UofL’s Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery has recognized individuals for their contributions to research and support for children with spinal cord injuries. The awards, named for UofL spinal cord injury researcher Susan J. Harkema and A. Keith Inman, former president of Kosair Charities, were presented during the Pediatric NeuroRecovery Summit last month at Frazier Rehab Institute.
“On the 10-year anniversary of the program, it was time to honor and thank the two individuals whose driving vision and support launched what has become the Kosair Charities Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery by naming these awards in their honor,” said Andrea Behrman, director of the center. “Further, we are proud to present these awards to individuals whose support and contribution have had a significant positive impact on the lives of children with spinal cord injuries and their families.”
The Susan J. Harkema Pediatric NeuroRecovery Research Award honors Harkema’s “enduring generosity in sharing her vision to advance recovery for adults with spinal cord injury to children with SCI, the contributions of her research as the foundation and catalyst for recovery and her unwavering support of the Pediatric NeuroRecovery Program,” Behrman said.
The first recipient of the Susan J. Harkema Pediatric NeuroRecovery Research Award is Yury Gerasimenko, professor in UofL’s Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center. Known as the father of neuromodulation, Gerasimenko extended his spinal stimulation technology and work using neuromodulation to advance motor recovery of postural control, arm and hand function and walking in children with SCI.
“His work embodies the characteristics of generosity in sharing his knowledge to advance recovery in children with SCI. We are grateful for his contributions of research and unwavering support of the Pediatric NeuroRecovery Program,” Behrman said.
The second recipient of the Susan J. Harkema Research Award is Goutam Singh, assistant professor at Spalding University and visiting scientist in the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, for his research in pediatric SCI relative to respiratory function, trunk control and neuromodulation.
The A. Keith Inman Pediatric NeuroRecovery Community Service Award recognizes the contributions of Inman, who served as president of Kosair Charities from 2017-2021 and previously as vice president for advancement at UofL. The award honors those who support children and adolescents with spinal cord injury and their families through the gift of their own time and community-based support.
The first recipients of the A. Keith Inman Pediatric NeuroRecovery Community Service Award are Amy Brown and Jennifer Nachreiner of RISE AGAIN, a not-for-profit organization that supports those with spinal cord illness or injury to reach beyond expectations. As parents of children with spinal cord injury, Brown and Nachreiner have first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing parents and families of children with spinal cord injury.
The second recipient is Alyssa Lemons, who established and maintains a Facebook group “Parents of SCI” as a resource for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with spinal cord injury.
On behalf of the awardees, $10,000 ($2,500 for each award) was donated to the Shelley A. Trimble Pediatric NeuroRecovery Fund at the University of Louisville. The Trimble fund provides assistance for children with SCI and their families to fill the gaps in insurance, funding for clinical services at UofL Health – Frazier Rehab Institute and travel and lodging for children and families participating in research at the Center for Pediatric NeuroRecovery.
The Pediatric NeuroRecovery Summit was a two-day educational forum tapping a broad array of expertise on recent scientific research and innovations that may effectively advance the recovery of children with spinal cord injury. More than 35 invited researchers, physicians, therapists, psychologists and SCI community members from across the United States, the United Kingdom and France attended to network and to address progress in recovery in children with spinal cord injury and outreach to educate health care professionals and families concerning the potential for recovery that now exists for these children.
Speakers included Karen Adolph of New York University, Federico Canavese of Universite de Lille, France, Gerasimenko, Singh, Katie Lucas of UofL, and Kyle Brothers and Margaret Calvery of UofL and Norton Children’s, along with parents of children with SCI.
The summit is held every two years in conjunction with the Kentucky Spinal Cord and Head Injury Research Trust Symposium.