Kessler Foundation Press Releases

Dr. Zanca Recognized for Contributions to Rehabilitation Research for Spinal Cord Injury

Dr. Jeanne Zanca receiving award at ACRM and standing with a male and female

Jeanne Zanca, PhD, MPT, senior research scientist at Kessler Foundation, named Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine

East Hanover, NJ, December 10, 2019. Jeanne M. Zanca, PhD, MPT, senior research scientist in the Centers for Spinal Cord Injury Research and Outcomes & Assessment Research at Kessler Foundation, was named Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM). Dr. Zanca was recognized for her outstanding record of professional service to ACRM and contributions of national significance to spinal cord injury rehabilitation research. She accepted this honor on November 7, 2019 at the ACRM Henry B. Betts Awards Gala at the Hilton Chicago.

Regarding this recognition by ACRM, Dr. Zanca commented: “Being involved in ACRM brings me tremendous professional and personal satisfaction.  Networking with peers across other disciplines of rehabilitation medicine has enriched my research in the field of spinal cord injury. ACRM’s unique environment fosters collaborations that help rehabilitation researchers and clinicians address common challenges and seize shared opportunities. I encourage my colleagues and professionals starting their careers to take advantage of all that ACRM has to offer.” 

Dr. Zanca, a graduate of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, earned her masters and doctoral degrees at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the prevention and management of secondary complications of spinal cord injury (SCI). She has served as principal investigator on projects funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation and the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research to examine the value of mind-body intervention programs to enable effective coping with chronic pain post-SCI.  Dr. Zanca has also served as principal investigator for two multi-site projects funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the U.S. Department of Defense to improve the training for caregivers of people with SCI and to develop an assessment tool to measure competence in self-directed care by persons with tetraplegia as well as the caregiving skills of their caregivers. 

Since 2008, Dr. Zanca has contributed to the development of a system for specifying and classifying rehabilitation interventions with support from NIDILRR and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.  Dr. Zanca is a co-investigator for the Northern New Jersey Spinal Cord Injury System, a NIDILRR-funded Spinal Cord Injury Model System (SCIMS) and co-chair of the national SCIMS Knowledge Translation Committee. In addition to her extensive work in dissemination, she is the author/co-author of more than 20 peer-reviewed publications and serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, the peer-reviewed official journal of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals.

Dr. Zanca’s ongoing commitments to ACRM include membership on the Board of Governors, the Training Institute Committee, and the Program Committee and Communications Committees. She recently completed a term as chair of the Spinal Cord Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (SCI-SIG), co-chairs the Task Force on Secondary Complications and Aging of SCI-SIG, and is chair-elect of the Rehabilitation Treatment Specification Networking Group.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities.

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