Skip to Content

Published on May 20, 2009

New Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Dan Grant Visits RIC

New Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs Director Dan Grant Visits RIC

Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs

Director Dan Grant thanks RIC researcher

Dr. Jim Patton for demonstrating a research

protocol utilizing robotics and virtual reality

to enhance cognitive rehabilitation for
people with traumatic brain injuries, a

study that is part of RIC’s NIDRR Model

Systems grant

Only days before this year’s Memorial Day holiday, a time when the nation honors our country’s fallen veterans of war, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) provided a tour to the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Army Captain Dan Grant, to demonstrate the nation’s leading rehabilitation medicine protocols and innovative research programs that have shown to maximize and restore abilities of several U.S. service members severely injured in combat.

Grant, a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and a serving member of the Illinois National Guard, toured RIC’s brain injury and spinal cord injury clinical units, both federally designated model systems of care, as well as multiple research labs utilizing robotics, virtual reality technology and neural–engineering discoveries to advance science and set new standards in care benefiting service members with severe injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI), spinal cord injury (SCI) and amputation.

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.

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.