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This Fourth Edition of the Rehabilitation Specialist's Handbook is a testament to the fact that information, and the technology for communicating it, has expanded at an exponential rate. While many of the early attributes designed for easy access in the Handbook have been retained, this one edition has undergone more extensive modifications than all previous editions combined. We may have even reached the point at which the term "revision" is outdated, because the new content in Edition 4 has surpassed that retained from previous editions.

If this is your first exposure to the Handbook, then these changes are inconsequential … just enjoy the book, and make full use of our efforts to keep pace with the times. To those of you who have consulted previous Handbook editions, we hope you will continue to appreciate the fact that we have not compromised our goal of providing you with information that is easily retrievable, substantive, and relevant to rehabilitation practice.

When first opening this book, you will notice that the content has been completely reorganized into sections that emphasize its relationship to rehabilitation practices, such as "Tools and Essentials for Practice," "Specialty Areas of Practice," and "Resources for Practice." More generalized information for the different body systems is now listed in a separate section. Each of the components within these sections has been expanded significantly—not only by updating the material from the third edition, but also by adding new sections that reflect either the growing importance of specific sub-specialties in rehabilitation (Women's Health, Oncology, Genetics, and Geriatrics), and new technological advancements that provide resources for practice (Prosthetics, Orthotics, Wheelchairs and Seating). The specialty areas and resources for practice have been particularly strengthened by recruiting experts in the field to co-author sections, or components within them, that have been revised, or in some cases originated, so that the content truly reflects contemporary, clinical expertise. These individuals, to whom we are greatly indebted, are listed prominently immediately following the Preface.

You may then notice that this edition offers a full-color re-design of the pages including easier-to-read tables and over 400 completely new illustrations. For the first time, photographs and digital imaging combine with full-color anatomical illustrations and other line drawings to more effectively convey information. The re-design also integrates a color-coded organizational structure (colored section tabs, outlines, etc.) making it simpler to find information.

We acknowledge with profound appreciation that past editions of the Handbook have been used widely by students while acquiring their clinical experiences and to prepare for licensure examinations. Although not specifically designed for examination preparation, students have recognized over the years that the Handbook has the depth and breadth of information to provide a valuable and unique resource for retrieving information that will make them better prepared for successfully completing this important milestone in their professional lives. Feedback from students over the years on Handbook content has been an extremely valuable resource. We are thankful for your input and welcome future generations of students to these pages to continue this important dialogue.

One of the most important changes, in terms of "keeping contemporary," may be the least recognizable. Handbook 4 has been prepared so that it can be made available in contemporary digital format to support its use on a variety of portable devices that have become a mainstay of our professional and personal lives.

The Greek philosopher Aristotle is credited with the pensive and insightful statement that "change in all things is sweet." While certainly true in reflecting on the new developments in Handbook 4, one change, the loss of our dear co-founding author Jules Rothstein, is a profound exception that leaves a void in this evolving process, as well as in our personal and professional lives. We miss his friendship and brilliance in co-authoring the original text, and guiding us on past revisions. It is fitting that Dr. David Scalzitti, who was mentored by Jules, should now assume the role of co-author on Handbook 4, joining co-founding authors Drs. Serge Roy and Steven Wolf. David has made invaluable contributions to past editions, and has earned this advancement from hard work and insightful contributions. He has also earned our respect and appreciation.

S.H. Roy
Boston, 2011

S.L. Wolf
Atlanta, 2011

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