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MUSC eyes Kentucky model for spinal
cord injury program
Leading spinal cord injury experts seeking greater avenues for funding
research at MUSC are considering replicating programs established at
the University of Kentucky.
During the second South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund
(SCIRF) Scientific Conference, more than 60 physicians, researchers and
advocates from across South Carolina gathered at the Storm Eye
Institute Auditorium May 30 to learn how Kentucky established and
maintained its successful spinal and brain injury programs.
Kentucky, which has a similar socio-economic profile as South Carolina,
also has the nation’s most mature spinal cord injury program dating
back to 1997, and is funded in part by speeding tickets and court fees.
South Carolina’s eight-year-old program is funded through fines
collected from drunk driving offenses.
Dr. James Krause,
center, gathers with colleagues at the May 30 SCIRF conference.
The meeting was an opportunity for scientific directors to promote
research progress and education strategies to understand the cause of
paralysis, sensory loss and other effects of spinal cord injury and
disease. Established by the South Carolina legislature in 2000,
organizers conducted a seventh-round scientific review of SCIRF
projects and shared their conclusions.
Participants were welcomed by Brian G. Cuddy, M.D., SCIRF board
chairman; James Krause, Ph.D., associate dean for clinical research,
College of Health Professions and SCIRF scientific director; and Naren
Banik, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Neurosciences and SCIRF
associate scientific director.
The featured speaker was Edward Hall, M.D., Ph.D., director of the
Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, University of Kentucky
Hall discussed his state’s progress which included the establishment of
Kentucky’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust in 2002. Collaborations
with University of Louisville researcher Christopher Fields, M.D., and
Kentucky State Sen. Tim Shaughnessy led to the establishment of the
Kentucky Spinal Cord & Injury Research Trust, which funds programs
at the University of Louisville and at UK for neurotrauma research.
Findings from a 2007 special rehabilitation study of South Carolina
neurotrauma patients showed a lack of access to care and shortages in
adequate inpatient rehabilitation services for the state’s spinal cord
injury patients, according to David Murday, Ph.D., University of South
Carolina’s Arnold School of Public Health.
The study also found that only 8 percent of spinal-cord injury patients
receive adequate specialized care within accredited programs around the
state. The group is currently reviewing follow-up recommendations and
Sunil Patel, Ph.D., professor and clinical chair, Department of
Neurosciences was named SCIRF’s Phanor L. Perot, Jr., Endowed Chair in
Spinal Cord Injury Research.
“Our goals are to integrate research and develop satellite sites around
the state that can pinpoint dollars to specific areas and mandate
collabor-ation so we can work together to support ongoing research,”
said Krause, who is searching for new ways to maximize funding.
During a panel discussion on SCIRF, researchers discussed the
importance of sustaining and expanding research and funding options.
Progress in all efforts could be obtained through collaborative and
competitive research and pilot programs, which would be required to
obtain support from the National Institutes of Health funding, special
initiatives and recruitment. They also reviewed advantages to
collaboration and integrating statewide research through the
development of satellite sites with institutions and organizations.
Friday, July 4, 2008
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