With about 15 supporters of "TJ's Law" making the trip to Birmingham, including mentor Roman Reed from the Roman Reed Foundation in California, this first face-to-face meeting for TJ and Dr. Candace Floyd was a long-awaited celebration and memorable jump start to TJ's decision of becoming a patient advocate. "I still can't believe how far we have come since that first meeting back in November," TJ said.
Just before lunch, Dr. Floyd introduced Dr. Richard Marchase, Professor and Vice President of Research and Economic Development, and Dr. Robert Kimberly, Professor and Senior Associate Dean for Research.
Dr. Marchase and Dr. Kimberly took time getting to know everyone and gave assurance that the University of Alabama Birmingham was of tremendous support for the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Act. "This legislation is very important for all Alabamians living with spinal cord injury, and we will be great stewards of the funds generated from it," stated Dr. Marchase.
Next up, Dr. Floyd explained the new frontiers in translational research at UAB. Her impressive powerpoint fueled our interests in the scientific dynamics of spinal cord injury research, and helped us to understand how critical funding is to take these incredible ideas from animal studies to human clinical trials. We were encouraged by Dr. Floyd's closing words: "When 'SB338' is passed and the ball is tossed to us, we are going to catch it and run with it!"
Other UAB presenters included Dr. Robert Brunner, Medical Director of the Spain Rehabilitation Center and Associate Chief of Staff; Jacquelyn Green, Director of Research Services of the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Dr. Yu-Ying Chen, Associate Professor of the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PI SCI Model System; Dr. Danielle Powell, Assistant Professor of the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Dr. Amie Jackson, Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, PI SCI Model System; and Yvonne Akins, Executive Administrator of the Dept. of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.
Not only was Wednesday's meeting a great opportunity to bring together fellow supporters of spinal cord injury research, it was the perfect forum for exchanging innovative ideas of making this important research a priority in the state. It was a day filled with motivation, new friendships, and a common goal for all: to get the paralyzed back on their feet.
The next few weeks will determine if paralysis cure becomes Alabama Law... PLEASE SUPPORT SB338!
*An inside look from our friends at Birmingham News ABC 33 / 40 ~ Bill to fund spinal cord injury research gains momentum in legislature by Haley Westbrook