The Rancho Los Amigos Foundation honored Lucinda Baker, associate professor of biokinesiology and physical therapy at the Ostrow School of Dentistry, with the Amistad Award during the 28th annual Amistad Gala at the Westin Hotel in Long Beach on March 8, 2014.
The Rancho Los Amigos Foundation is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support research, education, equipment, and patient care at the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center.
The Amistad Award — the highest honor the foundation can bestow — recognizes an individual who has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to serving Rancho Los Amigos and its patients. 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 leading book on the subject, NeuroMuscular Electrical Stimulation – A Practical Guide.
In addition to her prolific research career, 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 for her work 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.
James Gordon, chair of the Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, 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 both USC and Rancho has greatly 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 & 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.”