Trending at Kessler Foundation

 

Jimmy Brown

Your Support Fuels Jimmy's Competitive Drive and Gives Him Hope

June 17, 2020

Happy Father's Day! Your generosity makes all the difference for fathers like Jimmy Brown, who live with spinal cord injury. You advance groundbreaking rehabilitation research to help Jimmy and others overcome their disabilities and live fuller, more engaged lives with their families.

Sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2004 at age 24 didn’t change athlete Jimmy Brown’s competitive personality. Jimmy approaches his post-injury rehabilitation with the same drive he exhibited on the playing field as a pitcher for St. Peter’s University—a Division I school.

“My ability to play competitive sports may have disappeared,” says Jimmy, “but my competitive drive remains. Over the years, I’ve joined many Kessler Foundation research studies, always pushing


Head-shot of Dr. Jeanne Zanca

Enabling Optimal Care After Spinal Cord Injury - An Online Curriculum for Personal Care Assistants

June 17, 2020

In this episode of Kessler Foundation's podcast, Dr. Jeanne Zanca, senior research scientist in the Center for Spinal Cord Injury Research and Center for Outcomes and Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation, discusses "Enabling Optimal Care After Spinal Cord Injury - An Online Curriculum for Personal Care Assistants." 

 

 

Listen to the podcast and download this episode and others for free on Apple PodcastsSoundCloud


Jack Fanous, GI Go Fund CEO and co-founder

Helping Veterans Adapt in the COVID Economy: The GI Go Fund Focus on Employment

June 8, 2020

By Carolann Murphy, PA

 

Transition from military service to the civilian sector presents challenges for veterans, especially for those with disabilities. With recent shocks to the economy caused by the spread of COVID-19, these challenges are magnified. Among the organizations dedicated to helping veterans is the Newark-based GI Go Fund, a nonprofit that assists veterans with finding employment, accessing housing, and claiming their educational and medical benefits.

Employment initiatives, implemented with community partnerships, are a major focus of the GI Go Fund, according to CEO and co-founder Jack Fanous. One initiative, Disabled Veterans to Work, enabled veterans with disabilities to work from home, providing customer


Wallet with credit cards, money and receipts scattered

The COVID Economy: Challenges and Opportunities for People with Disabilities

June 8, 2020

By Carolann Murphy, PA

Both people with and without disabilities are being negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of both absence from work and layoffs. At this point in time, the effects seem to be proportionately similar for both groups, with greater numbers of people being absent from work and laid off than during the Great Recession of 2008-2009.

The implications are profound for organizations that provide direct services for people with disabilities, such as state vocational rehabilitation agencies, community-based employment programs, and independent living services. These service providers are adapting to the situation, assisting clients with acute needs for


FAIR’s program director Libby Whiteside at Disability Rights Louisiana.

Transitioning from the Criminal Justice System in the COVID Economy: the FAIR project

June 8, 2020

By Carolann Murphy, PA

Finding a job and maintaining employment are challenges for everyone today, and people with disabilities who are striving to work face mounting challenges to reaching their goal of financial independence. Individuals with disabilities who are re-entering the community from jail or prison have even greater needs for comprehensive services and supports. The pandemic has promoted early release of inmates to reduce exposure in crowded facilities, increasing the need for vocational support for this population.

In Louisiana, which has the highest incarceration rate in the nation, efforts were already underway to improve employment outcomes and financial security of formerly incarcerated individuals with disabilities, with an ultimate goal of


Valentina Morales, FEDCAP’s senior director of Justice Initiatives.

Coordinating Care from Detention to Release to the Community: The Women’s Project

June 8, 2020

By Carolann Murphy, PA

 

Even in a strong economy, finding and maintaining employment is difficult for those living with disability, and making that transition is complicated further by poverty, mental illness, and incarceration. Women dealing with these issues need comprehensive and consistent services in order to achieve personal freedom, meaningful work, and financial independence while meeting their personal goals and family responsibilities.

The Women’s Project provides an alternative to pretrial detention for women who cannot afford monetary bail. Part of a partnership of Wildcat Services Corporation, an agency of The FEDCAP Group (FEDCAP), defenders and district attorneys, The Women’s Project


Tammy and family

Living a Full Life Despite MS, Tammy Reclaims Her Power

May 27, 2020

Saturday, May 30, is World Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Day. With your generosity, you help people with MS like Tammy stay employed and live their
life to the fullest.

