Greetings from Kessler Foundation—where research and compassion create change—thanks to your support. I’m Denise Fyffe, a dedicated researcher driven by a simple yet powerful mission—to improve the lives of those often overlooked. My work focuses on exploring disparities in access to healthcare and quality of life for people with disabilities, particularly Veterans living with spinal cord injury.
My story intertwines with theirs. Early in my career, a Veteran with SCI became my guiding light. His brilliance as a mentor and an advocate was rivalled only by his unwavering passion for rehabilitation research lighting the way for fellow Veterans. He left an indelible mark, teaching me that research isn't just about discovery—it's a lifeline to better tomorrows.
Your past support has already brought Kessler Foundation and the people we serve far, and today, I reach out with gratitude and an invitation to join us in support once again. I'm excited to share recent achievements as well as the vital work that remains ahead. There is more we need to understand about how we can best support those living with disabilities, particularly people in marginalized populations.
A recent study focused on the challenges faced by Veterans with spinal cord injury as they strive to secure and maintain employment. Their journey is multifaceted, with economic and personal obstacles often standing in their way. Through a carefully designed survey and focus groups, both developed in consultation with Veterans who understand these struggles intimately, we uncovered valuable insights.
The stories that emerged were both enlightening and sobering. These Veterans candidly revealed the hurdles they face—fears of losing crucial benefits while seeking employment, misconceptions held by employers, and biases from colleagues. Moreover, personal complications stemming from their injuries sometimes compound their challenges.
Our survey isn't just data—it's a tool for change. It empowers Veterans with SCI to approach potential employers armed with facts, illuminating their strengths, and underscoring their determination. This knowledge is shared within support groups, guides counselors' advice, and equips rehabilitation professionals with tailored strategies to foster success.
I humbly ask for your renewed support. With your continued partnership, we can further expand the reach of our research, facilitating recovery, independence, and success in the lives of those living with disabilities, especially our esteemed Veterans. Without you, we cannot. Please match your last gift—or even increase it. Our Veterans deserve our support.
Denise Fyffe, PhD
Senior Research Scientist,
Centers for Spinal Cord Injury Research
and Outcomes and Assessment Research