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SCIMS GroupThe University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System (UAB-SCIMS) has been continually funded since funding began in 1972 and remains the longest continually funded system in existence. UAB is one of 18 SCI model systems around the country.

Meet the SCIMS Team

  • Rachel Cowan, PhD

    Rachel Cowan, PhD


    Project Director

    Dr. Cowan received her doctorate in Rehabilitation Science and Technology from the University of Pittsburgh and her Masters of Science in Health and Exercise Science from Wake Forest University. Her research program is oriented towards the everyday mobility challenges of non-ambulatory individuals with SCI. Her work specifically seeks to develop, test, and translate cost effective fitness, mobility, and assistive technology interventions that improve independence, decrease burden of care, and enhance quality of life of individuals with SCI.

  • Jereme Wilroy, PhD

    Jereme Wilroy, PhD

    WilroyProject Co-Director

    Dr. Wilroy received his doctorate in health education and promotion from the University of Alabama and a certification in implementation science from UCSF. Dr. Wilroy’s research philosophy is to conduct research that centers on the needs of the patient and improves the capacity of clinicians to recommend specific exercise regimens. The focus of his research is on the psychosocial aspects of adherence to exercise trials among people with spinal cord injury.

  • Jenny Marwitz, MA

    Jenny Marwitz, MA

    MarwitzData Collection Manager

    Jenny Marwitz is Director of Traumatic Brain Injury Research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also is responsible for the oversite of data collection for the SCI Model Systems National Database. Her research interests include emotional adjustment, community reintegration, and return to work.

  • Casey Azuero, PhD, MBA

    Casey Azuero, PhD, MBA


    Rehabilitation Psychology Director

    Dr. Azuero joined the Department of PM&R in 2017 following her postdoctoral training at UAB in Rehabilitation Psychology under J. Scott Richards, Ph.D., ABPP. She is Board Certified in Rehabilitation Psychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Azuero’s clinical practice involves the assessment and treatment of adults with chronic conditions including spinal cord injury and other medical conditions. Her research has focused on understanding the utilization of mental health services and designing and testing novel intervention delivery methods.

  • Phil Klebine, MA

    Phil Klebine, MA

    PK web2Director, Knowledge Translation

    Phil joined the UAB Department of PM&R in 1998 to assist the UAB-SCIMS, UAB-TBIMS, and NSCISC in designing, developing, and directing the adaptation, implementation, and translation of research knowledge into an understandable and contextually relevant format for utilization. In this role, Mr. Klebine has written, directed, and produced videos as well as serving as lead or contributing author on book chapters, journal publications, magazine articles, and fact sheets. Mr. Klebine has led the NSCISC cultural competency activities for over a decade. Mr. Klebine has training in multiple areas of cultural competency diversity, and inclusion, which includes courses on training culturally competent staff, strategy for recruitment and retention of minority participants in research, addressing health disparities through engagement of the peer researcher, etc. In addition, he is highly active community advocate for people with disabilities.

  • Sarah Banasiewicz, BA

    Sarah Banasiewicz, BA

    BanasiewiczOriginally a Form I data collector for both TBI and SCI Model Systems at UAB, Sarah has moved up to working with the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center as of May 2022. Sarah has shifted her focus to helping Dr. Yuying Chen and Tori Allen in the data center. Her responsibilities including but not limited to, transitioning the four new data centers into the 2022-2026 funding cycle as well as helping all centers work through the process of the upcoming non-traumatic SCI data collection through July 2023. While Sarah’s main focus is handling the day to day management of administration of the UAB Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation research group, Sarah does spend some of her time helping with data abstraction for UAB SCIMS Form I and Form II follow-up for the Virginia and Missouri centers.