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Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center

SCI ResearchThe mission of the Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center (SCIDR) is to improve functional recovery, health and quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and other physical disabilities. SCIDR had been conducting research on SCI long before 1972, when it became among the first inpatient rehabilitation programs to be designated as a Model System of Care by the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). SCIDR was the first to conduct 40-year follow-up interviews on those early research participants, and SCIDR continues to follow study participants over time at five-year intervals.

SCIDR conducts investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored studies, including local studies, multicenter studies and clinical trials of individuals of all ages with SCI and physical disability. Research focuses on optimizing acute and chronic care for people with spinal cord injury, facilitating active community involvement and access to care, improving quality of life and reducing the risk of secondary complications and conditions such as depression, urinary tract infections, chronic pain and cardiovascular disease. Investigators at SCIDR have extensive experience developing and testing interventions to improve functioning, psychosocial health and quality of life across the lifespan. Research at SCIDR has been funded by NIDRR, the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Defense, the Craig Neilsen Foundation and the Christopher and Diana Reeve Foundation.

While most SCIDR research addresses the needs of both men and women, SCIDR is unique among rehabilitation research centers in its focus on women and children with SCI and other physical disabilities. Heather Taylor, Ph.D., is chair of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine SCI-ISIG Women’s Health Task Force and Susan Robinson-Whelen, Ph.D., Lisa Wenzel, M.D., and Margaret Nosek, Ph.D., serve as Task Force members. To learn more, visit http://tirr.memorialhermann.org/research/model-spinal-cord-injury-program/.

Research Highlights

Texas Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) Form II Center

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Heather B. Taylor, Ph.D.
CO-INVESTIGATORS: Matthew Davis, M.D., Lisa Wenzel, M.D., Argyrios Stampas, M.D., William H. Donovan, M.D., and Susan Robinson-Whelen, Ph.D.

The Texas Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems program studies the course of recovery and outcomes following the delivery of acoordinated system of care for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). This program collaborates with SCIMS centers nationally to gather standardized longitudinal follow-up data on individuals living with SCI. TIRR Memorial Hermann’s SCIDR has maintained follow-up data collection for the SCIMS centers since 1972. This is a subcontract between TIRR Memorial Hermann and the National SCI Statistical Center at the University of Alabama (YuYing Chen, M.D., Principal Investigator) funded by the National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

NeuroRecovery Network (NRN)

Principal Investigator and NRN Center Director: Heather B. Taylor, Ph.D.
CO-INVESTIGATORS: Matthew Davis, M.D., Lisa Wenzel, M.D., and Argyrios Stampas, M.D.

TIRR Memorial Hermann is one of seven NRN centers developing and providing therapies to promote functional recovery and improve the health and quality of life of people living with paralysis. Currently, TIRR Memorial Hermann’s NRN program is conducting Locomotor Training (LT) with individuals with SCI and collecting comprehensive medical information about the progress of each participant. This is a subcontract between the rehabilitation hospital and the University of Louisville (Susan Harkema, Ph.D., Principal Investigator), funded by the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation.

Health Outcomes and Locomotor Training (LT) in SCI

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Heather B. Taylor, Ph.D.
CO-INVESTIGATORS: Matthew Davis, M.D., Lisa Wenzel, M.D., Argyrios Stampas, M.D., and Susan Robinson-Whelen, Ph.D.

This project prospectively examines the effects of LT on three specific physical health systems: cardiovascular, cardiometabolic and respiratory. This is a subcontract between TIRR Memorial Hermann and Stony Brook University (Sue Ann Sisto, PT, Ph.D., Principal Investigator) and is funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation.