UMass Amherst Nursing Researcher Rachel Walker Named AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador

UMass Amherst: News Archive

AMHERST, Mass. – Rachel Walker, assistant professor of nursing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the first nurse to be selected by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Lemelson Foundation as an AAAS-Lemelson Invention Ambassador. The eight 2018-19 ambassadors were announced today in New York.AAAS and the Lemelson Foundation developed the Invention Ambassadors program to highlight the importance of invention and inventors in improving the quality of life globally. The program was piloted in 2013 and has created 32 Ambassadors prior to this year’s cohort. According to AAAS, the Invention Ambassadors will “Inspire a new and diverse generation of inventors dedicated to solving difficult global challenges, inform on the components needed to create inventions that sustainably solve global problems and influence policymakers, thought leaders and the public.”
Walker is a nurse inventor whose scholarship is grounded in her experiences as a rural emergency medical and disaster relief worker, U.S. Peace Corps volunteer and oncology nurse. She is associate director for the UMass Amherst Institute for Applied Life Science’s Center for Personalized Health Monitoring. Her team focuses on person-driven and participatory approaches to promoting dignity, capability, and health equity over the life course. Walker works collaboratively with patient advocates and community leaders, clinicians, industry partners, and scholars from a wide variety of disciplines to develop technology, models of care, and other innovations that support cancer symptom self-management and survivors’ ability to engage in the roles and activities that are most important to them and their families.
Walker’s innovation includes a National Institutes of Health-sponsored pilot study using computational eyeglasses, developed by the UMass computer science researchers, to monitor biomarkers of cancer-related fatigue in real-time. She is currently working on other team projects to develop a portable, self-contained machine capable of generating critical IV fluids from existing water sources in low-resource and disaster settings …

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