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Kessler Foundation's Botticello wins grant to study community effects on rehabilitation outcomes

3-year grant from NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development totals $736,216

Kessler Foundation

West Orange, NJ. October 22, 2012. Amanda Botticello, PhD, MPH, research scientist in Outcomes & Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation, received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the role of environmental factors in rehabilitation outcomes in spinal cord injury. The 3-year grant (4R00HD065957-03) from NIH/ Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development totals $736,216.

This grant addresses disability prevention, a key priority for the fields of medical rehabilitation and public health. The role of community factors in outcomes is understudied in patient-oriented research, according to Dr. Botticello, particularly in medical rehabilitation populations such as spinal cord injury. "This grant will enable us to identify which factors on the community-level threaten the physical, psychological, and social gains achieved during rehabilitation," Dr. Botticello explained. "Lack of resources, socioeconomic disadvantage, and physical inaccessibility are among the factors that may contribute to greater risk for disability and health problems after spinal cord injury."

Dr. Botticello will use data from the NIDRR-funded National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center Database, an existing registry of more than 25,000 persons with traumatic SCI. This unique dataset combines clinical data with longitudinal follow-up information. Proposed research activities include the construction of a relational database using individual health information from 10 collaborating sites and a combination of geographic information systems (GIS) analysis and multilevel modeling. Scales will be developed that measure the physical, social, and economic dimensions of the environment. Multilevel analysis will help determine whether persons with SCI who live in aversive environments are at increased risk for social exclusion, functional decline and poor health. Targeting obstacles to successful long-term rehabilitation may help inform public policy for the promotion of improved functioning, well being, and inclusion of adults with acquired disabilities.

John DeLuca, PhD, vice president of Research and Training, commented: "Looking at the impact of community-level factors on rehabilitation outcomes is an important approach to improving the lives of people with disabilities. Dr. Botticello's work further extends the impact of Kessler Foundation's advances in cognitive and mobility research."

About Amanda L. Botticello, Ph.D., MPH

Dr. Botticello investigates community effects on health outcomes following traumatic injury, the impact of health disparities, and the role of social factors in the disabling process. Using social epidemiological research methods, Dr. Botticello analyzes information from large clinical samples, community-based probability samples, and administrative databases. She currently has a R00 career development award from the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. A research scientist at Kessler Foundation, she is also a co-investigator in the Foundation's Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury Model System, one of 14 centers funded by NIDRR to conduct demonstration projects and longitudinal follow-up for spinal cord injury. Dr. Botticello collaborates with colleagues in spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke and neuroscience research; she is an assistant professor of physical medicine & rehabilitation at University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-New Jersey Medical School.

Dr. Botticello's most recent publication is Botticello AL, Chen Y, Tulsky DS. Geographic variation in participation for physically disabled adults: the contribution of area economic factors to employment after spinal cord injury. Soc Sci Med. 2012 Oct;75(8):1505-13.


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.

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