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UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower

January 28, 2021

Gwendolyn Sowa, MD, PhD, director of Pittsburgh’s nationally recognized UPMC Rehabilitation Institute, shares the vision behind this transformational and highly anticipated facility.

Global Model of Excellence

Vision and Rehabilitation Tower RenderingUPMC Mercy is home to the UPMC Rehabilitation Institute’s Centers of Excellence in stroke rehabilitation, spinal cord injury, and brain injury. And in 2022, UPMC Mercy will house a unique facility, the UPMC Vision and Rehabilitation Tower. 

Our goal is to create a global model of excellence in rehabilitation and ophthalmic research and care — a first-of-its-kind outpatient facility dedicated to the rapid translation of basic science research to clinical care. By expediting bench-to-bedside treatments, our patients will receive cutting-edge therapies unavailable anywhere else — and learn to function in a state-of-the-art facility featuring “real life” indoor and outdoor simulated settings.

Interdisciplinary Team of Experts

UPMC will combine highly interdisciplinary teams of clinicians and researchers, fostering an unprecedented environment of collaboration that is focused on function, regardless of a patient’s specific impairment — be it visual or neurological. Notably, we are introducing a new design concept enabling physicians, nurses, and rehab therapists to provide truly team-based care — and giving researchers a first-hand, on-site view of the daily challenges clinicians face. Through collaboration and immediate feedback made possible through this new facility, we can ensure that research innovations truly address the critical needs of our patients.

Pioneering Treatments

UPMC will be an incubator for industry partners, providing a platform to showcase and test latest technologies. We’ll be pioneering the healing power of biology and engineering through regenerative rehabilitation, robotics-assisted therapies, and personalized exercise-based approaches to help our patients regain function as they recover.