Rancho selected for spinal cord program

Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center is the only facility in California and one of only two new hospitals selected nationally for the prestigious Spinal Cord Model Systems Program.Rancho, through its Los Amigos Research and Education Institute, is teaming with USC on the five year, $2.3 million contract to conduct research and disseminate best practices in the treatment of spinal cord injury. Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems are specialized programs of care that were created so that researchers can study and find ways to improve people's recovery (how much better they get) and outcomes (how well they do in all aspects of their lives) after a spinal cord injury. Model Systems improve medical, vocational and other rehabilitation services for people with spinal cord injuries so they can live full and productive lives in the community. They are called Model Systems because they have been specially selected by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to serve as models of the best treatments for people with spinal cord injury. Besides Rancho and USC, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital/Harvard University team in Massachusetts was the only other new addition to the Model Systems Program, which includes only 14 hospitals in the nation. "This is a major breakthrough for Rancho, and yet another recognition that our hospital continues to fulfill its destiny as one of the world's premier rehabilitation facilities," said Rancho Chief Executive Officer Jorge Orozco. Rancho has long been renowned not only for its clinical breakthroughs, but for its many special programs to help individuals with spinal cord injury and other disabling conditions to help build bridges to independent lives. These programs include The Art of Rancho, Performing Arts of Rancho, Don Knabe Pediatric Arts Program, Therapeutic Sports, Wheelchair Sports, Know Barriers Life Coaching, extensive Wellness Program offerings and many others. One of Rancho's most successful special programs for individuals with spinal cord injury, the annual Spinal Injury Games, will be held Friday on the Rancho campus. "These innovative special programs provide our patients with many opportunities to maximize their recovery from a spinal cord injury beyond what rehabilitation medicine alone can accomplish," Jorge said. "Adding the Spinal Cord Model Systems designation to our ongoing inpatient, outpatient and research efforts will be a huge plus for our patients." "Winning the Spinal Cord Model Systems competition represents a group effort of Rancho clinicians and researchers who remained loyal to Rancho during the difficult period surrounding the potential closure in 2003 and the DHS reorganization in which Rancho expanded its Medical/Surgical capacity," said Rancho Chief Medical Officer Mindy Aisen, MD. Rancho clinicians and researchers have continued to work closely with USC Departments of Trauma Surgery, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Engineering---collecting and analyzing data, writing papers and creating important new clinical programs such as the Patient Centered Medical Home for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury. "Notable contributors to the collaboration include Rancho Drs. Sara Mulroy, Philip Requejo and Yaga Szlachcic, USC Drs. Helena Chui, Demetrios Demetriades, Carolee Winstein, and Florence Clark, as well as many other leaders at both institutions," Dr. Aisen said. Rancho received a congratulatory call from Sen. Dianne Feinstein on achieving the Model Systems designation. Dr. Szlachcic will be attending a special meeting at the White House on Nov. 8 for hospitals selected for the Spinal Cord Model Systems designation. In addition to Rancho, other selectees included: •Shepherd Center (Atlanta) •Craig Hospital (Denver) •Thomas Jefferson Hospital (Philadelphia) •Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital (Boston) •Boston University •University of Alabama at Birmingham •Kessler Institute (West Orange, NJ) •Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago •University of of Michigan (Ann Arbor) •University of Kentucky (Lexington) •University of Miami •University of Pittsburgh •University of Washington (Seattle) "The Southern California Spinal Cord Injury Model System at Rancho is designed to optimally leverage the enhanced clinical and research capacities at Rancho," said Rancho's Dr. Requejo. "These have evolved from the fusion of a long legacy of clinical excellence and dedication to patient-focused research with the significant and positive growth at Rancho that has resulted from recent restructuring of services and utilization of available technologies. " "This funding from NIDRR places Rancho in the forefront of SCI rehabilitation research as it provides an infrastructure and environment for developing innovative rehabilitation strategies and technologies that enhance the lives of individuals with Spinal Cord Injury," he said. "Our Spinal Cord Injury Model System will have two primary functions: to enroll and follow subjects for a national database and to conduct a Spinal Cord Injury-focused research project," said Dr. Mulroy. "Rancho's research program is intended to generate new knowledge that will directly contribute to improving health and function and community participation for persons with Spinal Cord Injury by establishing evidence-based guidelines for prevention of shoulder pain," she said. "We will integrate the significant findings from our two-decade history of research in shoulder preservation during activities of daily living, wheelchair propulsion, transfers and raises, and ambulation with assistive devices," Dr. Requejo said. "We will identify predictors of successful prevention of shoulder pain to provide evidence-based guidelines for individualized treatment planning." Dr. Aisen put the latest Rancho accomplishment into perspective: "For more than five decades, Rancho has been a leader in treating Spinal Cord Injuries," she said. "Now, thanks to NIDRR and the Model System program, we will be working with our colleagues at USC and throughout the nation to continue to blaze new trails in research and treatment so that the patients in our medical home receive the best possible care as we continue to improve the Art and Science of Rehabilitation." For further information, call the Rancho Los Amigos Foundation at (562) 401-7053 or visit rancho.org, facebook.com/rancholosamigosrehab or twitter.com/ranchorehab.

********** Published: October 06, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 25