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Robert “Bob” Fraser, PhD, MPA, passed away Friday, May 12. Fraser was a professor emeritus at the University of Washington School of Medicine and had been a faculty member in the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Rehabilitation Medicine since 1977.

Fraser was born in Staten Island, New York. He received a BA in English from LeMoyne College in Syracuse, New York, in 1968, and a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of Southern California in 1972. In 1976, he received his doctorate in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In 1984, he earned a master of public administration from Seattle University and was a certified rehabilitation counselor and certified life care planner.

A dedicated teacher and advocate

Fraser’s long connection to the University began in 1976 when he worked as a consultant for a job placement program with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Throughout his career Fraser held positions with the Departments of Neurology, Neurological Surgery, and Rehabilitation Medicine. He attained the rank of professor in 1991, with dual appointments in the Departments of Neurological Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine.

In 1977, Fraser became the director of the Neurological Vocational Services Unit, a position he would hold until his passing. It was through this program that he was able to support epilepsy patients and others with neurological disabilities in finding meaningful jobs.

His Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-funded program, PACES in Epilepsy, is a self-management program that has taught hundreds of people how to confidently engage with the management of their epilepsy.

Recognized in research

As a researcher, Fraser was principal or co-investigator on projects that received tens of millions in grant funding and authored or co-authored more than 140 publications.

He was awarded two World Rehabilitation Fund fellowships to review, respectively, the post-acute traumatic brain injury programs in Israel and epilepsy rehabilitation advances in Scandinavia and Holland. He was the recipient of two American Rehabilitation Counseling Association Research Awards and an Epilepsy Foundation of America Career Achievement Award.

Fraser was also active in many professional associations. He was a past president of Rehabilitation Psychology, Div. 22 of the American Psychological Association and a Fellow in the Division, a former Board member of the Epilepsy Foundation of America (EFA), a Professional Advisory Board member of the Epilepsy Foundation Northwest and a former member of the Board of Governors for the International Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers.

Passionate about patient care

Throughout his career, Fraser — or Dr. Bob, as his patients called him — was passionate about helping individuals with neurological conditions gain independence. He loved what he did, and shared that joy with his friends, family and colleagues.

Editor’s Note: Originally published by the UW School of Medicine Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.