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Patients and medical professionals may call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information.

Patients and medical professionals may call 1-800-533-UPMC (8762) for more information.



UPMC Institute for Rehabilitation and Research at UPMC South Side Formed

New Rehab Focus Will Move Facilities From UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital in Squirrel Hill to UPMC South Side; Childrens Institute to Expand in Squirrel Hill Facility

PITTSBURGH, September 27, 2004 In a move that promises to make the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) one of the leading rehabilitation programs in the country, UPMC today announced the establishment of the UPMC Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (IRR) at UPMC South Side.

The creation of the IRR will move the hub of the UPMC Rehab Network from the former UPMC Rehabilitation Hospital in Squirrel Hill to UPMC South Side. The Squirrel Hill facility will be sold to the Childrens Institute, which currently shares the space with UPMC, for $9 million. The move will give patients access to the same quality rehabilitation services that have been provided at UPMC Rehab, in addition to the acute care services available at UPMC South Side, and cutting-edge research developments from the University of Pittsburgh's department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, one of the top departments of its kind in the United States.

By the year 2012, an estimated 20 percent of Americans will have some form of paralysis or other significant impairment. Baby boomers approaching the age where they are more likely to need rehab services paired with the large number of veterans with impairment from brain and spinal cord injury and limb loss promise to glut the system if we don't make a concerted effort to come up with new therapies. This is a growing public health problem that we simply cannot ignore, said Ross Zafonte, D.O., professor and chair, department of physical medicine and rehabilitation, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The creation of this new institute demonstrates UPMCs concern about the need for and commitment to advanced rehabilitation services and research not only in the Pittsburgh-area but nationwide. Dr. Zafonte also is vice president of clinical rehabilitation services for UPMC.

Similar to the highly-successful Hillman Cancer Center model, the IRR will house both the basic and clinical research facilities for the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation of the University of Pittsburgh, currently ranked 8th in National Institutes of Health funding among departments of its kind, and serve as the hub of the UPMC Rehabilitation Network. Research will focus on those patients who need acute rehabilitation services, including those with brain injury, spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and stroke. Proposed programs include a Project to Cure and Treat Paralysis that will focus on neuroregeneration and the development of neuroprostheses, curative spinal cord therapies, growth factors for nerve regeneration and improving motor recovery after stroke or brain injury, and a program to develop technology to restore the loss of function that results from amputation. Patients involved in this research also will benefit from other inpatient services available at UPMC South Side.

Over the years, rehabilitation services have become more complex and we have found that a large number of adult patients, especially those with injury to the central nervous system, benefit from having access to an acute care hospital. By moving the center of our rehabilitation services to UPMC South Side, we will be able to give our patients all the benefits and services provided by a specialized rehabilitation hospital along with those provided by an acute care facility, providing our patients with innovative clinical therapies that could not be done elsewhere said Thomas J. Hemming, president of the UPMC Rehabilitation Network. The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research will enable us to develop and utilize the most innovative technologies and methodologies for all levels of rehabilitative care and export these therapies to our network of rehabilitation facilities.

Facilities offered by UPMC South Side that were not available at UPMC Rehab include an on-site pharmacy, laboratory services, advanced radiology services and access to an emergency room.

A contributing factor to the move was lack of available space for growth for both UPMC and the Childrens Institutes programs. With this move, the Childrens Institute will be able to expand into the space previously occupied by UPMC, while the South Side offers many opportunities for future growth for UPMCs rehabilitation programs. Officials also cite the South Side as an ideal area for the development and growth of anticipated spin-off companies formed to market technologies developed from the research at the IRR.

We envision that bringing the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, with its state-of-the-art clinical and research programs, to UPMC South Side will do for the South Side what the Hillman Cancer Center has done for Shadyside, fostering the growth of new business and development, said Nancy J. Magee, president of UPMC South Side. This new institute, along with other UPMC- and University of Pittsburgh-supported developments like the McGowan Institute and UPMC Sports Medicine, will further efforts in making biotechnology the South Sides new steel industry.

Patients in need of more extensive inpatient rehabilitation therapy and those participating in IRR research will be seen at the hub at UPMC South Side or one of the other seven inpatient, hospital-based facilities in the UPMC system. Patients needing outpatient rehabilitation will be able to receive care close to home, and benefit from IRR research, in one of the more than 50 outpatient facilities across western Pennsylvania that are part of the UPMC Rehab Network, the largest network of rehabilitation facilities in the area. This extensive network allows patients with work- and sports-related injuries as well as those with conditions like stroke, orthopaedic disorders and traumatic injuries of the brain and spinal cord to receive care from UPMC physicians, therapists and specialists who are leaders in every facet of rehabilitation, in a center close to their home. Patients also can receive care from physical, occupational, speech and specialty therapists at the over 40 locations of the Centers for Rehab Services, a partner of UPMC.

Services will move from the Squirrel Hill facility to the South Side facility when renovations are completed in the summer of 2005.

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