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Spinal Cord Injury: Progress, Promise, and Priorities
lence in health care for individuals with spinal cord injuries and provides seed grant funds to researchers through its G. Heiner Sell Research and Education Fund and Erica Nader Award.
A number of organizations are also active in education and prevention efforts. These include the Think First National Injury Prevention Foundation, founded by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons. This program is dedicated to injury prevention policy and public education efforts. The next section highlights the efforts of a few nonprofit organizations dedicated to furthering spinal cord injury research.
American Paraplegia Society
Established in 1954, the American Paraplegia Society (APS) uses several mechanisms to disseminate research findings to clinicians and basic scientists. For example, since 1994, APS has provided seed grants to relatively new investigators who use the funds to develop preliminary data to secure future funding (APS, 2004c). APS, which “fosters a multi-specialty approach to prevention, clinical care, basic science, and technology research in the management of [spinal cord injuries]” (APS, 2004b), holds annual conferences to foster communication between clinicians and researchers, provides awards for practitioners who have made significant contributions in the spinal cord injury field, and publishes the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine (APS, 2004a).
Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
The American Paralysis Association, established in 1982, merged with the Christopher Reeve Foundation to form the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation (CRPF) in 1999 to support groundbreaking research in spinal cord injuries. Since the organization’s founding 22 years ago, it has distributed more than $40 million in research grants (CRPF, 2003) in the form of individual research grants, center grants, and quality-of-life grants (CRPF, 2004b). Since 1997, CRPF has funded 260 individual research grants and has provided a total of nearly $20 million in research funding (CRPF, 2004a). CRPF established the Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury in 1995 to bring together international experts to develop and discuss research priorities and interlaboratory studies. CRPF is active in advocating for spinal cord injury research, hosting meetings to increase research collaborations, and improving patient knowledge and awareness of research resources.