Suzanne Groah, MD, Director of Spinal Cord Injury Research and Patient Care Programs, Receives 2018 Goldschmidt Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 6, 2018 – Suzanne Groah, MD, MedStar National Rehabilitation Network medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) program, and head of the SCI research program, received the 2018 Goldschmidt Award on Wed. June 6, 2018.

In addition to receiving this honor, Dr. Groah also gave the annual Goldschmidt Lecture, the 30th time this has taken place at MedStar NRH. This prestigious honor is named after Dr. John Goldschmidt, the National Rehabilitation Hospital’s founding medical director, who worked towards enhancing an interdisciplinary approach to patient care. Recipients of this award, like Dr. Groah, are motivated to positively influence both fields of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

Dr. Groah’s lecture focused on the fascinating history of spinal cord injury. She examined the oldest spinal cord injury text – which described SCI as an “ailment not to be treated.” Taking us on a journey through SCI history, Dr. Groah showed us everything from how the Paralympic Games evolved to the movement in the 1970s and 1980s to find a cure for SCI – via medication.

In fact, in the late 1970s, the very first clinical trial looking at recovery from SCI took place to test a combination of medications and physical therapy. “This provided an opportunity to lead us toward recovery and cure,” she said.

As the decades turned, public faces of SCI began to emerge – actor Christopher Reeve, one of the most notable spinal cord injury survivors who became a quadriplegic when thrown from a horse during a Virginia equestrian competition; and football players, among them former Detroit Lions star offensive lineman Mike Utley, injured during a 1991 game. Utley is a 1993 Victory Award® recipient.
These public faces, Dr. Groah says, raised the profile of the disease and perhaps paved the way to get us to where we are now.

“We began to move away from drugs being the potential cure for SCI to patients working through therapy and newer, emerging technology,” she said.

Dr. Groah says that the future of spinal cord injury research offers tremendous hope and new possibilities. She highlighted various new research breakthroughs including scaffolds placed around the spinal cord during decompression surgery and optogenetics using light on cells in animals right now with respiratory issues that could be used in the future for those with SCI.

In addition, Dr. Groah mentioned Networked Neural Prosthesis technology, which can help via a stimulator device allowing patients to use their hands in more ways. “SCI patients might be able to use their hands in ways they never knew, such as using a pen and paper or eating food while holding utensils,” she said. “All of this holds great promise in the years to come.”

Dr. Groah’s chief takeaway when reflecting on her own career: Exude confidence even if you are not quite sure what you are doing. “I tell residents, future physicians, researchers and anyone the same things – if you’re going to react, use restraint before you react; if you see an opportunity grab it; and develop and keep relationships with your mentors so you can pay it forward.”

With a career in research that spans many years, Dr. Groah has done that for herself while mentoring many along the way.

SIDEBAR
MORE ABOUT THE JOHN W. GOLDSCHMIDT AWARD
The Goldschmidt Award and Lecture is a prestigious honor at MedStar NRH. It serves to recognize the years and effort devoted by MedStar NRH’s founding medical director, John W. Goldschmidt, who worked towards enhancing an interdisciplinary team approach to patient care. The recipients of the award are those who are motivated to positively influence both fields of physical medicine and rehabilitation.
This award should be given to an individual who reflects the attributes of Dr. John W. Goldschmidt in terms of voluntary and tireless efforts, enhancement of interdisciplinary multi-specialty team development and approach to patient care, the advancement of facility to care for individuals with physical disabilities as well as intellectual, emotional and academic commitment to the precepts and the intimate intricacies of rehabilitation as a specialty field. Each of these actions must also be performed to the highest professional and ethical standards which emulate the man for which this award has been named.

Past Awardees Include:
2018 - Suzanne Groah, MD
2017 - Randall L. Braddom, MD, MS, FAAPMR
2016 - Barbara Bregman, PT, PhD
2015 - Paul F. Pasquina, MD
2014 - Alexander Dromerick, MD
2013 - Bruce Gans, MD
2012 - Kristjian T. Ragnarsson, MD
2011 - John N. Aseff, MD
2010 - Brendan Conroy, MD
2009 - Alan M. Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA

About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network

The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.
The Network’s interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.

