VA Secretary Peake Visits - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on August 27, 2008

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Lt. Gen. James Peake Visits RIC

Secretary Lt. Gen. James Peake tours RIC with President and CEO Dr. Joanne Smith

Secretary Lt. Gen. James Peake tours RIC
with President and CEO Dr. Joanne Smith

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), ranked the nation’s “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America”, today announced that Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Lt. Gen. James Peake (Ret.), MD, toured RIC to learn about its leading rehabilitation medicine models and innovative research that can continue to benefit service members with severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), estimated to affect more than 320,000 service members who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan.

 “RIC is honored to have the opportunity to visit with Lt. Gen. Peake and demonstrate RIC’s commitment to advancing human abilityTM through scientific discovery. Leading the science that enables recovery from traumatic injuries to the spinal cord and brain is what drives RIC clinicians and researchers,” said Dr. Joanne C. Smith, president and CEO of RIC. “It is a privilege to apply our nation’s best rehabilitation care models toward the recovery of our wounded heroes, and RIC stands ready and able to extend this care to any service member who has need.”

RIC was designated an approved provider of rehabilitation services for U.S. military personnel with severe injuries by TRICARE in March 2007 and has since provided care to approximately 20 service members.

"I appreciate the chance to visit RIC and appreciate the quality of care they have given to some of our most seriously injured veterans,” said Lt. Gen. Peake. “Our institutions share a common goal in providing the support for those we serve to live the richest, fullest and most productive lives possible.”

Recent Federal Research Grants

RIC is a leader in the industry recognized for its dedication to clinical advancement through cutting-edge research and attention to generating better patient outcomes. RIC’s Brain Injury Medicine and Rehabilitation Program  was recently awarded two major federal research grants by the U.S Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), which will help RIC to foster new advancements in care.

NIDRR designated RIC’s Brain Injury Medicine and Rehabilitation Program a Model System of Care, one of 16 facilities in the United States with this distinction.  With this grant, RIC will explore technologies and advanced care models including:

  • Virtual-reality robotics programs to improve attention and concentration in TBI patients;
  • Development and assessment of an acupuncture program to improve the sleeping patterns, cognitive function and mood of inpatient TBI patients;
  • Participation in a collaborative study, along with four other Model System sites, assessing sexual function after TBI, and the role patient and family education may play in this aspect of recovery from the effects of injury.

The U.S. Department of Defense also awarded RIC a grant to advance discovery in the treatment of insomnia in brain injury patients which is estimated to affect as many as three out of four people with brain injury.

Service Member Screening Tool Developed at RIC

Additionally, RIC has demonstrated civic leadership in partnering with the state of Illinois to develop a landmark process that screens service members returning from combat for signs or symptoms of mild brain injury or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). RIC’s physicians developed a TBI screening tool and trained state workers to administer the tool which identifies symptoms of brain injury and PTSD and allows the state to provide a better level of care to injured veterans earlier.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is making a difference in the world for people with disabilities.  RIC provides world-class care to patients from around the globe for a range of conditions from acute brain and spinal cord injury to chronic arthritis, pain and sports injuries.  RIC, founded in 1954, has been designated the “#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991 and attributes its leading standard of care in part to its innovative research and discovery, particularly in the areas of bionic medicine, robotics, neural regeneration, pain care and better outcomes. RIC operates its 165-bed, flagship hospital in downtown Chicago , as well as a network of 30 sites of care located throughout the city and surrounding suburbs that provide additional inpatient care, day rehabilitation and outpatient services. RIC also maintains strategic alliances with leading healthcare providers throughout the state of Illinois and Indiana .