WASHINGTON —U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-8), founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, announced today a $2.2 million grant through the U.S. Department of Education to Kessler Foundation. The five-year grant will fund comprehensive rehabilitation services for people who have sustained traumatic brain injuries.
“Today’s grant to the Kessler Foundation from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research is a testament to the quality of the institution and the strength of the application," said Rep. Pascrell. "As co-chair of the Congressional Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force, I know the importance of coordinated medical care when responding to a TBI, and the critical role rehabilitation plays in recovery. Kessler Foundation continues to be one of the only facilities to be both a Center of Excellence for both Traumatic Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury in the country, and this grant reflects their leadership in the field.”
“We were delighted to receive the call from Congressman Pascrell this morning to notify us that Kessler Foundation was once again selected as one of the few model systems in the nation that sets a standard of care for individuals whose lives were changed by traumatic brain injury,” said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “Dr. Chiaravalloti and her team have worked tirelessly to conduct groundbreaking research to help people with brain injury live better lives. I also want to thank Congressman Pascrell for his ongoing support of Kessler Foundation and being a champion in the TBI community, including veterans and young people who sustain head trauma in youth sports.”
The grant to Kessler Foundation is administered through the Department of Education’s Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Program, sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. Dr. Nancy Chiaravalloti, Ph.D., director of TBI and Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research at Kessler Foundation, will serve as director for the project. She is also an associate professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark (UMDNJ).
This grant funds the Northern New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury System (NNJTBIS), a comprehensive system of care, research, education and dissemination aimed at improving quality of life for people with TBI. The NNJTBIS is a cooperative effort of Kessler Foundation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, UMDNJ, Hackensack University Medical Center, Saint Joseph’s Medical Center and Morristown Memorial Hospital. Kessler Foundation is now one of six centers in the nation with dual model systems in TBI and spinal cord injury.
NNJTBIS collects patient data from the time of injury through long-term follow-up, which is contributed to the National TBI Statistical Center. Data are used to identify areas where investigation is needed.
Kessler will study how to improve thinking, learning and memory in people with TBI to improve daily function. Researchers will also examine ways to minimize daytime fatigue and improve task initiation. Using advanced neuroimaging techniques, researchers can observe how the brain changes and what parts become more active over the course of treatment. Through tests and virtual reality assessments, individuals are also tested before and after treatment to discover how function improves.
In 2013, Kessler Foundation plans to open a neuroimaging center to advance research. It will be one of the few neuroimaging centers in the country dedicated solely to medical rehabilitation research.
In order to protect athletes and our soldiers from TBI, Rep. Pascrell has introduced the following legislation:
• The Concussion Treatment and Care Tools (ConTACT), which directs CDC to convene a conference of medical, athletic, and education stakeholders to establish model concussion management guidelines;
• The Children’s Sports Athletic Equipment Act, which helps ensure that new and reconditioned football helmets for younger athletes meet higher safety standards to address concussion, and that the claims made to parents about their child's helmets are indeed true, and;
• The Traumatic Brain Injury Act, which is the authorizing legislation for TBI state infrastructure and the TBI protection & advocacy grant programs at HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the public education/awareness and data efforts at CDC’s Division of Injury Response.
About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation is one of the largest public charities in the field of disability. Kessler Foundation Research Center focuses on improving function and quality of life for persons with injuries of the spinal cord and brain, stroke, multiple sclerosis and other chronic neurological conditions. Kessler Foundation Program Center fosters new approaches to the persistently high rates of unemployment among people disabled by injury or disease. Targeted grantmaking funds promising programs across the nation. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, people recovering from catastrophic injuries and stroke, and young adults striving for independence are among the thousands of people finding jobs and training for careers as a result of the commitment of Kessler Foundation. Find us at KesslerFoundation.org