The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopaedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, DC and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to MedStarNRH.org.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Derek T. Berry
Director of Communications
Ph: 202-877-1773
[email protected]

Founder Ed Eckenhoff Honored With Service at National Cathedral in D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - MedStar National Rehabilitation Network Founder and Past President Edward A. Eckenhoff was honored with a special service at the Washington National Cathedral in early May.

Ed passed away peacefully with family and friends by his side earlier this year on January 10 at his home in Naples, Florida. He is survived by his wife Judi Eckenhoff, his brothers Walt and Roderic Eckenhoff, many nieces and nephews and the family dog, Bogey.

Ed opened the doors of NRH in 1986 and through his leadership, we have grown from one single inpatient facility to having served tens of thousands of inpatients and outpatients via our 50 network sites.

Highlights of Ed’s achievements with MedStar NRH include:

1986 – NRH establishes four core programs – stroke, spinal cord injury, brain injury & orthopaedics

1987 – NRH becomes accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospitals

1989 – Received accreditation from CARF – the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

1989 – First class of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation residents graduate

1990 – Worked closely with President George H.W. Bush on the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), officially signed into law, July 1990

1992 – NRH begins association with volunteers from Junior League of Washington, D.C., which continues to this day

1993 – First rehabilitation day treatment program established

1993 – Adaptive sports program launches

1994 – Second ever outpatient site opens in Mitchellville, Md

1996 – Formation of the outpatient network officially called the NRH Rehabilitation Network

1997 – Innovative therapy space known as Independence Square launches, with tremendous philanthropic support

1998 – NRH and National Institutes of Health sign agreement for joint efforts in research, training and medical treatment

2000 – U.S. Congress appoints $6M towards new NRH Neuroscience Research Center

2004 – NRH holds first ever Super H 5K Run, Walk & Wheel benefitting adaptive sports programs and launched by former patient Harry Freedman and his wife, Renie

2005 – The Christoph Ruesch Research Center opens

2006 – NRH becomes one of 14 Model Spinal Cord Injury Systems designated by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research

2007 – NRH Spinal Cord Injury & Stroke Programs receive CARF – Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities – accreditation

The Eckenhoff family asks that any gifts and donations be made in Ed’s honor to MedStar NRH’s Adding Life to Years® Campaign. Please visit www.giving.medstarhealth.org/edwardeckenhoff for more information. You can also make checks payable to: MedStar NRH, 102 Irving St., NW, Washington, D.C., 20010.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Derek T. Berry
Director of Communications
Ph: 202-877-1773
[email protected]

Adaptive Fitness Helps Patient With Complex Spinal Cord Injury Stay Active

Imagine living with a spinal cord injury as a result of simply falling in your home?

The thought is quite scary and could happen to any one of us. And so it happened to Kent Keyser, who spent more than three decades working on Capitol Hill, following a terrible mishap one evening in his basement. In one instant, Keyser went from fully functional to suffering a spinal cord injury (SCI), while not a complete injury, still leaves him needing to use a power chair and requires him to have assistance when walking.

After years of physical therapy, a lot of hard work and determination, Keyser walks 20 to 30 minutes daily; uses gym equipment to help regain strength in his arms; shoulders; back; chest; and legs.

In more than 10 years since Keyser’s SCI, adaptive fitness, like the program offered at MedStar NRH thanks to a generous grant for our patients through the Gordon & Marilyn Macklin Foundation, has provided major assistance to Keyser in keeping him active.

“I am a firm believer that good health is the foundation of an independent and productive life,” Keyser told CARF International recently. “Couple adaptive fitness with good nutrition and you have a good recipe for a life of accomplishment.”

Keyser calls himself ‘privileged’ to have done his rehabilitation at MedStar NRH. Following discharge from both inpatient and outpatient programs, Keyser heard about the Adaptive Fitness programs, conducted with different activities four times weekly at the hospital on Irving Street in D.C., that provide patients the opportunity to stay active following a debilitating injury.

The open gym time, where patients can use the equipment, was extremely important to him.

For more information on the Adaptive Fitness classes at MedStar NRH click here.

About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network
The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

The Network’s interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.

The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopaedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, DC and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to MedStarNRH.org.

For Immediate Release

Contact: Derek T. Berry
Director of Communications
Ph: 202-877-1773
[email protected]