Rusk, Howard A.

Rusk, Howard A. (Archibald)

(1903–89) physician, author; born in Brookfield, Mo. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School in only two years, he joined the medical faculty at Washington University (1929–42) and commenced what would be his lifelong career, rehabilitating disabled patients. In World War II he enlisted in the U.S. Army and continued his rehabilitation work at the Jefferson Barracks hospital in Missouri. He focused on the patient's needs after "the stitches are out and the fever is down." For soldiers severely disabled by war this meant taking "them back into the best lives they can live with what they have left" through occupational, physical, and other therapies. At New York University in 1946, he started the first comprehensive rehabilitation program in the world; in 1948 it became the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine (now the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine). During the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Rusk helped South Koreans, from whom he got his nickname "Dr. Live-Again," and the South Vietnamese. A columnist for the New York Times (1948–69), he also wrote A World to Care For (1972), his autobiography.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.