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New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Focus on Stroke Rehabilitation

Monday, May 20, 2019

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), Burke Neurological Institute, and Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have been awarded a $5 million grant from the Empire State Development Corporation to speed the development of ground-breaking neurological treatments for those disabled from stroke.

The project is a part of the NeuroCuresNY (NCNY) initiative, a new non-profit formed by the three institutions to accelerate the discovery of novel treatments for chronic neurological impairment and disability. The new state funding will support a two-year pilot study that will be launched in January 2020. This study design will be unique because it will test the efficacy of state-of-the-art robotic-assisted rehabilitation technology combined with drugs to improve the functional recovery of stroke patients.

Neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury permanently disable more than one million people each year in the U.S., and stroke is the nation’s leading cause of disability. Clinical trials for neurological disabilities and impairments are usually passed over because of unclear results, high costs, and challenges in recruiting participants. NCNY will seek to lower the barriers to participation in clinical trials by assisting with travel funding for patients, while providing a supportive and guiding environment for patients and their families.

Clinical and research faculty from URMC Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation will collaborate with the UR Neurorestoration Institute during the pilot study.

Read More: New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Focus on Stroke Rehabilitation

From Employee Education to Expanded Services, PM&R’s Brain Injury Efforts Grow

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation hosted its second annual Brain Injury Symposium May 8-10 for faculty and staff; the training is part of its long-term plan to expand its service line for complex brain injuries and become a regional resource for care. Long known for its stroke rehab services, PM&R is working to leverage URMC’s role as a Level 1 regional trauma center and introduce services for brain disorders caused by trauma, as well as organic causes.

In recent years PM&R has enhanced brain injury services and expanded/renovated its patient care areas to retain these patients for the duration of their care. These efforts are being led by faculty who specialize in complex brain injury and its physical/psychological impacts, including Heather M. Ma, M.D., M.S.Eric Morrison, M.D., M.Sc.Renee L. Madathil,Ph.D. and Amy Pacos-Martinez, Psy.D.

With the proposed addition of a neurorehabilitation unit in the future, the department has focused on a training plan. It benchmarked the Northeast Center for Rehabilitation and Brain Injury in Lake Katrine, NY, which serves patients at all stages of injury and uses a highly patient-centered, transdisciplinary approach to care. Future site visits will include trips to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston and Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago.

PM&R’s Brain Injury Symposium was a department-wide approach to educate faculty and staff about brain injury. Everyone from administrative assistants to RNs, MDs, participated in group learning exercises.

Organized by Madathil, the symposium included presentations by internal speakers including Ma, Morrison, and members of PM&R’s Integrative Cognitive Rehab Program, directed by Pacos-Martinez. Additionally, former rehab patients and family members participated in a Q-and-A session to share their insights on treatment and their experiences during and after rehab.

PM&R’s plans for growth will continue. Over the next several months the department will:

  • Broaden the scope of training and build department-wide expertise in treating patients with more complex brain injuries
  • Dedicate a service line to patients with significant cognitive impairments
  • Plan major renovations in FY21 to meet the needs of patients with increased cognitive and behavioral needs.