James Rimmer

James Rimmer

Dr. James H. Rimmer is a researcher who has had a long career in developing and directing health promotion programs for people with disabilities. As an author and professor, he has written on various subjects relating to health promotion, physical activity, secondary conditions, and disability,1 and he has been characterized as “the nation's leading voice on physical activity and disability.”2

After obtaining a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Exercise with a Concentration in Exercise Physiology from Queens College in Flushing, New York, Dr. Rimmer earned a Master's degree in Physical Education with a Specialization in Adapted Physical Activity/Exercise Physiology in 1978 from Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Four years later he earned his PhD in Kinesiology with a Specialization in Adapted Physical Activity/Exercise Physiology from Texas Woman's University in Denton, Texas.3

As he was finishing his doctorate in 1981, Dr. Rimmer accepted an assistant professor position at Manhattan College in Riverdale, New York. In 1984, he became the Project Director and designer of the After-School and Weekend Fitness/Rehabilitation Program for Individuals with Disabilities, which he led until 1987.

For nearly a decade from 1987-1995, Dr. Rimmer taught and conducted research at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. He also was the Director of their Exercise Gerontology Clinic. In 1990, he was given the Mabel Lee Award from the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (AAHPERD). Six years later, he received the Lois Halverson Award from the National Kinesiotherapy Association for his research and scholarship in the field of disability and physical activity.4

As a researcher and educator, Dr. Rimmer has published hundreds of papers, book chapters, journal articles, abstracts, and monographs. In 1994, he published a book, Fitness and rehabilitation programs for special populations.5

Beginning in 1995, Dr. Rimmer taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) as a Visiting Associate Professor. In 1997, Dr. Rimmer became an Associate Professor at UIC in the Department of Disability & Human Development and the Director of UIC's Center on Health Promotion Research for Persons with Disabilities. Two years later in 1999, he became the Director of UIC's National Center on Physical Activity and Disability.6 After five years of his leadership, in 2004, this Center was honored with the Best Effective Practices Award, a national award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Rimmer, now a full Professor, became the Director of yet another research center in 2002: UIC's Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology Benefiting Persons with Disabilities. Both this Center and the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability are federally funded.

Internationally, as a delegate for the Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, in 2003 Dr. Rimmer assisted the Greek Ministry of Health to prepare for the Paralympics International summit on Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities.

Beginning in 2005, Dr. Rimmer became an adjunct professor at Northwestern University Medical School's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, an affiliate of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. He later also became an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Departments of Kinesiology and Nutrition and Bioengineering.7

In 2006, Dr. Rimmer was appointed to the CDC Health Disparities Advisory Committee. That year, he also received the Mary Slaughter Award, the University of Virginia's Distinguished Researcher in Exercise Science award. The following year, he was appointed to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee, where he was one of thirteen expert panel members.

Also in 2007, Dr. Rimmer received two awards for his research: the G. Lawrence Rarick Research Award from the National Consortium on Physical Education and Recreation for Individuals with Disabilities and the Allan Meyers Award from the American Public Health Association. The Allan Meyers Award also acknowledged his “teaching and advocacy to improve the health and quality of life for people with disabilities.”

Dr. Rimmer has also been acknowledged for his teaching excellence with the UIC Professor of the Year for the College of Applied Health Sciences (2006) and the Excalibur Award for Teaching Excellence (2007).8

The CDC's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities appointed Dr. Rimmer on their Board of Scientific Counselors in 2008. Additionally in 2008, he was appointed to the advisory board of the National Institutes of Health's National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research and he was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Kinesiology.

Twenty years after first being acknowledged by the AAHPERD, Dr. Rimmer was again honored with their Charles H. McCloy Distinguished Research Lecture award in 2010. The following year he was inducted as a Fellow of the Institute for Health Research and Policy (IHRP).9

Beginning in January of 2012, Dr. Rimmer became the first Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in Health Promotion and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Health Professions and Director of Research at Lakeshore Foundation. He also has appointments in the School of Medicine and the Nutrition Obesity Research Center at UAB. As such he will “develop a research program in exercise, health promotion and disability.”10 The two federal research centers which he directs, the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability and the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities, transferred to UAB with Dr. Rimmer.

  • 1. “James H. Rimmer, PhD.” UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy. < http://www.ihrp.uic.edu/researcher/james-h-rimmer-phd > 14 Dec. 2011.
  • 2. Shepard, Bob. “Rimmer to lead joint health promotion-rehabilitation science research.” UAB News. 14 Dec. 2011. < http://www.uab.edu/news/latest/item/1910-rimmer-to-lead-joint-health-promotion-rehabilitation-science-research > 14 Dec. 2011. (Quote by Jeff Underwood, president of Lakeshore Foundation.)
  • 3. “Curriculum Vitae.” UIC Institute on Disability and Human Development. < http://www.idhd.org/downloads/CV/James%20Rimmer.doc > 5 Feb. 2012.
  • 4. “Biographical Sketch.” University of Illinois at Chicago. < http://www.ahs.uic.edu/ahs/files/dhd/faculty_cv/Rimmer%20Biosketch--Updated%2011.15.10.pdf > 14 Dec. 2011.
  • 5. Op. cit., “Curriculum Vitae.”
  • 6. Op. cit., “Biographical Sketch.”
  • 7. Op. cit., “James H. Rimmer, PhD.” UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy.
  • 8. Op. cit., “Biographical Sketch.”
  • 9. Op. cit., “James H. Rimmer, PhD.” UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy.
  • 10. Op. cit., Shepard.