The Harris Family Foundation Makes $10 Million Gift to Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

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RIC in the News

Published on April 20, 2016

The Harris Family Foundation Makes $10 Million Gift to Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Gift to support the AbilityLab®, RIC’s new research hospital

CHICAGO — April 20, 2016 — The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) today announced a gift of $10 million from the Harris Family Foundation.

The Foundation directed the gift to the capital campaign for the AbilityLab, RIC’s state-of-the-art research hospital, set to open in early 2017. The $550 million, 1.2-million-square-foot AbilityLab will be the first-ever “translational” research hospital in which clinicians, scientists, innovators and technologists will work together in the same space, applying (or “translating”) research real time.

Specifically, the Foundation’s gift will underwrite the Center for Engineering in Neurorehabilitation. Rooted in neuroscience and biological engineering, the goal of the Center is to develop and introduce therapies that will vastly improve the lives of people who have experienced stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or other neurological or neuromuscular disorders.

Center researchers will explore an array of highly promising diagnostic and treatment strategies. Major research themes, many harnessing neuroplasticity (i.e., the ability of the brain to change and heal), will include the development of new connections between the brain and machines for assisting human movement and communication; wearable robots for restoring voluntary motion; advanced sensors tracking neural recovery; and new pharmacological and cellular therapies promoting regeneration and restructuring of damaged neural tissues.

“The Harris Family Foundation has long been part of RIC’s dynamic narrative,” said Joanne C. Smith, M.D., RIC president and CEO. “This generous gift will enable us to improve patient outcomes through a radical, translational approach to medicine, and we are forever grateful for the Harris Family Foundation’s ongoing enthusiasm and support.”

Caryn Harris joined RIC’s Women’s Board in 1986. King Harris joined its Governing Board in 1991, chairing it between 2001 and 2006. He later served as chairman of RIC’s Foundation Board from 2006 to 2013.

“RIC has an incredibly rich history and legacy of innovation,” said King Harris. “I’m proud of its past, but even more eager for the next chapter. The AbilityLab will make enormous investments in marrying research and patient care, and will enhance the hospital’s reputation as a resource to the world.”

About the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC)

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC) is the nation’s leading provider of comprehensive physical medicine and rehabilitation care to patients from around the world. Founded in 1953, RIC has been designated the “No. 1 Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. RIC sets the standard of care in the post-acute market through its innovative applied research and discovery programs, particularly in the areas of neuroscience, bionic medicine, musculoskeletal medicine and technology transfer. The AbilityLab — RIC’s new, state-of-the-art research hospital, will open in early 2017. For more information, go to