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Research at Craig Hospital

The Craig Hospital Research Department currently has a staff of 22 with an annual budget of $3.8 million in federal, state, foundation, and industry-sponsored grants devoted to conducting a wide variety of applied spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation research. In addition, funds raised from the annual PUSH Dinner support more basic research.

The Research Department was established in 1974 when Craig Hospital was first awarded a Spinal Cord Injury Model System grant from the US Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). In 1998, Craig’s brain injury program received a similar designation when it was first named a TBI Model System. Each Model System project consists of a three-pronged research effort: contributing to a national longitudinal database, conducting local research projects that are of interest and importance to Craig, and collaborating with other Model Systems in research of common interest.

Download the 2015 Research Summary

In 2006, Craig was named the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center, managing the TBI National Database and coordinating research among all TBI Model Systems. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the Model Systems programs is the research climate they have spawned here at Craig Hospital, giving us the expertise and confidence to successfully compete for and obtain funding from other sources as well. Craig currently receives research funding not only from NIDRR, but also from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Colorado TBI Trust Fund, the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) which is part of the Department of Defense, other researchers via subcontracts, and pharmaceutical and medical equipment companies. As research has become more important to the mission and reputation of Craig, the Research Department has increased collaboration with other institutions by leading and participating in multi-center research and becoming a national research coordinating center.

Meet Our Research Team

  • Photo of ​Cindy Harrison-Felix

    ​Cindy Harrison-Felix, Director of Research


    Cindy Harrison-Felix, PhD, FACRM, has graduate training in Clinical Sciences and Community Medicine, and is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Colorado Denver. She has almost 40 years of experience working in disability and rehabilitation research with an emphasis in TBI and SCI. She serves as the Project Director for the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center located at Craig Hospital, and is Co-Project Director for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System (RMRBIS), the TBI Model System at Craig Hospital.

  • Photo of Daniel P. Lammertse, M.D.

    Daniel P. Lammertse, M.D., Medical Director of Research

    CNS Physician Group

    Daniel P. Lammertse, M.D., came to Craig Hospital in 1981 and served as Medical Director of Craig from 1984 to 2008. He received his medical degree and specialty training in rehabilitation medicine at Ohio State University. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has a sub-specialty certification in spinal cord injury. He has authored numerous chapters and scientific articles on topics in spinal cord injury and is internationally recognized as an expert in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. He is the project director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Cord Injury System and served as Chair of the NIDRR SCI Model Systems Project Directors Committee from 2000-2006. Dr. Lammertse served on the Board of Directors of the American Spinal Injury Association from 1991-2003 and was President of the association from 2001-2003. He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine and is a member of the Spinal Cord Injury Medicine Examination Committee of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Lammertse has an appointment as Associate Clinical Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Colorado.

  • Photo of ​Susan Charlifue

    ​Susan Charlifue, Senior Principal Investigator


    Susan (Susie) Charlifue, PhD, FISCoS, FACRM, started her career at Craig Hospital in 1976, and completed her doctorate in Health and Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado, Denver in 2004. She is Co-Principal Investigator SCI Model System at Craig Hospital in addition to coordinating several SCI research clinical trials. She is the Principal Investigator for both NIDRR and Department of Defense SCI grants.

  • Photo of ​Gale Whiteneck

    ​Gale Whiteneck, Senior Principal Investigator


    Gale Whiteneck, PhD, FACRM, directed the Craig Hospital Research program from October 1982 until February 2013 and has conducted research focusing on the full range of life-time outcomes following disability. He has advocated for full participation in society and quality of life as the primary outcomes appropriate for disability and rehabilitation research. He contributed to the World Health Organizations revised model of disability-the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF)-and he continues to suggest conceptual improvements in the ICF. Dr. Whiteneck and his research team have developed two widely used tools to assess participation in society by people with disability-the Craig Handicap Assessment and Reporting Technique (CHART)-and to assess environmental barriers that restrict full participation-the Craig Hospital Inventory of Environmental Factors. In addition to overall responsibility for research projects, Dr. Whiteneck is the Principal Investigator of the NIDRR-funded SCI Collaborative study " Measuring Rehabilitation Outcomes" . In 2009 Dr. Whiteneck received the Gold Key Award of Merit, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine's highest honor.

  • Photo of Don Gerber

    Don Gerber, Principal Investigator


    Don Gerber, PsyD,  is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Principal Investigator at Craig with over 35 years of clinical experience evaluating and treating individuals who have sustained TBI and/or SCI. He has been the PI or Co-Investigator on prior RMRBIS research projects including; characterization of acute mild TBI, MRI investigation of acute TBI, and vocational-rehabilitation strategies after TBI. He is one of the co-founders of the BIAC, and has served as a consultant for the State of Colorado Workman’s Compensation TBI Task Force.

