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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

It's Official: Funding for the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program has passed in Alabama!

(AP Photo/Dave Martin, file photo from April 12, 2012, as the Alabama House is seen in Session.)
I am thrilled to report that funding for the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program has been approved by the Alabama State Legislature and is expected to be signed by Governor Bentley very soon. Sponsored by Senator Marc Keahey (D-Grove Hill), this initiative will provide approximately $400,000 in research funding to the University of Alabama Birmingham School of Medicine.

The money will be administered by Dr. Candace Floyd, Interim Director of Clinical Research for the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. "This is an important initiative that will go a long way toward finding a cure and alleviating the side affects that spinal cord injury patients experience," said Floyd.

Senator Keahey said, "I am honored to bring the TJ Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program to the forefront of Alabama's medical research innovative efforts." He added, "This is cutting edge research and something I feel Alabama will benefit from having on hand."

The initial method of funding for this research program was to impose a small fine on reckless drivers through Senator Keahey's bill SB338, the proceeds going to the Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund. This approach was to mimic that of California's  "Roman Reed Law" which has made a significant impact on SCI research in America, and across the world.

However, because this research impacts more than the field of medicine, Senator Keahey received bipartisan support to embed $400,000 as a line-item in the ETF (Education Trust Fund) budget for the T.J. Atchison Spinal Cord Injury Research Program. "Having the support of both Democrats and Republicans was a confirmation of how important this initiative is to our state. Not only will this research advance our knowledge of the spinal cord, it will also support post doctoral research and encourage the best and brightest young scientists to the field of spinal cord injury research, right here in the great state of Alabama."

Spinal Cord Injury Facts:
  • It is estimated that the annual incidence of spinal cord injury (SCI) is approximately 40 cases per million population in the U. S. or approximately 12,000 new cases each year.
  • The number of people in the United States who have SCI has been estimated to be approximately 265,000 persons.
  • Since 2005, motor vehicle crashes account for 40.4% of reported SCI cases.
For more SCI Facts, please visit the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, Birmingham, Alabama.

In closing, I'd like to say that the support from all of you is what has kept us energized and focused on strengthening spinal cord injury research in Alabama. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart for supporting this important cause. Giving all the glory to God: WE DID IT!!! Much love, Tory

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