The Department of PM&R's goal is to further the military healthcare system's prominence in research. The recently established Center for Rehabilitation Sciences Research (CRSR), directed by Dr. Pasquina, received an inital awarded $5.8M in 2011 and has subsequently received an additional $2.5 which should provide sustained growth over the next 3-5 years. The CRSR in collaboration with the Henry Jackson Foundation, is dedicated to the advancement of rehabilitative care for service members with combat related injuries, particularly those with orthopaedic trauma, limb loss and neurological complications. The overall goal of the center is to support synergistic efforts around four research focus areas, each dedicated to the improvement of care and quality of life of injured service members. At present, approximately twenty-two of twenty-six projects have already received IRB review or approval.
The Department of PM&R also facilitates improved collaboration and research partnerships between the Extremity Trauma and Amputee Center of Excellence (EACE), the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine (CNRM) at USUHS, the National Intrepid Center of Excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health (NICoE), the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), Intrepid Spirit One at Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital, and the clinical programs at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Center for the Intrepid (CFI) at the San Antonio Military Medical Center and the C5 Program at San Diego Medical Center. In addition, the Department of PM&R will continue to expand collaborations with academic and industry partners to enhance research opportunities for USUHS students and scientists.
Basic Science Research (ILIR)
Supplemental funding of $500K annually was obligated to USUHS commencing in FY 13 under the Independent Lab Independent Research (ILIR) Program. The funding is programmed to support basic and translational rehabilitative medicine research at USUHS to elucidate the underlying anatomical, physiological, and neuroscience mechanisms to guide optimal rehabilitative treatment strategies in order to promote restoration of normal functioning of injured or diseased tissues and ultimately support the successful return to duty and community reintegration of injured service members. It is envisioned that research areas will include the application of novel technologies in robotics, regenerative medicine, and basic sciences in order to improve muscle, bone, nerve and soft-tissue functioning in the context of rehabilitation of injured service members with extremity trauma, amputation, and neurological injuries. Advanced study of biomechanics, anatomy, and physiology will influence optimal utilizing of prosthetics, orthotics and other rehabilitation tools as well as more effective treatment strategies for axial spine conditions such as neck and back injury. Exploration of novel human biomarkers (biomechanical, serum, imaging, or physiologic) will help identify short and long-term health risks of service members with limb loss and neurologic injury to help lead to effective treatment and preventative strategies. It is also envisioned that novel research will be conducted to intersect physical rehabilitation with regenerative medicine to promote the successful integration of regenerative tissues (muscle, tendon, nerve, etc) to optimize functional recovery after injury or disease.