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Trusted mentor accepts association’s top accolade

Associate professor works with spinal cord injuries and stroke patients

by Beth Newcomb

Lucinda Baker, associate professor in the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy at the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, has received the highest accolade handed out by the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation.

The Amistad Award recognizes an individual who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to serving Rancho Los Amigos and its patients. The Rancho Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support research, education, equipment and patient care at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.

We are all inspired by her.

James Gordon

Since the late 1970s, Baker has conducted research at Rancho Los Amigos within the Rehabilitation Engineering Center. Her research focuses on electrical stimulation for wound healing for patients with spinal cord injury and diabetes, as well as rehabilitation of sensory and motor deficits for patients with stroke and traumatic brain injury.

She is a primary voice on electrical stimulation, publishing many scientific articles and, along with co-authors from Rancho Los Amigos, writing a book on the subject, NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation — A Practical Guide.

Associate professor Lucinda Baker

Lucinda Baker (Photo/Martin Zamora)

Baker has earned a reputation as a trusted mentor to many clinicians at Rancho Los Amigos. She advises therapists in the speech and communication disorders, physical therapy and occupational therapy departments on using electrical stimulation in rehabilitation. Last year, she was honored with the Rancho Lifetime Achievement Award.

“Her research has directly benefitted Rancho patients both as participants in her studies and as recipients of improved patient care influenced by her research results and her long-standing commitment to teaching and mentoring Rancho’s therapists,” said Sara Mulroy, director of the Pathokinesiology Laboratory at Rancho.

A balanced approach to patient care

Associate Dean James Gordon praised Baker for her long history of science and service at both USC and Rancho.

“She is an extraordinary individual, and we are all inspired by her,” Gordon said. “She is a very giving, service-oriented person. We’re thrilled that Rancho is recognizing her in this way.”

Baker said maintaining close relationships with USC and Rancho has enriched her career, providing her with valuable mentorship, research and clinical opportunities.

“Being recognized as a ‘Friend of the Ranch of Friends’ is very special. It has been my privilege to be able to work with several therapies at Rancho; not just the physical therapy department, but also with the occupational therapists and the speech and language pathologists,” Baker said. “This has provided me with a very balanced approach to patient care and an awareness of many patient needs for their restoration to life and physical activity. Being encouraged to continue my research, consultations and treatments at Rancho while actively teaching at USC has enhanced both of these contacts.”

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