  • Photo of Cindy Braden

    Cindy Braden, Principal Investigator


    Cindy Braden, MA, CCC, is certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the Healthcare Quality Certification Board. A 35-year veteran of Craig Hospital, she served as the as Director of Speech and Language Pathology for 22 years, before being appointed as the Director of Quality Management, responsible for Accreditation and Quality of Care activities, in 2002. She is the site PI on the Social Competence Study and the Anger Self-Management Study.

  • Photo of Robert Kowalski

    Robert Kowalski, Principal Investigator


    Robert Kowalski, MD, MS, has 15 years of experience in research involving patients with severe brain injuries. His clinical research interests include TBI, coma and disorders of consciousness, seizures including status epilepticus, and neuroimaging. Prior to joining Craig Hospital’s research group, he conducted clinical research in the Division of Critical Care Neurology at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York; and in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore. At both institutions his research studies involved patients treated in specialized neurologic intensive care units. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, premedical training at Columbia University, master’s degree in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University and his medical degree from the National University of Ireland. He completed his clinical internal medicine internship and treated patients at Harbor Hospital in Baltimore, and trained in clinical Neurology and treated patients at the Yale-New Haven Hospital, in New Haven, CT. He is a founding member of the Neurocritical Care Society, and is a member of the editorial board of the organization’s quarterly publication Currents. Prior to beginning clinical medicine and medical research he was a newspaper journalist, for more than a decade at the Denver Post, and elsewhere.

  • Photo of Dave C. Mellick

    Dave C. Mellick, Research IT Project Manager


    Dave C. Mellick, MA, has graduate training in Health Psychology and relevant experience in the area of database design and management, and data analysis, including the creation of data-driven risk models and web-based applications. Mr. Mellick has been with Craig Research since 1995. Mr. Mellick is the Director of the Quality Support and Technology Cores for the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center located at Craig Hospital.

  • Photo of Lenore Hawley

    Lenore Hawley, Research Clinician


    Lenore Hawley, MSSW, LCSW, CBIST, has worked with individuals with TBI for more than 30 years providing clinical services, program development, advocacy and research. She completed advanced training as a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer (CBIST), and is the author of A Family Guide to the Head Injured Adult, Self Advocacy for Independent Life, and co-author of Group Interactive Structured Treatment-GIST: for Social Competence. Ms. Hawley is currently Co-Principal Investigator for a RMRBIS study on psychological well-being, Principal Investigator for the Self Advocacy study, and serves as Co-Investigator and Co-Director of Intervention, Training and Dissemination on a Department of Defense multi-site grant on social competence. In addition, she provides group therapy for civilians with TBI, and for soldiers and veterans with TBI and PTSD through her private practice.

  • Photo of ​Clare E. Morey

    ​Clare E. Morey, Research Clinician


    Clare E. Morey, MA CCC-SLP, has been at Craig Hospital since 1996 working first as a Speech- Language Pathologist for five years before transitioning into a position in the research department. Ms. Morey received her BA in Psychology from College of the Holy Cross in 1984 and her MA in Communication Disorders from University of Colorado in 1995. Ms. Morey currently serves as a co-investigator and study coordinator for a number of clinical trials in the area of traumatic brain injury. Additionally, Ms. Morey serves as the IRB coordinator for all research projects at Craig Hospital.

  • Photo of ​Jody Newman

    ​Jody Newman, Research Clinician


    Jody Newman, MA, CCC, is a Speech-Language Pathologist with more than 30 years specializing in the area of brain injury rehabilitation. She joined Craig Hospital in 1998 and joined the Craig Research Department in 2002 as a Clinical Research Liaison. She is the co-author of Group Interactive Structured Treatment-GIST: for Social Competence. Currently, Ms. Newman serves as Co-Investigator and Director of Intervention, Training and Dissemination on a Department of Defense multi-site grant on Social Competence, studying the effectiveness of the GIST intervention. In addition, she serves as the Cultural Competence Coordinator for the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center. Ms. Newman continues to provide speech, language and cognitive therapy for individuals with TBI, as well as social competence group therapy for civilians, soldiers and veterans with TBI and PTSD through her private practice.

  • Photo of Jennifer Coker

    Jennifer Coker, Research Associate


    Jennifer Coker, MPH, has worked in the field of traumatic spinal cord injury and brain injury since 1997. Ms. Coker obtained a Master of Public Health (MPH) from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in May 2001, where she won the James W Alley Award for Outstanding Service to Disadvantaged Populations. She has presented research at national conferences of the American Spinal Injury Association, American Association of Spinal Cord Injury Psychologists and Social Workers, the American Public Health Association, and the American Psychological Association. In addition, Ms. Coker has won several awards for research presentations and publications. She has been a Research Associate at Craig Hospital since April 2012 and works primarily with the TBI and SCI Model Systems projects.

