In 1977, Rusk received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal for pioneering rehabilitative medicine as wounded World War II veterans returned home with physical challenges.
National Commander William Rogers praised the doctor for crusading "to alleviate the suffering of the handicapped throughout the world." Rusk headed the internationally known Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine of New York University Medical Center, served as been president and chairman of the board of the American-Korean Foundation since 1953, and was a member of the Legion's Medical Advisory Board.
To successfully rehabilitate, "you have to think first about the ability and, second, about the disability," Rusk said. "And you have to meet not only the physical needs but the emotional and social and vocational and educational problems of a person with a disability."
Recalling his wartime service, Rusk described "wounded boys from the battlefield ... being packed into hospitals by the planeload. Suddenly, we were faced with men with broken bodies and, all too often, broken spirits."
"Dr. Live-Again" fervently believed the injured could regain much of their mobility and overcome their afflictions to become vital leaders and contributors in their communities. Considered the "father of comprehensive rehabilitation," Rusk "was the first to recognize, from a professional standpoint, the need to restore people to a high quality of life," Dr. Frederic J. Kottke at the University of Minnesota Medical School said.
Rusk, who also spent part of his career as a columnist for The New York Times, died in 1989, at 88.
For more on Rusk, click here (http://www.nytimes.com/1989/11/05/obituaries/howard-rusk-88-dies-medical...).