for Adapting to Limb Loss.

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Mark Pew

Mark Pew, senior vice president of product development and marketing for Preferred Medical, is a passionate educator and agitator. Known as the RxProfessor, Mark is focused on the intersection of chronic pain and appropriate treatment, particularly as it relates to the clinical and financial implications of opioids, benzodiazepines and other prescription painkillers, along with the evolution of medical marijuana. He is a strong champion for the workers' compensation industry to #CleanUpTheMess, a movement he created to drive attention to the importance of individualized appropriate treatment for injured workers. Mark is a vocal advocate of the BioPsychoSocialSpiritual treatment model.

With more than 35 years of experience in property and casualty, healthcare and technology, Mark has been the mastermind behind solutions that transform the way the workers' compensation industry navigates utilization management and treatment, particularly in the area of opioids and other potentially high-risk medications.

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Patrick Prigge, CP, LP, FAAOP(D)

Pat is the clinical manager of Arm Dynamics’ (AD) North Central Center of Excellence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has been an upper limb specialist with AD since July 2008.  Previously, Mr. Prigge was the director of prosthetics education for Otto Bock HealthCare in Minneapolis. In that capacity he developed and led a team of prosthetists and occupational therapists in providing education to practitioners and patients on how to improve the use of advanced prosthetic technologies. He was also involved with Otto Bock product development. Earlier in his career, he was a clinical prosthetist with Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, and at Gillette Children’s Hospital.  He has been presenting nationally and internationally for the past 18 years and is published in the Journal of Hand Therapy.  He is a Fellow with Distinction of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists - FAAOP(D), immediate past Chair of the AAOP Upper-Limb Prosthetics Society, and an American Board for Certification certified prosthetist.