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A.M. Barrett, PhD posing with left hand on her cheek wearing a labcoat

Dr. A.M. Barrett Accepted as Fellow in the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Program for Women

November 30, 2017

A.M. Barrett, MD, director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation, has been accepted as a Fellow in the 2017-2018 Class of the Hedwig van Ameringen Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) Program for Women at Drexel University, College of Medicine. The year-long program is specially designed for senior women faculty in schools of medicine, dentistry or public health who demonstrate the greatest potential for assuming executive leadership positions. The ELAM program provides fellows with the professional and personal skills needed to lead in today’s dynamic health care environment.

Despite the increasing number of women enrolling in medical, dental

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Jerome “Jerry” Kessler, Pioneer in Prosthetics and Orthotics

October 24, 2017

Son of Dr. Henry H. Kessler, founder of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, passes away at age 93. 

Jerome “Jerry” S. Kessler’s life was shaped by his belief that “all men, regardless of their handicap, are created equal.” Kessler combined his love of medicine with his expertise in engineering to create solutions for individuals with missing limbs due to amputation or congenital anomalies.  His pioneering work in prosthetics and orthotics was based ‘not just on bolts and nuts, but on an understanding of what is going to be most useful to make that patient independent.” His leaderships contributed to the professional standards for the education of modern practitioners


AXSChat Hosts Elaine Katz, Senior Vice President for Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation

October 4, 2017



Elaine Katz, MS, CCC-SP, Senior Vice President for Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation, talks on AXSChat about the rise and influence of collaborative funding to enhance inclusion of people with disabilities (PwD) in the workplace in the United States and internationally. Katz goes on to discuss her views on the future of disability employment, highlighting the Foundation’s monthly, custom report detailing the participation of PwD in the workplace: National Trends in Disability Employment (nTIDE). nTIDE is currently tracking an upward 17-consecutive-month trend of labor-force participation among PwD. In addition, Katz

Dr. John Oneill Smilng

It's March! Awareness Month for MS and TBI

March 3, 2017

March 3, 2017. Two disabling neurological conditions share March Awareness Month – multiple sclerosis (MS) and traumatic brain injury (TBI).  These conditions share other things as well, including causing an array of cognitive, emotional and physical disabilities, and presenting barriers to finding and maintaining employment. Because employment is fundamental to productive and independent living, research is underway at Kessler Foundation to address the spectrum of challenges faced by individuals living with MS and


Benefiting the Community and Workers with Disabilities: The Dual Successes of Social Enterprises

November 23, 2016

By Elaine Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, Senior Vice President of Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation

Over the last ten years, there has been tremendous growth in social enterprise businesses, which are nonprofit or for-profit business ventures that strive to achieve a quantifiable double bottom line of financial and social returns. In many cases, these are revenue-generating businesses run by nonprofit organizations for both mission-driven and profit-driven motives. Often, these are organizations that understand and already provide services to the individuals they plan to employ through these businesses.  Because the goal of social enterprise businesses is to be self-sustaining, they often adapt commercial strategies to increase their effectiveness.  This approach has been

Employment & Disability

Investing in the Future of People with Disabilities: Our Partnership with the John J. Heldrich School of Workforce Development

October 10, 2016

By Elaine Katz, MS, CCC-SLP, Senior Vice President of Grants and Communications at Kessler Foundation


Two decades ago, the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development was founded to strengthen the American workplace through workforce education, placement and training programs, and policy development. The Center, named for New Jersey business and community leader John J. Heldrich, is based at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Over the past 20 years, the Heldrich Center has become known as a national leader in addressing the needs of employers and jobseekers. Our own mission has been furthered through our relationship with the Center’s experts. For the past six years, Kessler Foundation has

person in wheelchair

Latest Connections now Available - our consumer newsletter for individuals with spinal cord injury

October 3, 2016

It’s out! Here’s the latest issue of Connections - the consumer newsletter from our Northern New Jersey SCI Model System. Dave Carver is pretty pleased to see his personal story - "Small Steps toward Big Gains" - on the cover!


*Read about how Dave Carver and Mike Smith are coping with life after spinal cord injury.

*See tips from Dr. Brooks on bowel management and Dr. Zanca on caregiving issues.

*Learn about new resources and Kessler Institute’s Peer Mentoring Program.


*Find out about opportunities to participate in research.

kessler foundation blog

Fire or False alarm? Restoring confidence in fMRI research

August 8, 2016

By Ekaterina Dobryakova, PhD, research scientist in Traumatic Brain Injury Research at Kessler Foundation.

