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Burke Rehabilitation Hospital Receives $200,000 Grant from Craig H. Neilsen Foundation for Patients with Spinal Cord Injuries

Released October 8, 2021

White Plains, NY, (October 8, 2021): Burke Rehabilitation Hospital announced an award of $200,000 from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation - Creating Opportunity & Independence Community (CO&I) Community Support Grants to help patients with spinal cord injuries gain freedom and independence. 

The goal for Burke Rehabilitation Hospital’s Taking Back Control: Neurogenic Bladder and Bowel Management Program is to preemptively address potential bladder/bowel infections and/or complications through intensive patient and caregiver education that can be implemented across the continuum of care and in the community. Those living with spinal cord injuries are more susceptible to such complications, often feel inhibited and limit their social interactions. 

“Additional resources will make our current program more comprehensive and increase the scope of what we can offer,” said Spinal Cord Injury and Neurology Program Director Elizabeth Dominick, PT, DPT. “The grant will provide us with the funding to bring caregivers into the process of recovery earlier and successfully return the person living with a spinal cord injury to their home, allowing them to do tasks and activities that they performed prior to their injury.”

Taking Back Control provides funding for a part-time nurse educator and a part-time care coordinator to augment Burke’s Spinal Cord Injury Program. The funds will also allow the hospital to purchase catherization training models for inpatient, outpatient and community use as well as catheter kits and accessories for educational purposes, and create and produce neurogenic bladder and bowel education videos and materials. 

According to Jennie Valles, M.D., a board certified neurologist with a specialty in spinal cord injury, the grant will improve patient experiences. “Individuals living with spinal cord injury need reliable educational resources and tools. Empowered with these tools, they can take charge of their health and prevent medical complications such as infections, skin breakdown and ultimately readmissions to the hospital,” said Dr. Valles. “These medical setbacks impede recovery and prevent patients from returning to an independent and fulfilling lifestyle.”

The Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is the largest private funder of spinal cord injury research, rehabilitation, clinical training, and programmatic support in the United States and Canada. The Foundation partners with scientific, charitable and educational organizations conducting spinal cord injury research and training in spinal cord medicine, while supporting grassroots organizations providing services to assist individuals affected by spinal cord injury. Drawing ongoing inspiration from its founder, the Foundation is dedicated to a future where individuals with spinal cord injuries live full and productive lives as active participants in their communities.

Darrell Musick, Craig H. Neilsen Foundation CO&I Program Officer, concluded, “We are proud to support Burke Rehabilitation Hospital and this project which addresses critical issues for people living with spinal cord injury.” 

Burke Rehabilitation Hospital is a not-for-profit, acute rehabilitation hospital in White Plains, NY. Founded in 1915 through an endowment from philanthropist John Masterson Burke, it is the only hospital in Westchester County dedicated solely to adult rehabilitation medicine. Burke is a member of the Montefiore Health System, Inc. The hospital offers both inpatient and outpatient programs for those who have experienced a disabling illness, traumatic injury or surgery. For additional information, please visit


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Thank you to everyone for making the Burke Award special!

The celebration of the 25th Burke Award Dinner was held on Thursday, September 23, 2021.

This year’s event was extra special as we saluted and honored our Burke Healthcare Heroes who have worked tirelessly treating survivors of COVID-19, as well as traditional rehabilitation patients.

Our staff are truly heroes for the passion, dedication and professionalism they demonstrate every day, especially in the face of this unprecedented challenge. Their efforts have never wavered, and they should be recognized and applauded.

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785 Mamaroneck Avenue
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