Lakeshore Foundation, UAB Launch Joint Research Effort

Lakeshore Foundation and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are developing a world-class research program in rehabilitative science – the Lakeshore Foundation/UAB Research Collaborative, which links Lakeshore’s extraordinary programs for people with physically disabling conditions with the UAB School of Health Professions’ research expertise.

 

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - Lakeshore Foundation and the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are developing a world-class research program in rehabilitative science - the Lakeshore Foundation/UAB Research Collaborative, which links Lakeshore's extraordinary programs for people with physically disabling conditions with the UAB School of Health Professions' research expertise.

Funded by a $2 million investment from Lakeshore Foundation, in order to further its mission, the collaborative will establish the Lakeshore Foundation Endowed Chair in the UAB School of Health Professions. A nationwide search will be conducted to recruit a leading expert in rehabilitative science to hold that endowed chair and serve as director of the research collaborative.

Rehabilitative science encompasses basic and applied aspects of health services, social sciences and engineering as they relate to restoring human functional capacity and improving a person's interaction with the surrounding environment.

"We have long felt that the experience and expertise of Lakeshore Foundation could be applied literally anywhere in the world through a research-based approach to program development and implementation," said Jeff Underwood, president of Lakeshore Foundation. "For years professionals from around the world have been telling us of the great need for this type of research and the significant opportunity that Lakeshore could play in this field.

"As we looked at various models of how to build our research program, it made perfect sense to us to sit down with UAB, one the leading research institutions in this country," Underwood said. "A good working relationship with the School of Health Professions was already in place through several collaborative projects." 

The collaborative is thought to be the first of its kind between a major academic research university and an organization that serves the physically disabled by providing physical activity, sport and education. The research collaborative will identify, develop, validate and apply new programs and technologies having a positive impact on the lives of people with physically disabling conditions.

 "Lakeshore is world-renowned for its fitness, recreation and sports programs, as is UAB for research expertise and infrastructure," said Harold Jones, Ph.D., dean of the UAB School of Health Professions (SHP). "The collaborative creates an environment in which together we can validate successful therapies, develop promising therapeutic strategies and disseminate the results to the world rehabilitation community."

Lakeshore Foundation's strengths lie in its wide range of fitness, recreation, athletic and educational programs for people with conditions such as spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, amputation and visual impairment. The Foundation also serves persons with arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, cardiac conditions and many other related disorders. Lakeshore is also an official U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Training Site providing athletes with access to sports science, on-site housing and a world-class facility. The Foundation also provides fitness, recreation and sports activities to severely injured military personnel through its Lima Foxtrot programs.

UAB has an established history of multi-disciplinary research initiatives, and has a strong track record of obtaining grant funding from the National Institutes of Health and other federal agencies. The School of Health Professions houses several disciplines key to the research collaborative, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, nutrition sciences and health administration. In addition, the UAB School of Engineering partners with SHP to develop more effective prosthetic devices and environmental designs that better the lives of individuals with chronic conditions and enable individuals to live as independently as possible.

"UAB has the academic strength and research organization to blend seamlessly with Lakeshore's innovative approaches to rehab," said Jones. "Together, we can do things that we could not otherwise achieve by working alone."

"This is a partnership that builds on the strengths of our two organizations," said Underwood. "UAB and Lakeshore working together can truly impact the world with regard to better outcomes for people with disability, so that people in our community and in the world will say, 'Because of this research, my life is better'."

About  Lakeshore Foundation

Lakeshore Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that promotes independence for persons with physically disabling conditions and provides opportunities to pursue active, healthy lifestyles. Lakeshore Foundation offers a wide range of fitness, recreation, athletic and education programs to children and adults with conditions including spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, amputation, and visual impairment. The Foundation also serves persons with arthritis, diabetes, chronic pain, cardiac conditions, and many other related disorders.

About UAB

Known for its innovative and interdisciplinary approach to education at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is an internationally renowned research university and academic medical center and the state of Alabama's largest employer with some 18,000 employees and an economic impact of more than $3 billion on the Birmingham area. UAB has been named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service to America's communities, and in 2008 ranked nationally as one of the top 5 "Best Places to Work in Academia" in a survey published by The Scientist magazine. For more information, please visit www.uab.edu.