kesslerKessler Foundation, headquartered in West Orange, NJ, reports that it is participating in a major study designed to maximize independence among wheelchair users with spinal cord injury (SCI). The Foundation notes that it is currently participating in the Collaboration on Mobility Training (COMIT), a large study designed to maximize independence among wheelchair users with SCI. The COMIT is a SCI Model Systems (SCIMS) Multisite Collaborative Research Project, the Foundation explains, funded by the National Institute on Disability & Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

The NIDRR has awarded the 5-year, $4.5 million grant to the lead center, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC). Kessler Foundation notes that it receives $850,000 as one of the collaborating sites. Additional collaborating sites that are participants in the NIDRR-funded SCIMS program include Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System (NNJSCIS), a cooperative effort of Kessler Foundation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation and University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ, and the Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System, which encompasses Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, and Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.

Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, director of SCI research, Kessler Foundation, principal investigator for the NNJSCIS, emphasizes the importance of the research in light of the wheelchair’s key role in gaining independence following injury in patients with SCI and lower limb paralysis. “Through training in wheelchair skills and maintenance, our goal is to minimize obstacles to independence caused by environmental barriers and wheelchair malfunction,” Dyson-Hudson says.

Other participating sites include the South Florida SCI System, which encompasses the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and The Miami Project and Jackson Memorial Hospital.

[Source: Kessler Foundation]