U of Miami Department of Rehabilitation Medicine becomes a Spinal Cord Injury Model System

The grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) will help the department provide a comprehensive system of care to spinal cord injuries from the emergency and acute stage to rehabilitation to full community integration and follow-up services.


Overall, there are just 14 SCI model system sites nationally.  Besides providing a multidisciplinary system of spinal cord injury care, model systems are also tasked with conducting research, providing education, and disseminating information with the goal of improving quality of life for persons with SCI.


For UM, they will be aligned with teams from Jackson Memorial Hospital and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis to expand services to assist SCI survivors.  Kim Anderson, Education Director at the Miami Project says, “It’s great for new injuries because to become a model center you have to maintain and provide a high level of SCI specialized care from the time of injury out in the field, to trauma and neurosurgery acute care, to inpatient and outpatient rehab.  Then long-term annual follow-up after that.  So all of these different medical specialties will be required to work together more efficiently to provide better care to more people with SCI.  A second bonus is that chronic injuries can come benefit from better long-term care.”


Another condition of the grant is to conduct state of the art research.  Both center specific and multicenter studies are required and grantees must submit findings and contribute data to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center.  UM will be conducting a big research study for new and old injuries looking at shoulder pain and an intervention to reduce that pain.  The multicenter study has yet to be determined. 


Model centers also are charged with dissemination of information to patients, family, healthcare providers, educators, policymakers, and the public at large.  Peer reviewed publications, professional meetings, and publications on topics of interest to SCI survivors including skin care, pain, and spasticity are all activities designed to help improve the lives of those affected by SCI.


To find consumer information, systematic reviews, research projects, and other SCI resources, visit the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center.


Read the press release from the UM Department of Rehabilitation Medicine.

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