The Inspiration of Possibility
Speech by Mark Felling, MN Capital Rotunda, April 9 2:00 PM
[Positive Message = POSSIBILITY. Theme = Unify Care vs. Cure, emphasize there is no such thing as cure, only continuum of care.]
Rehabilitation is about continuous lifelong quest for improvement to quality of life after trauma at any point during the human lifetime from DNA till death. Rehabilitation must leverage whatever techniques, methodologies, or technologies provide greatest possibility towards functional, measurable, and sustainable results. Rehabilitation is not exclusive to medical care, surgical intervention, biotech implants, orthotics and prosthetics, pharmacology, community living supports, vocational or recreational community integration programming, or even my own field of assistive technology; nor research in ANY of these fields. Rehabilitative success requires intensive interaction and collaboration between all of these parties; both public and private, corporations, nonprofits and government, because life and its unpredictability intimately affects EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US during our lives, some more intimately, others through family and friends.
Rehabilitation is not a linear process. Rehabilitation does not start at step A and end at step D or E. As much as we would all prefer this level of simplicity, it is an unrealistic pipe dream and anything built on that assumption is little more than wishful thinking. Rehabilitation needs to follow a more modern concept of a mesh network. A concept made popular by the Internet. A spider web of intersections making it possible to reach any point on that mesh by thousands of different routes and detours without singular dependency on any one path. Only thinking about rehabilitation in this way will provide the greatest possibility for maximum results for each unique individual.
We are here today not talk about exclusives. We must strike the OR convention from our minds and adopt one of HOW. The question is not yes or no. The question is WHICH next? The question is not care or cure. There is no cure for trauma, it is something we all will experience during our lives and becomes a part of us, but there are significant possibilities for much greater, more functional results in improvement. Results-oriented research is about maximizing care, transitioning basic research to results-oriented clinical therapies maximizes over the long-term the resources available for all forms of care I mentioned in the beginning.
This bill we propose today sets aside funding for REAL, measurable, results-oriented projects and research that move the most promising basic research into real-world results. Technology and new knowledge surfaces daily. We do not know yet, what will surface tomorrow next year or the following. However we do know humanity is on the cusp of a revolution in rehabilitative results and sciences towards continuous care and improvement. We know we want Minnesota to be a significant player or leader creating the possibilities that fuel this revolution. We see this revolution in healthcare every day when a para-olympian without legs is able to challenge the fastest athletes in the world on the grandest stage in the world and they complain that this person without legs has an unfair ADVANTAGE! This bill provides great flexibility to fund whatever opportunities create the greatest possibility for functional results to the greatest number of people. Distribution through grants requiring public sharing of resulting knowledge and information makes it possible to leverage whatever entity, skills, and resources, both public and private, provide the greatest possibility for results.
We should not be asking ourselves today whether funding results-oriented research towards continuous functional improvement is worth it. We KNOW even small improvements in rehabilitative results, if it can be applied to a large number of people, pays HUGE dividends within our communities. We KNOW the most common cause of trauma leading to spinal cord injuries and dramatic brain injuries requiring rehabilitation is automotive accidents. It is logical, ethical, and fiscally responsible that access to this privilege, driving on public roads, help provide for greater possibilities to those most negatively affected by access to rapid transportation. The question is not IF we should, the question is HOW to provide the greatest results.
I am not talking about futuristic-dreams. Very few around the world will deny we stand looking into the dawn of a new age in healthcare and what that means to humanity. Minnesota’s biotech and healthcare research oriented industries, universities, and research hospitals stand ready, are already positioned to lead this march, allowing Minnesota’s economy to reap the benefits of this coming new age. ANY team working together CAN and WILL change the world. By simply imagining these possibilities beyond conventional perceived limitations, TODAY we have already begun changing our world. We ALL bind ourselves and others in shackles of imagined limitations. Whether a team of two or a consortium of competitors across an industry, by respecting and valuing the strengths and talents of each contributor, we throw off those shackles and spread our wings. The horizon beckons, come fly with me!