News and Notes 145 December 17

Summary of News and Notes 2014 highlights and appeal for respondents to News and Notes reader survey; MSKTC releases Vision Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System seeks participants for burn injury treatment study; RESNA and Whirlwind Wheelchair International announce DIY Assistive Technology Design Competition; researcher from Advanced Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Neurocognitive Rehabilitation featured in YouTube video on brain injury research and rehabilitation; researchers from New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center and University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center receive DeVivo Mentored Research Reward; RERC-ACT assistive robot toy featured in article, A toy for Jadyn: Pioneering work in socially assistive robots; VCU-RRTC announces 2015 webcast series covering a range of workplace issues.

Date sent: 
NARIC news: 

2014 is drawing to a close and it has been an excellent year! We highlighted more than 150 news stories, 50 new resources, 35 research opportunities, and 60 events, including a Poetry Slam. The NIDRR community, and the disability and rehabilitation community in general, have so much to offer and sharing it with our readers is truly an honor. If you have not had an opportunity to do so, please give us your opinion of News and Notes and how we may improve it (survey closes this week). We will be on hiatus until January 7th. Happy holidays, and all the best for 2015!

Resource Highlight: 

Vision Problems After TBI The NIDRR-funded Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) (H133A110004) has released Vision Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This new factsheet describes how a brain injury can affect vision, identifies which health professionals can assist in treatment, and presents common devices and strategies to manage vision problems after TBI. More TBI factsheets are available in the archive.

News items: 

New Video Discusses Cultural Sensitivity in TBI Rehab
Anthony Lequerica, PhD, from the recently-completed NIDRR-funded Advanced Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Neurocognitive Rehabilitation (H133P130015), recently discussed issues in cultural diversity and cultural competence in brain injury research and rehabilitation (YouTube). The discussion includes how these factors can influence behaviors of both patients and professionals and how they can be mitigated to improve rehabilitation outcomes. The discussion is based on his 2014 article Issues of cultural diversity in acquired brain injury rehabilitation in NeuroRehabilitation.

Model Systems Researchers Receive DeVivo Mentored Research Award
Hannah Mercier, from the NIDRR-funded New England Regional Spinal Cord Injury Center (H133N120002), and Jordan Garman, DO, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center (H133N110008), received the 2014 DeVivo Mentored Research Award from the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center. The award is given to trainees at the doctoral and post-doctoral level, including resident physicians, who are interested in conducting a research project using data from the NIDRR-funded Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems database  (H133A110002) .

A Toy for Jadyn Highlights Socially Assistive Robots
Glus, a socially assistive robot toy in development at the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for the Advancement of Cognitive Technologies (RERC-ACT) (H133E140054) is at the center of A toy for Jadyn: Pioneering work in socially assistive robots. The article and accompanying video introduce Glus and his playmate Jadyn, a boy who is helping to test the robot toy, and demonstrate how socially assistive robots encourage social and motor development in children with disabilities.


Grantee event: 

VCU-RRTC Announces 2015 Webcast Series
The NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employment of People with Physical Disabilities (VCU-RRTC) (H133B130011) announced the schedule and topics for its 2015 webcast series. The series covers a wide range of workplace issues, including disability diversity training, multiple sclerosis, assistive technology, customized employment, Plans to Achieve Self Support (PASS), interview and presentation techniques, and information people with disabilities need to know about employment. Registration is free but required for the series or individual webcasts.


Burn Injury Treatment Study
The NIDRR-funded Boston-Harvard Burn Injury Model System (H133A120034) is seeking participants experiencing pain and/or itch due to a burn injury for a research study on the effects of a mild form of brain stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), on the perception of pain or itch symptoms due to burn injury. Participants must be aged 18 years or older, living in the Boston area, and be able to attend 23 visits over a 12-month period. Participants will be compensated for their time. For more information, contact study staff at or 617/952-6155.

Elsewhere in the Community: 

DIY Assistive Technology Design Competition
The Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) and Whirlwind Wheelchair International have announced a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Assistive Technology Design Competition focused on innovative designs for people with disabilities in developing countries. Organized by RESNA's International Special Interest Group (SIG), the competition will offer cash prizes to the top three designs. The deadline is April 1st, 2015.