Jefferson University Hospitals

Magee & Jefferson Receive Over Two Million Dollars to Continue Serving as Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley


The Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center of the Delaware Valley (RSCICDV), a partnership between the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital and Magee Rehabilitation Hospital has been re-funded through a five-year $2,380,000 Model Spinal Cord Injury System grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a division of the U.S. Department of Education.

Established by John F. Ditunno, Jr., MD, former chairman and professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Jefferson, the RSCICDV’s clinical activities are directed at promoting evidence-based practice, understanding the particular needs of the spinal cord injury population and providing them with individualized lifetime follow up specialty care.

The RSCICDV has been continuously funded since 1979 and is only one of 14 in the country.

“This new grant will allow us to continue to provide and evaluate our comprehensive program of lifesaving rehabilitation research, education and a coordinated system of care for patients with a traumatic spinal cord injury,” said Ralph J. Marino, MD, current director of the RSCICDV and professor in the department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University.

“The services provided by the SCI Model System of Care also carry over to those provided to persons with all types of spinal cord dysfunction and related neurological disorders, and encompass activities provided throughout our inpatient and outpatient programs,” stated Mary Schmidt Read, PT, DPT, MS, Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Programs at Magee Rehabilitation.

Over the next five years the Center will enroll more than 50 patients per year into the National Spinal Cord Injury Longitudinal Database, service other patients whose injuries are not traumatic in nature, and participate in collaborative research projects with the 13 other funded centers. The RSCICDV’s research activities are designed to provide ongoing data about the people it serves, including information on their medical issues, and outcomes related to their life and function following spinal cord injury as part of the National SCI Longitudinal Database. The Center will also seek to determine the effectiveness of an early drug intervention to prevent bone loss after SCI.  In addition, students from the Departments of Occupational and Physical Therapy at Jefferson will conduct semi-structured interviews of older persons with incomplete cervical SCI, contributing to the research efforts and providing the students with an opportunity to participate in clinical research activities.

The presence of the RSCICDV has created numerous opportunities to secure additional funding for SCI research by faculty in the Departments of Neurological Surgery, Orthopedics, Radiology and more at Jefferson and Magee.

Co-investigators on the new award include Christina Oleson, MD, Thomas Jefferson University; Guy Fried, MD and Mary Schmidt-Read, PT, DPT, MS, Magee Rehabilitation Hospital; Christopher Modlesky, PhD, University of Delaware; Stephen Kern, PhD, OTR/L and Susan Duff, PhD, PT, OTR/L, Jefferson College of Health Professions; and Benjamin Leiby, PhD, Division of Biostatistics, Thomas Jefferson University.

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