Northern NJ SCI Model System

The Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System (NNJSCIS) was established as a model system of spinal cord injury care in 1990 by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to serve all of New Jersey, an ethnically diverse region of 8.8 million people, and parts of New York. This project is a cooperative effort of the Kessler Foundation Research Center, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (KIR). The NNJSCIS provides a comprehensive continuum of state-of-the-art care for persons with spinal cord injuries (SCI) and their significant others from the time of injury through long-term follow-up in the community.

As one of only 14 model systems approved for the 2011-2016 grant funding cycle, NNJSCIS' primary purpose is to generate new knowledge, and to improve outcomes for spinal cord injured individuals through the development of improved interventions and expanded service delivery options. This endeavor will be achieved by conducting a variety of research projects focusing on the continuity of care, issues of general health, and prevention of secondary complications, resulting in improved outcomes. In addition, the research team will conduct a demonstration project on the accessibility of public facilities for individuals with SCI, particularly restaurants and medical offices.

Another purpose of the NNJSCIS is to collect and submit acute, rehabilitation and follow-up data on SCI patients who received care in the system following injury. This information is submitted to the National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center, located at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where it is combined with that of the other model systems to provide detailed SCI research material and statistics. Approximately 300 persons with traumatic and non-traumatic SCI are admitted each year to our system of care. Additionally, the outpatient clinic at Kessler provides follow-up to over 1500 individuals with SCI annually.

Our goal is to ultimately improve the quality of life for individuals with spinal cord injuries. Through our research, we hope to assist those in the medical community, as well as patients and their families, to better understand the nature of such injuries and provide new opportunities for a rewarding lifestyle. Visit our consumer resources page and read our SCI Newsletter for more information.

If you are a participant in the NNJSCIS and would like to update your contact information, please contact the project coordinator Rachel Byrne at or 973-324-3567.

Click here to learn more about the SCI Model System and the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC).

The NNJSCIS is supported by grant H133N110020 from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Dept of Education, Washington, DC

2015 SCI Grandrounds Podcast

July 15

Surgical Management of Ventilator Dependency in SCI (podcast, 29:46) Speaker: Matthew Kaufman, MD FACS, The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center

Advances in Pressure Sore Management (podcast, 29:46) Speaker: Lisa F. Schneider, MD, The Institute for Advanced Reconstruction at The Plastic Surgery Center

March 30

Motor Learning Strategies Applied to Neurorehabilitation (podcast, 41:52) | PDF Speaker: Joseph Hidler, PhD, CEO of Aretech, LLC, Ashburn, Virginia

April 14

Lokomat Robotic Training: Who is the appropriate patient? (podcast, 52:45) | PDF Speaker: Natalie Cavadini, DPT, PT, Proficient Physical Therapist, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation


2014 SCI Consumer Conference Podcast

Rising to the Challenge: Creating Employment Opportunity and Maximizing Success