Tammy Quasius, a biologist, wife, and mother of two, started experiencing symptoms of fatigue, numbness, and trouble thinking and remembering.
She suspected MS, but it took three years before she was diagnosed. Then, she worried. "How will I take care of my kids? Will I be able to work?" 

Tammy set a goal of maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. She learned about Kessler Foundation’s MS research and


Two women sitting in chairs and chatting

Social Cognition: What Is It, and How Does It Impact Persons with TBI?

May 22, 2020

By Helen Genova, PhD, Assistant Director, Center for Neuropsychology and Neuroscience Research, Kessler Foundation

Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often face a wide range of challenges, including the ability to connect with others. For many, making or maintaining social connections can be a struggle. They may find it more difficult to engage in conversation or find themselves getting into arguments more frequently. These symptoms are not uncommon and may be due to impairments in social cognition.  

Social cognition refers to the skills we use whenever we interact with others. These skills help us understand another person’s thoughts, beliefs, and feelings and helps us to communicate with them.  

For example,


People with their backs turned, listening to a lecture

Brain Injury Support Groups

May 15, 2020

By Andrea Trotta Gagliano, MS, CRC, LPC, Research Coordinator, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Kessler Foundation

Whether you are a brain injury survivor or a caregiver, your world has forever been changed. You likely face many challenges, have many concerns, and may be unsure how to navigate this “new normal.” You may also feel alone. Finding the right support and resources is critical. And one of the best resources for both survivors and caregivers is a support group.

Peer support groups bring together individuals who share a common condition or situation. More specifically, brain injury support groups focus on the scope of emotional, psychological, behavioral, and social consequences of injury. They provide a forum for


Helen and Anthony

This Mother's Day, Support, Heal, Inspire.

May 6, 2020

Happy Mother's Day! Now, more than ever, because of COVID-19 and the challenging and uncertain times in which we find ourselves, people with disabilities need our help. With your generosity, Dr. Helen Genova, Kessler Foundation researcher and mother, can seek ways to help young people with autism, like her son Anthony, land jobs.

When Helen’s son Anthony was four years old, he was diagnosed with autism. She and her husband found themselves travelling an unexpected path with no map to guide them. They learned that finding the right schools and programs was crucial to easing their journey. But Anthony is now thirteen and they worry about what his future holds. Will he find a


Collage of Kessler staff working from home

Kessler Staff Share Stories and Tips for Successfully Working from Home

May 1, 2020

By Nicky Miller and Sybrina Blissett 

 

 

With some changes and provided resources, Kessler Foundation employees have been very productive while sheltering at home from COVID-19. With short notice, employees responded by developing plans to adapt to a new routine and work environment.

Here are a few stories and tips from employees from different departments at Kessler Foundation who are currently working from home, and doing it successfully.

 


A woman peacefully sleeping

Optimizing Healthy Sleep Habits during the COVID-19 Pandemic

April 29, 2020

In this episode of Kessler Foundation's podcast, Anthony Lequerica, PhD and Erica Weber, PhD, share information about "Optimizing Healthy Sleep Habits during the COVID-19 Pandemic."  At the Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation, Dr. Lequerica is a senior research scientist and Dr. Weber is a research scientist. 

 

Listen to the podcast, view the transcript and download this episode and others for free on 


A woman and a man sitting side by side and smiling.

Ray Himber: The Healing Power of Family and Community

April 29, 2020

By Mallory Houston, Research Assistant, Center for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, Kessler Foundation

Snowmobiling was one of Ray Himber’s favorite sports. The former auto mechanic always enjoyed riding across the snow-covered terrain with his family and friends – until January 6, 1996, when a snowmobiling accident changed his life forever. He sustained a traumatic brain injury, was airlifted to Wilson Medical Center near Binghamton, N.Y., and remained in a coma for seven weeks. When he emerged, Ray was unable to walk or speak. He couldn’t swallow   and eat. His prognosis was poor. Ray’s mother and primary caregiver, Maria, described the experience in one word: “Devastating.”

Ray was eventually transferred to Children’s Specialized