University of Pittsburgh to Lead SCI Study

The University of Pittsburgh and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) have announced they will lead a five-year project that seeks to ultimately improve the lives of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI).

According to a news announcement, the study "will use Internet-based training and group sessions to hone the skills of wheelchair use and prevent wheelchair failures."

More than 500 participants at four different locations will take part in the study, which the news announcement called one of the largest studies of its kind.

Also participating in the project are Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System; Midwest Regional Spinal Cord Injury Care System; University of Miami Miller School of Medicine's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine; and The Miami Project.

Michael Boninger, M.D., professor and chair of Pitt School of Medicine's department of physical medicine & rehabilitation, said of the study, "This grant will start to tackle problems related to insurance cutbacks that have negatively impacted individuals with spinal cord injuries. Because they spend less time in the hospital after their injuries, they never learn how to effectively use and maintain their wheelchairs. We need an effective, low-cost way to provide people with training that maximizes their independence. This study tackles that problem."

The $4.5 million grant comes from the National Institute for Disability & Rehabilitation Research.

About the Author

Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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