February 16, 2017

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation receives funding for two longstanding centers

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spainrehab exercise 2017UAB's SCI Model System is the longest continually funded system in existence.The University of Alabama at Birmingham Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has received $5.6 million to continue two of its longstanding grants.

The department’s spinal cord injury model system has been in existence since 1972 and is one of 14 SCI model systems in the country. UAB’s SCI model system is a resource that promotes knowledge in the areas of research, health and quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries, their families and SCI-related professionals. UAB is the longest continually funded system in existence.

“To be designated as a model system, we have to demonstrate the capacity to conduct high-quality research along with high-quality care for our patients with SCI from the emergency room, through their rehabilitation and throughout their lives,” said program director Amie McLain, M.D. “To be continually designated for 45 years demonstrates the quality of researchers and patient care providers we continue to have at UAB.”    

In 1983, the department received federal funding to resume a national spinal cord injury database. Since then, it has been continually funded as the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, which supports and directs the collection, management and analysis of the world’s largest and longest-running SCI research database.

“To date, our spinal cord injury database contains demographic and condition status for over 33,000 people with SCI,” said NSCISC director Yuying Chen, M.D. “Research findings acquired from the database have led to significant improvements in the delivery and nature of medical rehabilitation services provided to patients with SCI.”

The UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is located at Spain Rehabilitation Center, which has been one of the Southeast’s foremost providers of comprehensive rehabilitation care since 1964, and enhances and restores functional ability and quality of life to people with physical impairments or disabilities through high-quality patient care, innovative basic science and clinical research, and comprehensive education.