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Research Updates:

Partnering with universities to develop new technologies

Craig Hospital is privileged to be partnering with academia in the Denver Metro area for the betterment of our patients.

Currently the Colorado School of Mines engineering students are working with our rehab engineering department and our occupational therapists to identify projects that could be developed for increased quality of life for the people we serve. They already have improved designs of existing equipment for maximum performance.

The University of Denver School of Engineering and Computer Science is also working with an interdisciplinary team at Craig Hospital to identify ways we can increase environmental comfort, decreased burden of care, decreased pain, and improve the care we provide our patients. These projects range from virtual reality settings for therapy to better skin management techniques. They are also looking at different “apps” that could assist with structure and routine for our patients after they leave the hospital. With current possibilities, the ideas are endless! The list below is just a few of the ideas generated at our initial brainstorming sessions:

  • Expanding Eyewriter technology for bedrest patients/high patients with tetraplegia
  • Sip-and-puff wheelchair simulator for bedrest patients to start learning to drive
  • Recreation devices with alternative control and more advanced control (hunting, fishing, pool, roping)
  • Adjustable laptop holders for hospital beds and beds at home 
  • Basic, reliable, reasonably priced voice-activated environmental controls for lighting and TV
  • iPad/iPhone/touchscreen access 
  • Economical switches to access computers
  • Fall prevention technologies 
  • Technology to reduce skin issues
  • Technology for bladder pressure monitoring
  • Technology for early identification of DVT
  • Call alarm systems for non-vocal patients
  • Technology for bedside hydration
  • Neuropathic pain management 
  • Air cast continuous pressure to manage spasticity
  • Technology to decrease shoulder or neck pain/subluxation
  • New generations of the sip-and-puff fishing poles

New TBI grant funding

The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center: October 1, 2011–September 30, 2016. Funded by: US Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The TBINDSC manages the TBI National Database and provides technical assistance, training, and methodological consultation to 16 centers and four follow-up sites as they collect and analyze longitudinal data from people with TBI in their communities, and as they conduct research toward evidence-based TBI rehabilitation interventions.

Social Competence and Traumatic Brain Injury: August 1, 2011–July 31, 2015. Funded by: Department of Defense–Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Craig Hospital serves as lead center and data coordinating center collaborating with five other sites (University of Washington, Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana, Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, and the VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers at Richmond, Va., and Palo Alto, Calif.).

Treatment of Social Competence in Military Veterans, Service Members and Civilians with TBI. This two-arm, multi-center randomized controlled clinical trial is designed to determine the effectiveness of a manualized group treatment intervention to improve social competence after TBI.

Anger Self-Management Training: August 1, 2011–January 31, 2016. Funded by: the National Institutes of Health–National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research. This grant was awarded to MossRehab with subcontracts to Craig Hospital as a clinical site and the data coordinating center, and University of Washington as a clinical site. This is a two-arm, multi-center randomized controlled clinical trial designed to test the efficacy of a treatment to decrease the subjective and objective components of anger and irritability after TBI.

Gale WhiteneckDr. Whiteneck delivers 34th annual John S. Young, MD Lecture

Dr. Whiteneck delivers 34th annual John S. Young, MD Lecture

Gale Whiteneck, PhD, FACRM, Craig's director of research, delivered an outstanding lecture on October 15, 2010, to a packed house. Dr.Whiteneck reviewed the history of SCI and TBI research in the U.S. and at Craig dating back to Dr. John Young in the '50s and '60s. He described the department's values, our 15 separate grants and 24 projects, and future research goals at Craig. The research department currently includes 24 staff and$3.5 million in grant funding from various sources. For a complete list of current projects, see

Thanks, Gale, for all of your years of service, your stature within the international field, and your friendship.

Susie Charlifue to chair scientific committee

Susie Charlifue, PhD, research principal investigator in Craig’s research department, has been named chair of the scientific committee of the International Spinal Cord Society where she is also a member of the editorial and education committees. Susie has worked at Craig for 33 years — since 1976. She is a co-principal investigator for the SCI Model System in addition to coordinating several SCI research clinical trials. Since 1990 she has managed and completed six major investigations of aging with SCI in the U.S. and Great Britain. Susie serves on the executive committee of International Data Sets and on the steering committee for the Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine. She also serves on the editorial boards for the journals Spinal Cord and Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, and is a board member of the Colorado Traumatic Brain Injury Trust Fund.