Dr. Henry B. Betts - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Henry B. Betts, MD

Dr. Henry B. Betts

Dr. Henry B. Betts

Henry B. Betts, MD has devoted his professional career to improving the quality of life for people with disabilities. As a physiatrist, educator, advocate and humanitarian, he has created a legacy that will affect the lives of generations of individuals with disabilities and all those who provide care.

Betts started his career at RIC in 1964. He was first an attending physiatrist then medical director and chair of the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) of Northwestern University Medical School. Dr. Betts later went on to become President and CEO of RIC and Chairman of the Foundation. He has held many leadership board positions on national disability organizations and continues to be an advocate for disability issues today.

Since 1989, through the foresight and generosity of the Prince Charitable Trusts, the Henry B. Betts Award, honoring Dr. Betts for 25 years of service, was established to heighten public awareness of quality of life issues of disability and increase morale of those in the field. The Award, created in 1989, was one of the major catalysts for a groundswell of support for the disabled community and served as a beacon to disabled people who struggle each day with issues of access, acceptance and accomplishment.

In 1990, Betts was instrumental in helping bring light to the issues of people with disabilities through his support and guidance in the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). His advocacy encouraged the City of Chicago to create curb cuts, allowing for easier access for people with disabilities. Today, he often speaks on the employment gap affecting people with disabilities and encourages corporations to diversify their workforce.

His contributions have been plentiful and he is honored by many. Most recently, Betts has received two national awards recognizing his lifetime ambition to improve the lives of people with disabilities:

Equip for Equality's 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Betts in the fall of 2006 to recognize the exemplary legacy of four decades of advocacy and exemplary service to children and adults with disabilities.

The American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPM&R) honored Betts with The Frank H. Krusen Award, given as this organizations’ highest honor. It recognizes members for their outstanding and unique contributions to the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the areas of patient care, research, education, literary contributions, community service and involvement in Academy activities.