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David Gray Blazed Trails in Disability Research











The field of Independent Living lost a leader on Feb. 12, 2015 when David Gray, Ph.D., died at his home in St. Louis. The following tribute is written by RTC/IL Director Glen White, Ph.D.

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Dr. David B. Gray, Professor in Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis, has been a research partner with the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas for more than 10 years. 

Dr. Gray was a pioneer in the field of Disability and Rehabilitation research and a tireless advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.  He was an insightful teacher and wonderful mentor to the students who were fortunate enough to be able to work with him.

Dr. Gray blazed the trail of disability research in many ways.  He was the first person with a disability to head the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (called National Institute of Handicapped Research back then, before he helped change the name).  He went on to NIH where he helped to establish the National Center for Medical and Rehabilitation Research.  He was always the consummate researcher who used science to identify solutions to socially relevant problems, and apply the results to improve the lives of people with disabilities. 

Most of all, David Gray was a friend and trusted colleague who worked tirelessly to make the world a better place.  We will miss his keen intellect, his boundless energy, his innovative ideas and his sense of humor.  His untimely departure from this life will leave a vacuum that will not be easily filled, if at all.  Well done, good and faithful servant.

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