Author Biographical Info

William Albert Spencer born on February 16, 1922 in Oklahoma City. He went to Georgetown University for his Bachelor’s degree and was first in his class in medical school at John Hopkins University. Beginning in 1951 Dr. Spencer would lead staff at Baylor College of Medicine to address the polio epidemic. This research paved the way for Baylor to become one of the most prominent rehabilitation facilities in the country. He would become founder of The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research, or TIRR, which opened its doors on May 30, 1959. Today the hospital is officially part of the Memorial Hermann Hospital system. Throughout his life Dr. Spencer would treat patients, often children and young adults, and conduct research regarding traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injuries. Dr. Spencer served twenty-eight years as TIRR’s president and became known as the “Father of Modern Rehabilitation”; hospitals around the globe modeled their rehabilitation programs after it (Wendler, 2009, p.16). The TIRR was a facility ahead of its time under Dr.Spencer’s leadership.


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An Interview with William A. Spencer, MD. Conducted by N. Don Macon. UT/TV Houston. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. See more at Interview with William A. Spencer, MD and Texas Medical Center Historical Resources Project Records.


Digital copy made available by Texas Medical Center Library. Digitization supported by South Central Academic Medical Libraries Consortium (SCAMeL) Speedy Startup funds, 2022.


Poliomyelitis, Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Centers, Disabilities, Barrier-free design, Pediatrics, World War (1939-1945), Computers, Houston (TX), Texas Medical Center, N. Don Macon, TIRR Memorial Hermann, Russell J. Blattner, Jefferson Davis Hospital (Houston, TX), Baylor College of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Georgetown University, UT-TV (Television station : Houston, TX), interviews, oral histories (literary works), audiovisual materials, videotapes


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