MINNEAPOLIS/ST. PAUL (10/21/2021) — The University of Minnesota Medical School recently received funding to be the prime site for a spinal cord injury Center for Excellence through an interdisciplinary team in the upper Midwest. The grant — Minnesota Spinal Cord Injury Model System (MN SCIMS) — aims to provide a multidisciplinary continuum of clinical care for people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), which will also be used to base and expand research on SCI. 

“MN SCIMS will solidify the functional collaboration between Minnesota health care experts and bring us together as a tightly knit center to be a regional platform for research, clinical and training of clinicians,” said Leslie Morse, DO, a professor of rehabilitation medicine, physiatrist, and project manager with the U of M Medical School and M Health Fairview.

According to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, there are approximately 17,000 new SCI cases each year, and since 2015, about 30% of people with SCI have been re-hospitalized one or more times during any given year following injury. Aligning with the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehab Research (NIDILRR), MN SCIMS is one of 14 recipients in the U.S. that received $2.2 million over five years to research SCI and educate local physicians on their findings. 

In Minnesota, MN SCIMS will:

  • Utilize existing clinical care to educate Minnesota physicians;

  • Collect data to inform long-term care after surgery and identify social determinants of health of long-term function; and,

  • Maximize health care for those with SCI in Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In addition to providing care, MN SCIMS is a model system center that will conduct one study among the Minnesota Regional SCIMS. This study is a randomized controlled trial of brivaracetam (a medication to control seizures) to reduce below-level neuropathic pain. As a center grant, the researchers plan to contribute to the largest national longitudinal database on outcomes after traumatic SCI.

MN SCIMS is a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional center that brings together local health care experts from the U of M Medical School and the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, M Health Fairview, Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, Mayo Clinic, HealthPartners Regions Hospital and Hennepin Healthcare.


About the University of Minnesota Medical School
The University of Minnesota Medical School is at the forefront of learning and discovery, transforming medical care and educating the next generation of physicians. Our graduates and faculty produce high-impact biomedical research and advance the practice of medicine. We acknowledge that the U of M Medical School, both the Twin Cities campus and Duluth campus, is located on traditional, ancestral and contemporary lands of the Dakota and the Ojibwe, and scores of other Indigenous people, and we affirm our commitment to tribal communities and their sovereignty as we seek to improve and strengthen our relations with tribal nations. For more information about the U of M Medical School, please visit med.umn.edu

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