Vision from the Father of Rehabilitation- 60 Years Ago

In March 1953, Dr. Howard Rusk, the man deemed as the Father of Rehabilitation, visited Hawaii and saw the need for a rehabilitation center.  Dr. Rusk states, “I have never seen a community more ripe for an action program.”

The Nobel Peace Prize nominee created a detailed report of recommendations for both an inpatient and outpatient hospital in Hawaii.  He wanted a center that would provide a dynamic program of physical medicine, physical therapy and occupational therapy.  Hawaii needed a community resource to which physicians, hospitals and community agencies could refer handicapped persons.  He even stated that if it was not economical to create a facility that has both in and outpatient services; then to first create the outpatient clinic with the plans to eventually build the inpatient hospital.

Less than 6 months after his report was written, Rehabilitation Center of Hawaii was opened in September 1953 in 2 Quonset huts in the back of Kauikeolani Children’s Hospital.  The center had 18 inpatient beds and could treat up to 50 outpatients at a time.

60 years later, REHAB has come a long way.  Today, we are a licensed 90-bed hospital with 3 outpatient clinics in Aiea, Nuuanu and Hilo.  We have the largest team of doctors, nurses and therapists specializing in rehabilitation, treating over 6000 patients with all types of injuries and illnesses every year.

This would never have been possible without the generous support of the community throughout the years.  Thank you for making REHAB into the community resource it is today.  Dr. Rusk would be proud.  We are currently entering a new chapter in REHAB's history with the complete interior renovation of the hospital.  Please join us in our campaign to REBUILD REHAB.


Here is an actual excerpt from Dr. Rusks report in 1953

rusk reccomedations