  • Photo of CB Eagye

    CB Eagye, Research Associate


    Priscilla “CB” Eagye, MS, received her undergraduate degree in Mathematics from Wellesley College in 1990 and her master’s degree in Operations Research from The College of William and Mary in 1993. She has done graduate coursework in Biostatistics at the University of Colorado – Anschutz Medical Campus. CB has more than a decade of quantitative experience in the areas of data analytics, statistical modeling and analysis, and algorithm development for optimization and resource allocation software. She joined the Craig Hospital Research Department in September of 2015. Currently, Ms. Eagye serves as the statistician on a Department of Defense multi-site grant on Social Competence, as well as the data analyst for the Traumatic Brain Injury Models Systems National Data and Statistical Center.

  • Photo of Kendy Noble

    Kendy Noble, Senior Research Assistant


    Kendy Noble, BS, received her degree in Sociology at the University of Colorado in Boulder. She has been an employee of Craig Hospital since 1993, joining the research staff in 1998. Ms. Noble has worked in health care for 25 years, and in addition to Research Interviewing has experience in Health Information Management. She has been responsible for data collection on several TBI and SCI studies, and was the Project Coordinator for the RMRBIS module "The Natural History of Headaches After TBI". She currently serves as a Quality Support Liaison for the Traumatic Brain Injury Models Systems (TBIMS) National Data and Statistical Center, providing training, and consultation for 16 TBIMS and 4 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Rehabilitation centers.

  • Photo of Susan Solnick

    Susan Solnick, Senior Research Assistant


    Susan Solnick, RHIT, has been with the Craig Research Department since 1980. She coordinates the National Database participation for the Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Injury System overseeing all enrollment and data collection.

  • Photo of Christina Baker

    Christina Baker, Research Assistant


    Christina Baker, BA, received her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology and Applied Physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has been an employee of Craig Hospital since 2007. Since joining the research department in 2009, Ms. Baker has been involved in recruitment, data collection and project development for various TBI research studies. Currently, she is the research coordinator for the “Home-Based Virtual Reality Treatment for Chronic Balance Problems in Adults with TBI” clinical study, as well as the research assistant for the “Anger Self-Management Training in Post-Acute Traumatic Brain Injury” multi-center clinical trial. She is one of the investigators for the RMRBIS module “Internet use and online social participation among individuals with TBI”. Additionally, Ms. Baker assists with the IRB coordination of local research projects.

  • Photo of Sara Huey

    Sara Huey, Research Assistant


    Sara Huey, MA, received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from Wartburg College in 1998 and her Masters in Business Administration from Argosy University in 2009. She has been an employee of Craig Hospital since 2007, joining the research staff in 2009. Currently she is working on medical record abstracting for the “Measuring Rehabilitation Outcomes” SCI study, as well as projects for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System and the TBI National Data and Statistical Center.

  • Photo of ​Angie Philippus

    ​Angie Philippus, Research Assistant


    Angie Philippus, BA,received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. She joined the Craig Hospital Research Department in 2009 and is currently the research assistant for the DoD-funded, multi-center study, “Treatment for Social Skills in Military Veterans, Service Members and Civilians with Traumatic Brain Injury.” Additionally, Angie conducts participant follow-up interviews for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury System (RMRBIS) and is involved in multiple module and site-specific studies as part of the TBI Model Systems program.

  • Photo of Caroline Rose

    Caroline Rose, SCI Research Assistant


    Caroline Rose, BS, received her Bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience and Dance from Colorado College in May of 2011. She began working at Craig Hospital as a Research Assistant in December of 2013. Currently, Caroline conducts follow-up interviews for the following spinal cord injury studies: “SCI Quality of Life,” “SCI Rehab,” SCI Model Systems Year 5,” and “Re-inventing Yourself after SCI.” Additionally, she is responsible for recruitment and data collection for “SCI Bridge Reinvention” and conducts metabolic cart testing for the “FES Elliptical Training” study.

  • Photo of Hari Bhattarai

    Hari Bhattarai, Web Application Developer


    Hari Bhattarai, MSCIS, received his master’s degree in Computer Information Systems in June 2008 from Bellevue University in Nebraska. Since then he has worked in the web application development field using technologies such as ASP.NET, C#, SQL. He joined Craig in June 2014 as the Web Application Developer in the Research Department.  

  • Photo of Donna Wolff

    Donna Wolff, Administrative Assistant


    Donna Wolff, BS, received her Bachelor's degree in Finance from Colorado State University and joined the Research Department in December of 2014. She has worked as an Executive Assistant, Accountant and Marketing Assistant in the neuro-monitoring, behavioral health, health insurance and oil & gas industries. Donna assists the Director, Manager, Investigators and staff of the Research team in a variety of support functions.