Progress in Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) Symposium and Press Conference

Published February 13, 2013


WHAT: Progress in Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) Symposium and Press Conference

WHEN: Feb. 13, 9 a.m.–5:30 p.m.; Press Conference from 1–1:45 p.m.

WHERE: Empire State Convention Center, Rooms 2 and 3, S. Mall Arterial, Albany, NY

DETAILS: Spinal cord injury researchers and clinical leaders, advocates and patients will come together on Wednesday to discuss and emphasize the need to reinstate spinal cord injury research funding in New York State.

Since its inception in 1998, New York’s Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) has been funded through a small surcharge on moving violations. As automobile accidents account for many spinal cord injuries, this funding mechanism is appropriate and vital. Since then, SCIRP provided $70 million toward developing treatments for spinal cord injury.

But in 2010, all of the revenue derived from the surcharge was diverted from spinal cord research to the general fund and used to pay the state’s operating bills instead of research projects. This violates the spirit of the law created for spinal cord injury relief and the profound wishes of advocates and patients. It undercuts the decision the state and people of New York made in 1998 to make a long-term and sustained investment in neuroscience research for spinal cord injury.

Leaders in the field of spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation, including Rajiv R. Ratan, M.D., Ph.D., executive director of the Burke Medical Research Institute (BMRI); Paul Richter who initiated the effort to establish SCIRP; and Caitlin Hill, Ph.D., director of Spinal Cord Injury Preclinical Studies at BMRI, will join forces at the symposium to urge New York State to reinstate this essential funding stream.

During the press conference, members of the New York State Legislature and spinal cord injury research advocates Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D.; David Carmel, former member of the NYS Cord Injury Research Board; and Capt. Boyd Melson also will discuss this vital support for paralysis research.

Dr. Ratan from Burke Medical Research Institute, which strongly supports SCIRP, will be available for interviews before and after the symposium. To schedule an interview with Dr. Ratan or any other Burke scientists involved in spinal cord research at the symposium, please contact the Burke Marketing department:


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