UAB’s Spain Rehab turns 50

UAB’s Spain Rehabilitation Center celebrates its 50th anniversary with a scientific symposium on traumatic brain injury.

Spain Rehab celebrates 50 yearsThe University of Alabama at Birmingham Spain Rehabilitation Center celebrates its 50th anniversary in April with a scientific symposium on traumatic brain injury, a career fair and a reception.

The Spain Rehabilitation Center was dedicated April 26, 1964. The 63,000-square-foot, three-story building was made possible in part by a more than $500,000 gift from philanthropists Frank and Margaret Cameron Spain, along with funding from the Foundation for Hearing and Speech.

The facility opened with 58 inpatient beds. In its first four years, more than 1,600 inpatient admissions and 12,000 outpatient visits were recorded. Two floors and 20 inpatient beds were added in 1969. Now with all-private rooms, SRC is a 49-bed rehabilitation hospital featuring advanced care for adolescent and adult patients recovering from a variety of health problems.

“Spain Rehab Center has been a source of hope and support for thousands of individuals over the years,” said Amie McLain, M.D., chair of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. “We stress a rigorous, evidence-based and patient-centered rehabilitative experience that includes family participation as vital to recovery.”

The scientific symposium on traumatic brain injury April 25 will feature leading rehabilitation professionals from UAB and other institutions around the nation. Topics will include evaluation and rehabilitation after TBI, psychosocial deficits after TBI, novel treatment strategies for TBI, and the scope, pathology and treatment of concussion.

Spain rehab2The symposium will be held in UAB’s West Pavilion Conference Center, 615 18th Street South. Online registration now is open. The cost is $25 to all UAB employees, $50 to persons outside UAB and free to trainees in the field. Fees cover course materials, certification of continuing credit, continental breakfast, lunch and refreshments. The deadline for registration is April 18.

The career fair, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 25 at Spain Rehabilitation Center, 1717 Sixth Ave. South, is aimed at 11th-grade high school students from central Alabama who are interested in a career in health care. Students will tour SRC, learn about potential careers in rehabilitation medicine, and visit with representatives of colleges and universities offering health-related programs.

In the years since its founding, Spain Rehab has become an integral part of the UAB Health System and the headquarters of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The Spinal Cord Injury Model System of Care has had continuous funding since 1972, the National SCI Statistical Center since 1985 and the Traumatic Brain Injury Model System of Care since 1998.  

A residency program began in 1988 with five residents and grew to its current level of 12 resident slots in 2005. A 1991 building expansion allowed the outpatient clinic to grow from two to 12 rooms and added more space for therapy, research and offices.

The Samuel Stover, M.D., Assistive Technology Laboratory was established in 2008 with major funding from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The lab helps SCI patients use computer-based equipment to help them deal with disabilities. In 2010, SRC developed its first neuroregenerative science research program.