Sarah Goodwin

Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
January 27, 1999


NIDRR Grant Establishes the Georgia Model Brain Injury System

Emory University and Shepherd Center have been awarded a $1.38 million grant from the National Institutes on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to fund the Georgia Model Brain Injury System (GAMBIS). The collaboration provides an important opportunity to initiate and participate in research related to the causes, prevalence and treatment of traumatic brain injury in Georgia.

"Emory is proud to partner with Shepherd Center on this initiative," says Anthony Stringer, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study and associate professor in Emory University's department of rehabilitation medicine. "No comparable system of resources for people with brain injuries exists within one organization anywhere else in the southeastern United States." Shepherd's Michael L. Jones, Ph.D., is co-director of the study along with Stringer.

NIDRR established the nationwide Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Model Systems in 1987 to examine the course of recovery and outcomes following TBI. Each center provides a coordinated system of emergency care, acute neurotrauma management, comprehensive inpatient rehabilitation and long-term interdisciplinary follow-up services. GAMBIS is one of only 17 model centers for TBI in the nation.

GAMBIS begins with trauma care provided by Grady Memorial Health System, Piedmont Hospital and the Medical Center of Central Georgia. Patients who agree to receive rehabilitation within GAMBIS are then admitted to either the Emory Hospitals Center for Rehabilitation Medicine or to Shepherd Center for comprehensive brain injury rehabilitation addressing the medical, physical, cognitive, psychological, vocational and community reintegration needs of the patient.

GAMBIS's clinical data collection, analysis and management is supported and maintained by the data management resources of Emory University and the Crawford Research Institute of Shepherd Center, which will house the GAMBIS database and data management staff.

"GAMBIS is an important addition to the model systems program. The information we will share with the other centers provides important data to develop and demonstrate the best possible methods for the care and rehabilitation of people with traumatic brain injury," said Jones.

In 1997, the hospitals treated a combined 393 patients with TBI. Annually, 260,000 Americans are hospitalized as a result of a brain injury. In Georgia, TBI affects approximately 6,700 Georgians a year; the most common causes are automobile accidents, falls and violence, including gunshot wounds.

Emory Hospitals Center for Rehabilitation Medicine (CRM) is a 56-bed facility, that since 1976, has been dedicated to the prevention, identification and treatment of disabling injuries and illnesses with a focus on research and education. The CRM offers inpatient and outpatient services to individuals suffering from stroke, neuromuscular disease, spinal cord injury, arthritis, orthopaedic conditions, and other injuries or conditions that cause loss of function or ability. Emory

Hospitals include Emory University Hospital, a 587-bed hospital located on the Emory University campus in northeast Atlanta, and Crawford Long Hospital, Emory's 583-bed, community-based hospital in midtown. Emory Hospitals are components of EMORY HEALTHCARE, which also includes The Emory Clinic and its 18 health centers throughout greater metropolitan Atlanta, Emory-Adventist Hospital in Smyrna, The Emory Children's Center, and Wesley Woods Center.

Shepherd Center in Atlanta is a private, not-for-profit hospital specializing in the care of people with spinal cord injury and disease, acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis and other neuromuscular disorders, and urological problems. The continuum of services for people with brain injuries includes acute and sub-acute inpatient medical care, inpatient rehabilitation, hospital and community-based day rehabilitation programs, home and community-based transitional living services and long-term supported living. Shepherd Center also houses the largest model spinal cord injury program in the country and an official Multiple Sclerosis Center.

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