Help Bring Back Spinal Cord Injury Research Funding

Published March 19, 2013

Update: We just received terrific news that the New York State Senate not only included the full $8.5 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust Fund but also adopted stronger language so that the funds, which have been directed to other purposes since 2010, can't be taken away again in the future. If we can get the same funding and language into the Assembly bill, we won’t have to fight for funding every year.

Please reach out to the following people TODAY with a call or by faxing a letter:

  • Assembly Speaker: Sheldon Silver: 518-455-3791;
    fax 518-455-5459
  • Chair, Ways and Means Committee: Herman Farrell: 518-455-5491; fax 518-455-5776
  • Chair, Health Committee: Richard Gottfried: 518-455-4941;
    fax 518-455-5939
  • Also reach out to your Assembly member. Find your specific member here

Please tell them: “I want $8.5 million for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Trust and the language from the Senate One House bill included in the Assembly budget.”

Negotiations are happening NOW. Please act today. 

During the past four years, important New York State funding for the Spinal Cord Injury Research Program (SCIRP) have been diverted to offset the New York State budget deficit. The end result has been a loss of support for:

  • New cutting-edge therapies for New Yorkers with spinal cord injuries; 
  • Funding for recruitment of spinal cord research scientists; 
  • Training new spinal cord injury physicians and scientists; and 
  • New inventions and technology for spinal cord injury therapies and treatment.

SCIRP has been funded through a law that stipulates a surcharge on those convicted of moving traffic violations since 1998. The statute stipulates that the program be funded through a new surcharge on moving traffic violations. If you speed in New York State, a surcharge goes into a trust fund for spinal cord research. As moving violations 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.

Please do the right thing and help ensure that SCIRP again receives $8.5 million per year to fund this critical area of research. Please sign the petition telling Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the rest of the New York Legislature to reinstate this essential funding stream to benefit patients suffering from spinal cord injury.

We can no longer sit idly by and watch this injustice unfold without a forceful and empassioned response. Along with sending a letter, please call Governor Cuomo and Dr. Nivav Shah at the Department of Health indicating your outrage and highlighting the past and potential future benefits of SCIRP to transform the lives of spinal cord injury patients. Any person of voting age can do this.  

To call Gov. Cuomo, call the CITIZEN SERVICES UNIT at 518-474-1041. To reach the Commissioner of Health, Dr. Nivav Shah, call 518-474-2011.

You can say: "My name is xxxxxx, I am calling to urge the governor to amend his 2013-2014 budget to include funding for the NYS spinal cord injury research program." Please feel free to add more but the example should be sufficient.

Let your voices be heard!

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