Get to Know Shepherd's World-Renowned SCI Research Institute

There are many things the Shepherd Center is known for – great SCI rehabilitation, quality adaptive sports programs - but one thing you may not know about Shepherd is its Virginia C. Crawford Research Institute. Created in the early 1980s, the Shepherd Center's research institute is one of the busiest in the country. With over 700 active projects, research by Shepherd focuses on spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and multiple sclerosis.

While many people think of ‘research’ as a method to developing new treatments, drugs, and surgical techniques to cure spinal cord injuries, etc., research at Shepherd also works to improve the cost-effectiveness of clinical services. They conduct research that documents the long-term effectiveness of rehabilitation as well so that they can better serve people who sustain spinal cord injuries in the future.

For patients at Shepherd, this is also a rare opportunity not often available at most rehabilitation facilities, as most of the people who take part in their clinical trials are patients of Shepherd. But it is not just the clinical trials that makeup Shepherd’s research institute. Read on to discover why their research center is one of the most robust neurological research institutions in the country. 

Current Research at Shepherd

With over 700 projects that one day may develop into a life-changing clinical trial, Shepherd’s research includes a wide variety of projects for people with neurological impairments. Shepherd maintains a list of their current projects, which are in the following categories: spinal cord injury research, brain injury research, stroke research, pain management research, neuropsychology research, multiple sclerosis research, and assistive technology research. 

Many of these projects are funded by sponsors of Shepherd and are led by various researchers, students, and doctors from hundreds of different institutions and schools throughout the country. Click here to see Shepherd’s active research projects (as of September 2019) at the Virginia C. Crawford Research Institute: 

Shepherd also has a partnership with Microsoft. Called the Accessibility User Research Collective, it is a research project that recruits people with disabilities across the US and has them participate in various usability studies conducted by Microsoft where they receive participation incentives. This program was created to help shape the future accessibility of Microsoft’s technology. You can learn more about the Accessibility User Research Collective here: 

Chronic SCI Research

A spinal cord regeneration drug called AXER-204 may promote nerve growth in people with spinal cord injuries. Shepherd has a chronic SCI study called the RESET Trial that is currently recruiting people with chronic spinal cord injuries to test this drug This is another rare opportunity at Shepherd that gives people with chronic spinal cord injuries the chance to take part in a clinical trial. Click here to see if you are eligible: 

If you are interested in taking part in a study at Shepherd, you can easily find out if you're eligible for any of their studies by completing one of their intake forms. You can find their online intake form here: 

Learn more: 

Brain Injury Association of Florida, Inc.


Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Brain Injuries, Assistive Technology, Shepherd Center

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