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Dr. Gianutsos professional narrative

Rosamond Gianutsos, PhD, FAAO, CDRS completed a doctorate in Experimental  Psychology in 1970, specializing in human cognition. She became a tenured Associate  Professor at Adelphi University where she pursued research in cognition in college  students. A sabbatical took her to Bellevue Hospital where she began to work with  survivors of brain injury. There she began to develop the Computer Programs for  Cognitive Rehabilitation to promote recovery of mental function. Awarded National  Finalist status in the Johns Hopkins Personal Computing to Aid the Handicapped  competition, they were displayed at the World Trade Center in New York and at the  National Science Foundation in Washington, DC. With these tools, Dr. Gianutsos left  academia and played a key role in establishing Cognitive Rehabilitation as a mainstream  neurorehabilitation therapy.  

When she discovered that driver rehabilitation specialists were using some of these  programs in their evaluations, she felt it would be better to design procedures especially for driver  evaluations. Thanks to a fruitful one-day think tank convened by Association for Driver  Rehabilitation Specialists (ADED) pioneer, Mike Shipp, she learned from driver rehabilitation  specialists what was missing in their toolbox. To explicitly address those needs,  Gianutsos designed the Driving Advisement System, later replaced by the Elemental  Driving Simulator. Through collaborative research with therapists in neurorehabilitation,  she established a psychometric foundation for these valuable simulation tools. ADED  recognized her research contributions with its Scholar Award.  

ADED Scholar Award

In 1988, she was appointed to the NYS DMV Medical Advisory Board which undertook  a major review of policies. Gianutsos was in charge of the Subcommittee on the Elderly  and Handicapped Driver.  

As a neuropsychological rehabilitation specialist, Gianutsos became a CDRS in the  1990’s.  

Concurrently, she saw the prevalence and significance of visual impairment for brain  injury survivors. She learned much working for almost 20 years in the Head Trauma  Rehabilitation Unit at the SUNY College of Optometry and became a Fellow of the  American Academy of Optometry.  

Blending the neuro-optometric and driver rehabilitation interests, she developed more  ecologically valid assessment tools: the Roadway Sign Test and the Crash Scene Sketch

Now, she provides a comprehensive clinical and simulator evaluation with cognitively  challenged, but physically able, experienced drivers who seek to continue or resume  driving. Some of these individuals have dementia and it is necessary to be the bearer of  the bad news that they will need to stop driving. Some are in a gray zone and will need  to develop a plan for winding down their driving. Those who demonstrate an ability to perform fully like other  drivers are usually able to continue to decide whether, when and where to drive.  

In recent years, Dr. Gianutsos has been inspired to join with others – especially Families  for Safe Streets – in fighting the epidemic of traffic violence where over 40,000 lives  are lost each year in the US. 

In addition to offering driver competency evaluations, she is  a volunteer New York State accident prevention course instructor for AARP Driver Safety.  

Instructor Certificate

 She has been recognized for her service in the NYC Medical Reserve Corps   

2013 Outstanding MRC Responder Award

and as a street safety Activist of the year by Transportation Alternatives. 

Transportation Alternatives Activist of the Year 2019

An avid cyclist, Dr. Gianutsos has lived in and peddled around NYC for over a half  century. Fortunate to live in an increasingly cycle friendly city, she was grateful that  during the height of the COVID pandemic her bike took her wherever she needed to go.  The car remained in the driveway for a year. This experience showed her that in the right  environment driving is not necessary for independence.  

Notwithstanding, Dr. Gianutsos appreciates that driving plays an important role in the  lives of most Americans. She is passionate about promoting safety in driving and  advocating for safe streets for all.