Public Release: 

Dr. Botticello receives Neilsen Foundation Grant to improve spinal cord injury outcomes

Amanda Botticello, PhD, MPH, of Kessler Foundation was awarded a $400,000 grant to study the influence of physical environments on long-term outcomes following SCI

Kessler Foundation


IMAGE: Dr. Botticello is a senior research scientist in Spinal Cord Injury & Outcomes Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation. view more 

Credit: Kessler Foundation

East Hanover, NJ - March 9, 2018 - Amanda Botticello, PhD, MPH, has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation to observe community activity spaces in order to better understand the influence of the environment on participation behavior among people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Research indicates that the physical environment, that is, places where individuals work and reside - is a key social determinant of health and disability.

The goal of this three-year project is to understand where and how daily activity outside the home occurs from the perspective of people living with severe mobility impairments. Participants will use Smartphones equipped with an application that logs community locations with GPS and an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) survey that logs participant activity. The application will capture individual resources, motivations, and strategies, as well as community supports and barriers.

"The information collected in this study will enable us to better understand how people with SCI have adjusted to life after injury and the role that the environment plays in their daily lives," explained Dr. Botticello, senior research scientist in SCI and Outcomes & Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation. "We anticipate that these data will help guide the development of health promotion programs," she added, "which will improve community reintegration for people with SCI who are at risk for social isolation."

Investigators plan to enroll 30 individuals with SCI to assist with Smartphone data collection. Results of this research may be used to inform policy-makers on community features that drive public health and provide greater accessibility for people with disabilities.


To learn more about this study, and other research opportunities at Kessler Foundation, contact

About SCI and Outcomes & Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation is one of the most active centers for SCI Research in the country. Under the leadership of Trevor Dyson-Hudson, MD, and Steven Kirshblum, MD, scientists conduct investigator-initiated and industry-sponsored studies and clinical trials in SCI and Outcomes & Assessment Research. Drs. Dyson-Hudson and Kirshblum co-direct the Northern New Jersey SCI System, one of 14 model systems in the nation, which provides a continuum of care, research, and outreach aimed at improving the lives of people with SCI.

Research funding sources include the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living & Rehabilitation Research, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Defense, the Veterans Administration, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, New Jersey Commission for SCI Research, Derfner Foundation, and Kessler Foundation. Foundation scientists have faculty appointments at Rutgers University; selected researchers are affiliated faculty at NJIT.

About Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation's funding is dedicated to supporting both programs and scientific research to improve the quality of life for those affected by and living with spinal cord injury. Craig H. Neilsen established the Foundation in 2002 to award grants to a broad spectrum of charities, including those that benefit spinal cord injury efforts. Today, the vision of the Foundation is such that individuals with spinal cord injuries, and those who care for them, live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities. Learn more by visiting

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.

Learn more by visiting

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Carolann Murphy, PA; 973-324-8382;

Laura Viglione, MS; 973-32303675;

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