Emory Report

January 25, 1999

 Volume 51, No. 17

Rehab medicine, Shepherd Center get brain injury grant

Emory and Shepherd Center have been awarded a $1.38 million grant from the National Institutes on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to fund the Georgia Model Brain Injury System (GAMBIS). The collaboration provides an important opportunity to initiate and participate in research related to the causes, prevalence and treatment of traumatic brain injury in Georgia.

"Emory is proud to partner with Shepherd Center on this initiative," said Anthony Stringer, principal investigator and associate professor in the department of rehabilitation medicine. "No comparable system of resources for people with brain injuries exists within one organization anywhere else in the southeastern United States." Shepherd's Michael Jones is co-director of the study along with Stringer.

NIDRR established the nationwide Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems in 1987 to examine the course of recovery and outcomes following brain injury. Each center provides a coordinated system of emergency care, acute neurotrauma management, comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation and long-term interdisciplinary follow-up services. GAMBIS is one of only 17 model centers for traumatic brain injury in the nation.

GAMBIS begins with trauma care provided by Grady Memorial Health System, Piedmont Hospital and the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Patients who agree to receive rehabilitation within GAMBIS are then admitted to either the Emory Hospitals Center for Rehabilitation Medicine or to Shepherd Center for comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation addressing the medical, physical, cognitive, psychological, vocational and community reintegration needs of the patient.

GAMBIS's clinical data collection, analysis and management is supported and maintained by the data management resources of Emory and the Crawford Research Institute of Shepherd Center, which will house the GAMBIS database and data management staff.

"GAMBIS is an important addition to the model systems program," Jones said. "The information we will share with the other centers provides important data to develop and demonstrate the best possible methods for the care and rehabilitation of people with traumatic brain injury."

In 1997, the hospitals treated a combined 393 patients with traumatic brain injury. Annually 260,000 Americans are hospitalized as a result of a brain injury; it affects approximately 6,700 Georgians a year, its most common causes being automobile accidents, falls and violence, including gunshot wounds.

Shepherd Center is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in the care of people with spinal cord injury and disease, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular disorders, and urological problems. The continuum of services for people with brain injuries includes acute and sub-acute inpatient care, inpatient rehabilitation, hospital and community-based rehab programs, home and community-based transitional living services and long-term supported living.

The Center for Rehabilitation Medicine is a 56-bed facility that since 1976 has been dedicated to the prevention, identification and treatment of disabling injuries and illnesses with a focus on research and education. The center offers inpatient and outpatient services to individuals suffering from stroke, neuromuscular disease, spinal cord injury, arthritis, orthopaedic conditions, and other injuries or conditions that cause loss of function or ability.

--Diana Lewis

Return to Jan. 25, 1999, contents page