During the past few weeks I have been bombarded with text messages, Facebook posts and face-to-face questions and remarks from friends, colleagues and relatives. The theme I heard from very different people contained very similar information: several Internet posts with a very glum message were asserting that years of neuroimaging research are invalidated. For example, some posts like this one from the UK’s Register: fMRI bugs could upend years of research, sounded an alarm about a bug in analysis software that neuroimaging researchers use to analyze brain data, while others called into question the whole analysis strategy, e.g., A bug in fMRI software could invalidate 15

kessler foundation blog

Volunteers needed for Gulf War Illness study

May 16, 2016

Although it has been 25 years since the Gulf War I ceasefire, many veterans are living with the consequences of Gulf War Illness. Kessler Foundation needs help from Gulf War-era veterans to answer important questions about their health-related quality of life. If you are a Gulf War Veteran (Desert Storm, Desert Shield, OEF, OIF, OND) and are between the ages of 18-65, you are eligible to help us with our research.  We are interested in veterans with and without Gulf War Illness. Enrollment in the study involves taking surveys and having an MRI brain scan at Kessler Foundation in West Orange, New Jersey. If you live more than 90 miles from West Orange we may be able to provide overnight stay accommodations. In appreciation for your time, you will receive $100.00.

Dr. Barrett discusses hidden disability after stroke on NJTV

Dr. Barrett discusses hidden disability after stroke on NJTV

May 10, 2016


On April 29, Dr. A.M. Barrett, director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation, appeared on NJTV's One on One show to discuss how stroke can disrupt a person’s 'internal GPS', causing them to have difficulties in navigating the environment – a disabling condition called spatial neglect. With host Steve Adubato, Dr. Barrett demonstrated how prism goggles are used to treat this hidden disability. Here’s the link!


May is Stroke Awareness Month!


Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, Denise Krch, PhD, and Andrea Gagliano MS

Caring for Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury

March 16, 2016

By Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, Denise Krch, PhD, and Andrea Gagliano, MS TBI researchers at Kessler Foundation

According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least 5.3 million Americans need long-term or lifelong help with their activities of daily living as a result of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Their families are often their primary custodians. With caregiving comes considerable physical and emotional burdens and a decline in quality of life. Unfortunately, the voices of caregivers are often lost in the midst of caring for the individuals with TBI.

How big is the problem? Approximately 1.4 million TBIs occur each year with 80,000 to 90,000 new persons who need ongoing care. For 17% of them, their disabilities are moderate to severe. The impact is devastating to the

kessler foundation blog

As published in the Star-Ledger, Jan. 13, 2016 - Op-Ed by Rodger DeRose

March 11, 2016

The economy is rebounding,  which means job openings are increasing across a variety of sectors. With the gains in education, policy and legislation over the past quarter century, Americans with disabilities are better prepared than ever for fulfilling jobs and careers.

Advertising openings and searching for jobs has never been easier thanks to advances in technology and social media, in particular.

Yet many people with disabilities are still striving to connect to the workplace, according to recent jobs data, and many employers are failing to connect with qualified candidates for

Anthony Lequerica, PhD with his arms crossed wearing a lab coat

Wake Up to What Matters Most!

March 11, 2016

By Anthony Lequerica, PhD, research scientist in TBI Research at Kessler Foundation. Dr. Lequerica, a neuropsychologist, shares how he manages life with a hidden disability, and succeeds in helping himself and others with disabilities. 


At age 16, the onset of narcolepsy, a life-long neurological disorder, diverted me from my plans to go to medical school, but put me on a path to a career for which I have a great deal of passion. I decided to major in psychology and with much hard work and perseverance, and the support of friends, family, teachers, and university organizations, I earned my Ph.D. It took me a LONG time, but I did it. Along the way, I learned many important lessons about accepting my limitations and educating others about disability. As a result of my

kessler foundation blog

Education and Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

March 11, 2016

John O’Neill, PhD, explores how to maximize the impact of education on employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Dr. O’Neill is Kessler Foundation’s director of Disability & Employment Research. 


Education and Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities: Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?



We know that in the general population individuals with postsecondary education have higher incomes and lower unemployment rates than those with only high school diplomas or less. We also know that the impact of rising levels of education on work-life earnings surpasses that of all other demographic factors.


We know that over the past 5 years, education levels have risen among people with disabilities, so how are educational