AAPM&R Annual Assembly

Meet Team Physiatry's Plenary Speakers 

Annual Assembly

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No other PM&R conference brings together high-profile thought leaders who’ve made significant and enduring contributions in both their respective fields and throughout the world.  

Dr. Gittler and Bolte Taylor

Presidential Address and Plenary Keynote—Michelle S. Gittler, MD, FAAPMR and Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD

AAPM&R President Michelle S. Gittler, MD, FAAPMR, officially launched #AAPMR20, welcomed attendees and toasted to PM&R! Use Dr. Gittler's special recipe to make your own cocktail or mocktail!

Then Dr. Gittler and Jill Bolte Taylor, PhD, a Harvard-trained and published neuroanatomist, participated in a fire-side chat about Dr. Taylor’s inspiring journey.

In 1996, a blood vessel exploded in the left half of her brain. Over the course of 4 hours, Dr. Taylor watched her mind completely deteriorate, until she could not walk, talk, read, write or recall any of her life. It took 8 years for her to completely recover all function.

In 2008, Dr. Taylor gave the first TED talk that ever went viral, she was the premier guest on Oprah’s Soul Series, and she was named one as of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2008. In 2020, Dr. Taylor will publish book #2 about insights into whole brain living, and she is committed to educating the public about neuroplasticity and the ability of the brain to recover from stroke or brain trauma.  

Will Waller_cropped

52nd Walter J. Zeiter Lecture and Awards Video Presentation—Will Waller 

Will Waller is the CEO of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA). After a 20-year career in human resources at three Global, Fortune 150 companies, he has performed a variety of global business partner roles, as well as led large scale change initiatives.

In 1992, a bullet pierced Will’s spine and kidney in a gang-related shooting. He suffered a mixed conus cauda equina injury to his lower back, which left him with some sensation feeling and slight movement, as well as other functionality. As a result, Will has chronic leg pain, and eventually, his kidney had to be removed. In helping him through his physical and emotional challenges, one of his doctors at the Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital eventually persuaded him to apply to junior college.

He eventually joined the Cleveland Wheelchair Cavaliers and performed at the highest level for team USA, having won two Paralympic Bronze Medals and two World Championships. The NWBA leadership role has allowed Will to leverage his blend of business and sporting.

Prior to Will's presentation was our AAPM&R Awards Video Presentation! Our 2020 award winners were recognized for their significant contributions to both the specialty and to people with disabilities.