The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Receives a Record-Setting Seventh Federal Research Designation - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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Published on April 25, 2011

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago Receives a Record-Setting Seventh Federal Research Designation

New designation gives RIC funds to support research and development of technologies to improve rehabilitative care for children with orthopedic disabilities

CHICAGO – The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), designated the "#1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America since 1991 by U.S. News & World Report, announced it has received a seventh federal research designation – the most awarded to any specialty hospital in the nation, by far – to study and advance technologies that improve treatments for children with orthopedic impairments. RIC will receive funds over the next five years from the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers Program (RERC) of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to complete four research projects.

“RIC is honored to receive this designation and committed to deliver on the hope that these improved medical treatments could bring for children with orthopedic impairments, for example those that often accompany cerebral palsy,” said Joanne C. Smith, MD, president and CEO of RIC. “This grant also serves as an opportunity for RIC to embolden its pursuit of new treatments, important steps toward enacting our organizational vision – to advance patient ability through science and research.”

This designation accompanies RIC’s six current rehabilitation research and training designations: Stroke, Neurologic Rehabilitation, Spinal Cord Injury, Rehabilitation Engineering Research, Outcomes Rehabilitation, and Orthopedic Robotics for Kids. More information on these six designations is available here.

RIC will partner with Marquette University, Medical College of Wisconsin, Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and the Milwaukee School of Engineering to conduct research funded by the new grant.

The four research projects funded by the grant are:

  • Tissue analysis and characterization to improve predictions on bone fracture and strain on the femur and humerus for children with brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta) or a severe clubfoot deformity
  • Quantitative assessment of brain white matter structure (DTI and fMRI) for intervention strategies and robot therapies to aid restoration of upper and lower limb function in children with cerebral palsy
  • Effectiveness of home-based verses lab-based robot-guided therapy and games for joint impairments in children with cerebral palsy
  • Evaluation of advanced mobility modeling to improve function of upper and lower extremities, as well as transitional care of children with orthopedic disabilities, such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida and spinal cord injury

The grant also funds four development projects: an elliptical rehabilitation system and biofeedback training games to improve neuromuscular control in children with severe orthopedic disabilities; a 3-D pediatric robotic gait trainer to improve locomotor function for children with cerebral palsy; a biplanar fluoroscopic imaging system to analyze internal motion of the bones inside the foot; and a novel orthotic (brace) based on the geometry of a 3-D foot for children with a severe flat foot deformity.

In addition, the grant will incorporate eight training activities, including graduate assistantships, online training courses and summer internships, which will focus on training current and future researchers in the field.

About The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation’s #1 ranked provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world and is the leader in research and development of the most cutting-edge treatments and technology in its field. Through aggressive medical protocols, RIC guides the patient care process toward a better patient outcome – involving repair, regeneration and recovery of brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal function.

RIC holds an unparalleled market distinction with a record six federal research designations awarded and funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Department of Educations’ National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research in the areas of spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, stroke, neurological rehabilitation, outcomes research and rehabilitation engineering research.

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.