Media Alert: Progress in Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) Symposium and Press Conference

WHEN:          Feb. 13, 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Press Conference from 1 – 1:45 p.m.

WHERE:        Empire State Convention Center, Rooms 2 and 3, S. Mall Arterial, Albany, NY

DETAILS:     Spinal cord injury researchers and clinical leaders, advocates and patients will come together on Wednesday to discuss and emphasize the need to reinstate spinal cord injury research funding in New York State.

Since its inception in 1998, New York’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) has been funded through a small surcharge on moving violations. As automobile accidents account for many spinal cord injuries, this funding mechanism is appropriate and vital. Since then, SCIRP provided $70 million toward developing treatments for spinal cord injury.

But in 2010, all of the revenue derived from the surcharge was diverted from spinal cord research to the general fund and used to pay the state’s operating bills instead of research projects. This violates the spirit of the law created for spinal cord injury relief and the profound wishes of advocates and patients. It undercuts the decision the state and people of New York made in 1998 to make a long-term and sustained investment in neuroscience research for spinal cord injury.

Leaders in the field of spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation, including Rajiv R. Ratan, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Burke Medical Research Institute (BMRI); Paul Richter who initiated the effort to establish SCIRP; and Caitlin Hill, Ph.D., director of Spinal Cord Injury Preclinical Studies at BMRI, will join forces at the symposium to urge New York State to reinstate this essential funding stream.

During the press conference, members of the New York State Legislature and spinal cord injury research advocates Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D.; David Carmel, former member of the NYS Cord Injury Research Board; and Capt. Boyd Melson also will discuss this vital support for paralysis research.

Dr. Ratan from Burke Medical Research Institute, which strongly supports SCIRP, will be available for interviews before and after the symposium. To schedule an interview with Dr. Ratan or any other Burke scientists involved in spinal cord research at the symposium, please contact the Burke Marketing department:

  • Richard Sgaglio at 914-597-2491 (office), 914-471-7070 (cell) or rsgaglio@burke.org; or
  • Jorina Fontelera at 914-597-2877 (office), 914-609-5451 (cell) or jfontelera@burke.org.

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About Us

The Burke Rehabilitation Center has been a leader in rehabilitation for nearly 100 years. Its three divisions -- the inpatient hospital, the Outpatient Division and the Burke Medical Research Institute -- share the mission to ensure that every patient makes the fullest possible recovery from a debilitating illness or injury. The 150-bed hospital opened in 1915 and is accredited by the Joint Commission and CARF. The institute opened in 1968 and is academically affiliated with Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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Spinal cord injury research advocates urge New York State Legislature to reinstate research funding.
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Spinal Cord Injury Research Program funding has been diverted from spinal cord research to the general fund and used to pay the state’s operating bills instead of research projects.
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Burke Medical Research Institute strongly supports SCIRP to be used for paralysis research instead of filling the state's budget deficit.
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