Northeast Ohio Regional SCI System


Kimberly Anderson, PhD

Christina Oleson, MD

James Wilson, DO

Michael Kelly, MD

NORSCIS provides a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the care of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI). NORSCIS is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and is 1 of only 14 federally-funded centers.

NORSCIS provides a comprehensive continuum of care for individuals with traumatic SCI that includes emergency medical services, acute care services, acute medical rehabilitation services, and post-acute services; conducts high quality research that is targeted at reducing the health burden of SCI by generating evidence-based interventions; and contributes significant numbers of under-represented minorities to the National SCI Database.

NORSCIS utilizes intramural and collaborative research projects to test innovative approaches to treating SCI and to assess rehabilitation outcomes. 

NORSCIS Research

Ongoing Research Projects

The National Spinal Cord Injury Database: During each funded cycle, we enroll participants into the National SCI Database. As part of this nationwide study, we collect clinical outcomes, social and psychological outcomes, and quality of life data on all new traumatic spinal cord injuries (SCI) at the time of admission to inpatient rehabilitation through the person’s lifetime.

Through this long-term population health study, critical knowledge has been gained about SCI epidemiology, recovery characteristics, secondary conditions during and after rehabilitation, and the medical and psychosocial impact of living with SCI long-term.

2021-2026 Research Projects (grant #90SIMS0007)

Feasibility of Early Gabapentin as an Intervention for Neuroprotection: Overall, emerging preclinical and clinical evidence suggests that early initiation of low to medium doses of gabapentin and continued delivery for a range of 2 weeks to 4 months has a persistent, positive effect on motor and autonomic neurologic recovery.

The objective of this study is to conduct the first ever prospective, dose-exploration trial to test the feasibility of early administration of gabapentin as an intervention for neurorecovery.

Validation of MENTOR tool to describe bowel dysfunction early after SCI and facilitate management across the 1st year post-injury:  It has been known for more than two decades that people living with SCI rate bowel control as one of the most difficult issues to manage and one of the biggest daily challenges, yet little progress has been made.  There are many options for bowel care, but there has not been a clear definition of treatment failure or guidance regarding when to change strategies.  These shortcomings contribute to persons with SCI living through prolonged periods of poor bowel management.  The objective of this study is to 1) validate the MENTOR (Monitoring Efficacy of Neurogenic bowel dysfunction Treatment On Response) tool in an acute/subacute population with traumatic SCI in the US inpatient rehabilitation setting and 2) use the MENTOR tool from discharge through the first-year post-injury to describe the progression of bowel dysfunction and determine if the tool prompts changes in bowel management when indicated. 

2016-2021 Research Projects (grant #90SI5025)

Early Characterization of UE Paralysis in Cervical SCI as a Means to Determine Patterns of Injury and Recovery, Informing Prognosis and Guiding Time-critical Interventions: This project is collecting preliminary data demonstrating the power of unique upper extremity (UE) muscle assessments that will provide the groundwork for developing a person-centered guide to UE treatment for the restoration of function for people with cervical SCI.

Can the electrically stimulated manual muscle test differentiate upper from lower motor neuron injury in persons with acute SCI?

Methods for Reduction of “Unavoidable” Pressure Ulcers in Persons with Acute SCI: This project designed, fabricated, and tested a new spine board that reduces excessive body-board pressures currently found on standard spine boards.

Demonstration of pressure reduction in a new proof of concept spine board

Redesign of a spine board: Proof of concept evaluation

Collaborative projects:

NORCIS Newsletters and Resources

NORCIS Outreach

SCI Forum

On September 24, 2021, the MetroHealth System and NORSCIS held their 25h Annual SCI Forum. The conference theme was “All Around the World: Being Together While Staying Apart.” The conference focused on the collaborative participation of educational sessions with individuals living with SCI led by Megan Hammond. Session topics include Spinal Cord Injury Research Updates; COVID & SCI; Secondary Complications of SCI; and Sex & Intimacy after SCI. Other sessions include a Keynote Speaker and Caregiver Corner. The replay of these sessions can be found at

On September 25, 2020, the MetroHealth System, home of the Northeast Ohio Regional SCI Model System, held their 24th Annual SCI Forum, virtually for the first time. As an all-day event, speakers covered various topics starting with a 30th Anniversary Celebration of the ADA, and then moved to Keynote Speaker, Hanane Hmada, who has lived with a SCI since 2012. Fitness and Nutrition, ‘Ask the Medical Panel,’ and Dating/Sexuality/Relationships were the other sessions of the day packed full of information relevant for living successfully with SCI. The replay of these sessions can be found at

Community Partners

NORSCIS and the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute are a hospital partner of the national United Spinal Association. View certificate.

NORSCIS is proud to support and partner with the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the United Spinal Association.

NORSCIS encourages people with SCI to engage in fitness and wellness activities at welcoming, accessible, and trained facilities such as Center for Stroke and Hand Recovery.

For more information about the Northeast Ohio Regional SCI System, please contact:

Megan Hammond, Program Manager, [email protected], 216-957-3562

Dan Nwosu, Clinical Coordinator, [email protected], 216-957-3558