MossRehab/MRRI Renewed as Model System for TBI

MossRehab’s Drucker Brain Injury Unit and the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI)—both part of Einstein Healthcare Network in Philadelphia—recently received their renewal grant for the 5th time from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to continue as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model System.

The highly competitive grant and classification as a Model System is earned for excellence in both the treatment and the research related to a particular disability. Specifically, a TBI Model System must demonstrate a strong track record of excellent clinical care and treatment, carrying out a program of research on outcome prediction and treatment, and having a superior record of publications, presentations and other knowledge dissemination and teaching on TBI rehabilitation.

Receiving the grant renewal for the fifth straight cycle means the MossRehab TBI Model System has been continuously funded since 1997, making the renowned facility one of only two to hold the designation continuously for 25 years. (The other is Ohio State University.)

“I am tremendously proud and gratified to be leading a fifth TBI Model System for MossRehab and Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute,” said Tessa Hart, Ph.D., director of the TBI Model System . “This award speaks to the continued excellence of our clinical care in the Drucker Brain Injury Unit at MossRehab, the cutting-edge research environment at MRRI, and most importantly, the superb collaboration among the research and clinical teams. We are all on the same team with the same goal, to improve the lives of people with traumatic brain injury and their families, and to keep pushing the boundaries of knowledge and treatment until everyone with brain injury achieves the best possible quality of life.”

Although the designation is a tip of the cap to the work being done at MossRehab’s TBI Model System, it’s the funding, first and foremost, that is most important.

“Being part of the Model System program for so long has provided us funding to work on challenges that affect people with TBI in a sustained manner,” said John Whyte, MD, PhD, director, Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute. With the continuous funding, we’ve been able to identify the biggest long-term challenges, to develop improved methods for measuring them and to understand who is at risk, and to develop new and innovative treatments to support recovery and return to the community.”

Research made possible by the TBI Model System funding recently includes conducting longitudinal research in collaboration with other premier centers across the nation–and local research– designed to improve TBI treatments and outcomes. Examples include investigating the effects of dextroamphetamine (DEX) on attention, engagement in therapy, cognitive and motor speed, and the overall rate of recovery, and collaborating with other facilities on studies of the natural history of headache after TBI, vocational treatments, and the effects of neighborhood characteristics on TBI outcomes.

Consumer-facing activities include an Advisory Council made up of treatment staff, former patients and members of their families, and community members who are helping to improve clinical services, research efforts, and educational/outreach activities; additional follow-up services to help better track patients who are out of the hospital to make sure they get the services they need; and running conferences in collaboration with other rehabilitation facilities and the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania for people with brain injury, their families, and professionals in the field.

The MossRehab TBI Model System includes patients with moderate to severe TBI, either penetrating or non-penetrating, who receive inpatient rehabilitation care at MossRehab and acute care at one of 4 local Trauma Centers. Participants receive on-going longitudinal follow-up and special opportunities for research participation. Patients with TBI who are not eligible for the TBIMS may also be invited to participate in research. Of course, the clinical continuum of care at the Drucker Center is available to all patients with TBI regardless of research participation.

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