Governor signs bill to support UAB spinal cord research

Spinal cord research at UAB gets boost with state funding through the T.J. Atchison Research Program.

On Sept. 7, 2012, Gov. Robert Bentley signed legislation creating the T.J. Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The bill will provide funding to UAB for spinal cord research with a focus on discovering a cure for paralysis caused by spinal cord injuries.

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T.J. Atchison, center, with Sen. Marc Keahey; Jacquelyn Green, director of research services, UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Amie Jackson, M.D., professor and chair, PM&R; Paul Auffant, CPA; Candace Floyd, Ph.D., associate professor and director of research, PM&R; Gov. Robert Bentley, M.D.; Rep. Elaine Beech

The program is named for T.J. Atchison of Chatom, Ala., who was paralyzed in a motor vehicle crash in 2010. The bill was sponsored by Alabama state senator Marc Keahey (D-Grove Hill), and passed on the final day of the 2012 legislative session.

The program will be administered by Candace Floyd, Ph.D., associate professor and director of research for the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “This is an important initiative that will go a long way toward finding a cure and alleviating the side effects that spinal cord injury patients experience,” says Floyd.

“I am honored to bring the T.J. Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program to the forefront of Alabama’s innovative medical research efforts,” says Senator Keahey. “It is my prayer that this cutting-edge research will give those living with spinal cord injuries hope, as this program will begin to play a significant role in finding a cure for paralysis right here in Alabama.”

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, housed at UAB, estimates that there are 270,000 people living with spinal cord injury in the United States, with about 12,000 new cases each year.

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