RRTC on SCI:
Promoting Health & Preventing Complications through Exercise

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Overview to the Rehabilitation Research & Training Center

In December 2003, a five year Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Secondary Prevention through Exercise in Individuals with Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) was established at the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH). This RRTC is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), a division of the U.S. Department of Education. The designation of the NRH RRTC by NIDRR provides a $4 million grant over a 5year period and allows NRH to further extend its research and training efforts.

This collaborative effort will team NRH clinicians and researchers with other experts in the field from the University of Miami School of Medicine/Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) Program at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR), the National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA) and its local Washington, D.C., metropolitan chapter, the Spinal Cord Injury Network (SCIN).

The focus of this RRTC is on further development of knowledge about and prevention of selected secondary conditions. The primary conditions studied will be cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis, although a wide range of other secondary conditions, such as respiratory dysfunction, urinary tract infection, depression, and pain, as well as quality of life, will be examined. We will also more intensely and specifically examine the effect of exercise and physical activity as a means to prevent certain secondary conditions after SCI.

While five of the researchbased projects planned through the RRTC will focus on knowledge about and/or prevention of selected secondary conditions that occur throughout the lifetime of an individual after incurring an SCI, four additional projects will focus on training. A unique element of the training component is that consumers with SCI will be involved extensively throughout the research, including but not necessarily limited to peer mentoring of individuals with both acute and more chronic SCI, as well as in the education of health care professionals, legislators, and others in SCIrelated fields.

National Rehabilitation Hospital's director of spinal cord injury research, Dr. Suzanne Groah, will be contributing her expertise as the center director, as well as leading the effort for several of the research projects. Thilo Kroll, PhD, a senior research associate at the NRH Center for Health and Disability Research, will bring his experience in the area of participatory action training and participatory action research through his leadership of the training projects and will also serve as coprincipal investigator for the Center. We are very excited about the potential impact of knowledge gained from activities in this RRTC directly on individuals with SCI, as well as for a broad range of others who are involved in the care and/or lives of individuals with SCI.

 
 

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The complete ILRU website was developed with support from grants from the Department of Education. However, its contents and the opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and no endorsement by the Department should be inferred. ILRU is a program of TIRR Memorial Hermann, a nationally recognized medical rehabilitation facility for persons with disabilities.

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ILRU at TIRR Memorial Hermann
TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center
1333 Moursund Street
Houston, TX 77030-3405

713.520.0232 (Voice/TTY) 713.520.5785 (Fax)
e-mail: ilru@ilru.org

Last Modified: 2-01-05