A Big Win for the TRAM and for Rifton

June 25, 2013 by Clare Stober

Display of the medical device excellence gold award won by the Rifton TRAMThe Rifton TRAM, an innovative transfer and mobility device, won gold at the prestigious Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) held in Philadelphia last week on June 19, 2013. Recognized in the Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Products category, the TRAM was praised for its thoughtful design and revolutionary approach to safe patient handling.

Many of you who read this blog already know that the TRAM is unique. But winning gold confirmed what we’ve been hearing lately from industry experts: the TRAM represents the most significant innovation in safe patient handling in over a decade.

Here’s what a few people said in connection with the award:

“The MDEA were created to recognize significant advances in medical product design and engineering that improve the quality of healthcare delivery and accessibility. The Rifton TRAM perfectly illustrates what is possible when engineering, design and humanity come together.”
James Costigan, MDEA spokesperson

A man with disabilities walks in the mdea gold award winning TRAM with the assistance of his therapist“What impressed me about the TRAM is that it serves a real need. It’s a clever and thoughtful use of existing technology that really empowers both the patient and caregiver. I haven’t seen anything this innovative in adaptive equipment in a long time.”
Stephen B. Wilcox, PhD, FIDSA, MDEA Judge

“We were impressed with the amount of thought and detail you put into the device. The passion that went into the product really showed. As a designer of rehab equipment I realize the difficulty in designing for multiple users in low volume manufacturing.”
Tor Alden, MDEA Judge

“We asked therapists what they needed in the field, and their response was loud and clear: they wanted a device that would eliminate lifting, reduce back strain and workplace injuries, and give dignity and safety to the client. So we got to work.”
Gideon Clement, Rifton TRAM Design Team Leader

Many of you who have known Rifton know about the team approach we take to product design. The TRAM is truly a collective of our company’s best thinking. It’s always essential we bring all ideas to the table to ensure a successful outcome, and we draw from a wide, internal talent pool of engineers, machinists and customer service representatives. Working together, we make sure every aspect of design is considered and met.

Clearly, this approach has paid off, and we couldn’t be more pleased with how the TRAM has been received. But the real winners here are our therapists and clients. You’re the ones who tell us what’s needed. We just need to keep listening.


The Medical Design Excellence Awards are the industry’s premier design awards competition and the only awards program exclusively recognizing contributions and advances in the design of medical products. Entries are evaluated on the basis of their design and engineering features, including innovative use of materials, user related functions improving healthcare delivery and changing traditional medical attitudes or practices, features providing enhanced benefits to the patient, and the ability of the product development team to overcome design and engineering challenges so the product meets its clinical objectives.

For more information on the awards and judging criteria, visit

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sneha | January 16, 2014
Dear sir/mam I'm sudha suffering from post polio residual paralysis of both lower limbs with inability to use both lower limbs Disabilities:- 80% of that part Is it possible to practice walk by rifton equipment.which one is suitable for my condition?
Debra Shea | September 18, 2016
This is truly an amazing mobility asset and an innovative design! I have been volunteering at a horse facility called Elliot Acres, Inc., a Therapeutic Riding Center for children with disabilities. It made me wonder if any kind of device could be engineered to allow a child on a horse to have more mobility to move hips more naturally in addition to having side walkers for safety as is done currently. Right now in some cases the child has to be static on the saddle having to be banded in addition to be held by walkers. Probably it would be less effective than what you have created here which is ingenious, but just a thought. Congratulations on your MDEA award, so well deserved.
Elena | September 19, 2016
Hi Debra, Not sure if you are familiar with the independence saddle, but this might provide more mobility of the hips during riding. Here's the link: