Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Named Model System for Spinal Cord Injury Care - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on January 08, 2007

Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Named Model System for Spinal Cord Injury Care

$2.4 Million Federal Grant Supports Patient Care and Advances Research

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) has been designated a Model System Spinal Cord Injury Center by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Department of Education for its dedication to patient care and rehabilitation research.

This recognition is a result of NIDRR's new $2.4 million grant over five years to promote innovative care and research by the Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System, a collaboration of rehabilitation care provided by RIC and acute care provided by Northwestern Memorial Hospital (NMH).

The Model System Center designation acknowledges RIC's excellence as a provider of medical care for spinal cord injured patients and as a research and educational resource for the community. NIDRR's grant will support projects related to the accessibility, delivery, and evaluation of spinal cord injury care and the use of advanced technology to improve long-term health benefits for spinal cord injured patients.

"Our selection as a Model System Center underscores the importance we place on quality patient care and research," said Dr. David Chen, medical director of the Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System and the grant's principal investigator. "These commitments are cornerstones of RIC's mission and important to our continued success."

The new grant will support a continuum of care for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI). RIC and NMH's clinical programs function as one comprehensive, integrated, interdisciplinary system of care through a partnership ongoing since 1972.

The Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System has provided care to more than 6,000 individuals with SCI including acute-care services, rehabilitation and for many individuals, lifelong care, community services, and vocational counseling and assistance.

This grant also will support:

  • Collection of data and assessment of long-term outcomes of patients with SCI;
  • Study of disparities in access to rehabilitation among persons with SCI related to age, race, ethnicity, and gender;
  • Study of the impact on SCI patients of treatment utilizing the Lokomat;
  • Development and evaluation of low-cost, non-motorized assistive devices to help persons with SCI who have the potential of regaining the ability to walk.

"RIC's designation as a Model System Spinal Cord Injury Center is a testimonial to the quality of our clinical and research staff and our capacity for leadership and innovation in rehabilitation medicine," said Joanne C. Smith M.D., president and CEO of RIC. "The future of rehabilitation for spinal cord injury is dependent on our discovery and application of new knowledge and technologies to patient care - through these and other such efforts RIC will continue our mission to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities."

The project also will involve RIC's LIFE Center, a resource center for patients and families, and the Peer Visitation Program through which peer counselors share their knowledge and understanding with other people with disabilities and their families.

Approximately 11,000 Americans experience spinal cord injury every year, and there are more than 250,000 citizens living with such injury today.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago is dedicated to helping people with all levels and types of physical disabilities live a fulfilling life. U.S. News & World Report has ranked RIC the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America" every year since 1991. RIC operates a flagship hospital in Chicago as well as a network of DayRehabCenters and outpatient centers located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs. It also maintains strategic alliances with other healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois.

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