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Shepherd Center Awarded Grant to Continue its More than 30-Year Legacy as a Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center

Shepherd Center is one of 14 federally designated SCIMS centers.

In its ongoing commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a five-year grant to Shepherd Center to continue its longtime status as a Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS). The department’s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), which sponsors the program, announced the designation of Shepherd Center as the Southeastern Regional SCIMS

Shepherd Center is one of 14 spinal cord injury treatment facilities in the United States to receive the designation in NIDILRR’s latest grant competition. NIDILRR awards the grants to institutions that are national leaders in medical research and patient care and provide the highest level of comprehensive specialty services from the point of injury through rehabilitation and re-entry into full community life. Shepherd Center has been designated a SCIMS since 1982, operating as the Southeastern Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center.

“Model Systems centers provide services to people with spinal cord injury that go beyond basic care,” said Edelle Field-Fote, PT, Ph.D., FAPTA, director of SCI Research and director, Shepherd Center SCIMS Program. “Shepherd Center has so many amazing programs that provide services far beyond the basics, including the Transition Support Program, the ProMotion gym, the lymphedema treatment program, Beyond Therapy® and recreation therapy, just to name a few. With all these great programs, it’s no wonder Shepherd Center consistently ranks so highly in this grant competition.”

Designation as an SCIMS Center provides many benefits for Shepherd Center patients with spinal cord injury. For example, the grant supports various research projects. Research funded by the new grant will investigate whether non-invasive brain stimulation can help improve walking ability in people with SCI who have limited walking function, Dr. Field-Fote said. In addition, Shepherd Center will collaborate with other SCIMS Centers on research projects.

“We are grateful for the input of many Shepherd Center employees who contributed information to the SCIMS grant application,” Dr. Field-Fote said. “We are also thankful for our patients, many of whom volunteer to participate in our research. We look forward to working with our patient volunteers in the 2016-2021 SCIMS grant cycle.”

For more information on SCIMS, visit People who are interested in participating in Shepherd Center research may complete an intake form found here to start the process.

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center, located in Atlanta, Georgia, is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in medical treatment, research and rehabilitation for people with spinal cord injury, brain injury, multiple sclerosis, spine and chronic pain, and other neuromuscular conditions. Founded in 1975, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report among the top 10 rehabilitation hospitals in the nation. In its more than four decades, Shepherd Center has grown from a six-bed rehabilitation unit to a world-renowned, 152-bed hospital that treats more than 743 inpatients, 277 day program patients and more than 7,161 outpatients each year in more than 46,000 visits.