Children's Specialized Hospital Renews Collaboration with Kessler Foundation

March 24, 2017

Kessler Foundation, a global leader in rehabilitation research, and Children's Specialized Hospital, the nation's leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children facing special health challenges, have renewed their collaboration by signing a three-year agreement, with a funding level of $2.1 million, to continue their research program for children with disabilities.

“We’re extremely pleased to renew our mutually beneficial collaboration with this unique New Jersey organization,” said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. “The scientific expertise we bring to the table is already resulting in exciting research accomplishments, and the commitment demonstrated by clinicians, scientists, fellows, and administrators from both organizations bodes well for the potential of our partnership.”

Over the past three years, Kessler Foundation scientists have worked closely with the medical staff and leadership of Children's Specialized Hospital to investigate ways to improve mobility, cognition, and educational outcomes in children with various challenges, including brain and spinal cord injuries. Under the leadership of John DeLuca, PhD, senior vice president of research and training, Foundation scientists, engineers and research fellows are conducting research in close collaboration with clinicians at Children’s Specialized Hospital. According to Dr. DeLuca, the research team has successfully leveraged their initial funding with more than $1.3 million in grant funding from the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research. 

The leadership at Children’s Specialized Hospital is equally enthusiastic about renewing the relationship. “This will allow us to continue our research collaboration that began in 2013, and find innovative ways to help more children with complex medical needs,” said Michael Dribbon, PhD, vice president of business development and chief research officer at Children's Specialized Hospital. “Having the scientific expertise from professionals at Kessler Foundation will help us to further develop the best evidence-based care practices to improve cognition and mobility in our children to help them reach their full potential.”

“We are incredibly thankful for the opportunity to extend our partnership with Kessler Foundation,” added Phillip Salerno III, president and chief development officer for Children’s Specialized Hospital Foundation. “Over the past few years, we have collaborated on several successful projects from developing grants and research studies to implementing the exoskeleton technology for children with brain injury, and we look forward to future endeavors.”

Cognitive studies underway in children and adolescents include mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for behavioral difficulties following brain injury, interventions for emotional processing deficits in traumatic brain injury or autism, and study skills training to improve academic learning following brain injury. To improve mobility in the pediatric population, studies are being conducted in robotic exoskeleton training during inpatient rehabilitation, gait modification using visual feedback, and the biomechanics of propulsion in users of standard and ultralight manual wheelchairs. The impact of rehabilitation for acquired disabilities on educational outcomes is the focus of a pilot study by outcomes researchers.  

For more information on research studies at Children’s Specialized Hospital, visit https://www.childrens-specialized.org/research/

Children’s Specialized Hospital

Children’s Specialized Hospital is the nation’s leading provider of inpatient and outpatient care for children from birth to 21 years of age facing special health challenges—from chronic illnesses and complex physical disabilities like brain and spinal cord injuries, to developmental and behavioral issues like autism and mental health. At 13 different New Jersey locations, our pediatric specialists partner with families to make our many innovative therapies and medical treatments more personalized and effective...so children can achieve more of their goals.

About Kessler Foundation:

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility, and long-term outcomes--including employment--for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation also leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities.