Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems are specialized programs of care that were created so that researchers can study and find ways to improve people's recovery (how much better they get) and outcomes (how well they do in all aspects of their lives) after a spinal cord injury.

Model Systems improve medical, vocational and other rehabilitation services for people with spinal cord injuries so they can live full and productive lives in the community.

What do Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems do?

For information on all Model Systems, including those on Spinal Cord Injury, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Burns.

Model Systems gather information and conduct spinal cord injury research with the goal of improving:

  • Long-term functioning
  • Employment and other vocational opportunities
  • Quality of life
  • Independent living

Model Systems demonstrate and evaluate ways to reach out to people with SCI in the community and provide education to help them with the problems they experience in areas such as:

  • Housing
  • Transportation
  • Recreation
  • Employment
  • Community activities

The NIDILRR asks all Model Systems to:

  • Establish a multidisciplinary system for providing rehabilitation services specifically designed to meet the unique needs of individuals with SCI. These services include:
    • Acute care (inpatient rehabilitation)
    • Periodic inpatient and/or outpatient follow-up
    • Independent living and employment
  • Contribute research data to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, the world's largest spinal cord injury database.This database has been the source of information for many important studies conducted at U-M and throughout the nation. Researchers use this data to learn more about many aspects of SCI, including:
    • Long-term consequences of SCI
    • Medical rehabilitation
    • Health and wellness
    • Service delivery
    • Short-term and long-term interventions
    • Systems research
  • Disseminate information and research findings to patients, family members, health-care providers, educators, policymakers and the general public.
  • Nurture close working relationships with governmental and voluntary institutions and organizations to unify and coordinate scientific efforts, encourage collective planning, and promote the interchange of data and reports among SCI researchers.


Spinal Cord Injury Program