Kessler Foundation has been awarded a Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS) grant by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), part of the Administration for Community Living.

The 5-year grant for $2,350,527 continues federal funding for the Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System (NNJSCIS). Kessler is one of 14 model systems in the US to receive funding for the 2021-2026 SCIMS grant cycle.

The NNJSCIS, a collaboration of Kessler Foundation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and University Hospital in Newark, has been funded by NIDILRR since 1990. Kessler is also a federally funded Traumatic Brain Injury Model System and one of only six centers in the US to hold both grants. Model Systems provide a multidisciplinary continuum of rehabilitative care, beginning with acute care and extending through rehabilitation, reintegration to the community and the workplace, and aging.

“For more than 30 years, we have collaborated with our Model System colleagues on a range of projects aimed at improving the lives of people living with spinal cord injury,” said Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, director of the Center for Spinal Cord injury Research at Kessler Foundation and co-director of the NNJSCIS. “This most recent grant enables us to continue to contribute to the important work of the SCI Model Systems.

“As a person living with an SCI since 1992, the SCIMS are also very personal to me,” added Dr. Dyson-Hudson. “I remember when I first transferred to inpatient rehabilitation, my doctor gave me a copy of the recent proceedings from the SCI Model Systems conference. It was a huge comfort knowing that there was a team of professionals dedicated to the long-term care of people with SCI—and that people like me with SCI and their families were not alone.”

“Each model system contributes data on their participants with SCI to the National SCIMS Statistical Center, the world’s largest and oldest longitudinal database of people with traumatic SCI,” explained Steven Kirshblum, MD, co-director of the NNJSCIS, director of Spinal Cord Injury Services at Kessler Institute, and chief medical officer for Kessler Institute and Kessler Foundation.

“This database tracks many different outcomes after SCI,” Dr. Kirshblum continued, “helping us to identify factors that hinder the ability of individuals to live full and productive lives and develop studies that address ways to overcome these obstacles. For example, this new grant enables us to investigate the effectiveness of a new approach to improving employment outcomes after spinal cord injury. We will compare the successes of a person-centered early intervention called vocational resource facilitation with that of conventional vocational rehabilitation, looking at individuals’ return to competitive employment following inpatient rehabilitation at Kessler Institute.” 

[Source(s): Kessler Foundation, EurekAlert]