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International Exploration of Rehabilitation Length of Stay Following Spinal Cord Injury


Shirley Ryan AbilityLab has received a $4.2 million, 5-year grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to lead an international study exploring how differences in inpatient rehabilitation length of stay (LOS) after spinal cord injury (SCI) affect the experiences and long-term outcomes of people with SCI.

The project will be led by researchers in the Center for Rehabilitation Outcomes Research and will include collaborators in the United States, Australia, Canada, The Netherlands, Norway and the United Kingdom. 

To read the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab grant announcement click HERE

To read "From My Perspective," blog posts by people from around the world with spinal cord injury discussing their experiences with rehabilitation, click HERE

The goal of this project is to generate knowledge about variations in rehabilitation LOS and intensity and how these variations are associated with the experience and long-term outcomes of people with SCI.

The objectives are to conduct (A) a systematic review of the international research literature on acute and rehabilitation lengths of stay (LOS) and intensity following SCI, (B) comparative international research on international variations in acute care and medical rehabilitation LOS and intensity following SCI, and (C) comparative international research about the experiences and outcomes of people with SCI and compare groups with relatively short vs long LOS. Research activities will involve people with SCI and other key stakeholders and generate content for knowledge translation activities.

Anticipated outcomes are: (1) Health policy makers will have a contemporary evidence base to inform policy options, (2) Rehabilitation providers will have guidance on strategies to enhance functional outcomes and patient experiences, and (3) People with SCI and their caregivers will have access to information to guide rehabilitation choices.

The expected products are research publications and presentations, additional instrument summaries in the Rehabilitation Measures Database, and robust dissemination materials that target key stakeholders.

Investigators on the grant are:

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab:

  • Allen Heinemann, PhD, ABPP, FACRM (Project Director)
  • Anne Deutsch, PhD, RN (Co-Project Director)
  • Alex Wong, PhD, DPhil, OT, CRC (Co-I)
  • Linda Ehrlich-Jones, PhD, RN (Co-I)
  • Allison Kessler, MD (Co-I)
  • Manasi Sheth, PhD (Biostatistician)
  • Deborah Crown, MS, CRC (Research Manager)
  • Jennifer Burns (Project Manager)
  • Nicholas Formanski, (Project Coordinator)


  • Sherri LaVela, PhD, MPH, MBA, Research Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University; Senior Research Health Scientist at the Department of Veterans, Health Services Research and Development
  • Orit Almagor, Senior Statistical Analyst, Division of Rheumatology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Ashley Craig, PhD, Professor of Rehabilitation Studies, University of Sydney, Australia
  • Sara Ahmed, PhD, Associate Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Canada
  • Marcel Post, PhD, Professor, University of Groningen and Hoogstraat Rehabilitation, Center of Excellence in Rehabilitation Medicine, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • Jane Duff, PhD, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, United Kingdom
  • Tara Alexander,  Research Fellow, Australian Health Services Research Institute

Advisory Committee Members:

  • Xinsheng “Cindy” Cai, PhD, Principal Investigator and Project Director, Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, American Institutes for Research
  • Terrence Carolan, MS, Managing Director, Medical Rehabilitation, CARF International
  • Wouter De Groote, MD, Technical Advisor, World Health Organization Rehabilitation Programme
  • Janice Eng, PhD, PT, FCAHS, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation, Department of Physical Therapy, University of British Columbia and GF Strong Rehab Centre, Co-Director, Centre for Aging SMART at Vancouver Costal Health
  • Thea K. Flaum, PMP, President, Facing Disability, Hill Foundation for Families Living with Disabilities
  • Matthew Ginsberg-Jaeckle, MA, Director, Global Patient Services, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab
  • Suzanne L. Groah, MD, MSPH, Director, MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital Spinal Cord Injury Research Center; Chief, MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital SCI Rehabilitation & Recovery Program; President, American Spinal Cord Injury Association
  • Carlotte Kiekens, MD, Co-Director, Cochrane Rehabilitation; ISPRM-WHO Liaison Committee Chair
  • Ruth Marshall, MBBS, DPRM, President, International Spinal Cord Injury Society (ISCoS)
  • Jan Egil Nordvik, PhD, Project Manager, The Norwegian Directorate of Health
  • Vincenzo Piscopo, MS, MBA, President and CEO, United Spinal Association
  • Cheryl L. Vines, MS, Director, Research and Education, Paralyzed Veterans of America
  • Michael P. Whelan, person with a spinal cord injury
  • Yuying Chen, MD, PhD, Professor and Director of Research, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Alabama at Birmingham and Director, National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center

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