Atlanta, GA,
16:51 PM

Shepherd Center Once Again Named a Spinal Cord Injury Model System

Neurorehabilitation hospital has been a grantee for nearly 40 years.

The Administration for Community Living’s (ACL) National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) recently awarded a five-year grant to Shepherd Center to continue its nearly 40-year tenure as a Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS). 

The SCIMS program is the largest network of research centers devoted to spinal cord injuries (SCI) in the world. 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 through rehabilitation and re-entry into full community life. This network creates opportunities for critical collaboration between SCI clinicians and researchers from across the United States and allows investigators to generate sample sizes that are adequate for developing and testing a wide variety of interventions. Shepherd Center has been designated a SCIMS since 1982, operating as the Southeastern Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center.

“It is an honor to be designated as a Spinal Cord Injury Model System, and I am so grateful for my many colleagues at Shepherd Center who contributed to our successful application,” said Edelle Field-Fote, PT, Ph.D., FAPTA, director of SCI research and director, Shepherd Center SCIMS Program. “From our innovative clinical programs and donor-funded programs like recreation therapy and family housing to opportunities to participate in world-class research, Shepherd Center continues to provide outstanding care and services to people with SCI and their families that go well beyond basic care.”

Since its origin 51 years ago, the SCIMS program has evolved into a national network of SCI clinical centers that collaborate on multi-site research efforts and longitudinally track the experiences and outcomes of people with SCI. A clinical center’s comprehensive SCI service delivery system is a prerequisite for receiving a SCIMS Center grant to conduct high-quality research to improve services and outcomes for people with SCI. 

“Shepherd Center is committed to innovation, research and programs that improve our patients’ quality of life,” said Deborah Backus, PT, Ph.D., FACRM, vice president of research and innovation at Shepherd Center. “Through the years as a model system, Shepherd Center has developed and tested many approaches that are now part of programs offered to patients at Shepherd Center and other institutions throughout the country.”

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

About Shepherd Center

Shepherd Center provides world-class clinical care, research, and family support for people experiencing the most complex conditions, including spinal cord and brain injuries, multi-trauma, traumatic amputations, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and pain. An elite center recognized as both Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, Shepherd Center is ranked by U.S. News as one of the nation’s top hospitals for rehabilitation. Shepherd Center treats thousands of patients annually with unmatched expertise and unwavering compassion to help them begin again.