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PUSH funds support home-grown research

June 17, 2014

Since its inception, a portion of the funds generated from the annual PUSH fundraising dinner have been designated to support spinal cord and brain injury research efforts around the globe.

In the past, these funds have supported cutting-edge research at the Karolinska Institute and CU Anschutz Medical Center. Starting in 2013, some of the proceeds of the dinner have been set aside to support staff-generated clinical research right here at home.

The fund came about in response to growing staff interest in bedside, translational research here at Craig.

“Our staff members have great ideas and are always looking for opportunities to improve how we do what we do,” says Mike Fordyce, president and CEO. “I’d often hear requests from staff for resources that would help them chase their ideas.”

Any clinical staff member with an idea for a research project must first seek approval from his/her department director and then develop a concept proposal to be reviewed by Craig’s Research Task Force.

If the concept proposal is approved, the staff member—or team of members— will receive $1,200 in startup money from the PUSH fund to prepare a five-page Research Proposal. The money is used to compensate the staff member for work done on their personal time, or to compensate the department for the staff member’s time if the project is written during work hours.

Research Department staff are available to provide in-kind consultation to assist in the development of the concept proposals and the research proposals.

The Research Task Force will evaluate the research proposal to ensure that the research aligns with Craig Hospital’s mission, has scientific merit and clinical relevance, is ethically sound, is feasible within the Craig environment, has the potential to improve evidence-based practice, and that the research question can be answered by the proposed research.

If the project is approved, the Research Department will determine the funding source for the study and a research staff member will serve as Co-Principal Investigator, helping oversee the project with the clinical staff member.

One research project, the “The Adaptive Technology Utilization Survey,” is gathering long-term outcome data for individuals who use adaptive technology in their daily lives.

The program launched formally in November 2013 and 10 concept proposals and two full research proposals already have been approved, on topics ranging from sleep disturbance after traumatic brain injury to urinary tract infections after spinal cord injury.

Fordyce says that the fund will continue each year.

“These PUSH-designated funds will enable our staff members to bring their ideas to life,” he says. “It will broaden their exposure and skill set, and will ultimately benefit the patients that we are privileged to serve.”