New U-M initiative maximizes health, independence for individuals with spinal cord injuries in rural communities

Armen Hareyan's picture

Funded in part by a Christopher Reeve Foundation grant, initiative aims to increase access to transportation, jobs, health care for people with SCI in rural Mich.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. There are very few limitations to what people living with a spinal cord injury or other physical disabilities can accomplish in life - they can work, drive, play sports, have children and receive quality health care for their disability, if they have access to and knowledge about the resources available to them.

Unfortunately, people with a spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities living in many of Michigan's 58 rural counties often do not have the same ease of access to these resources as people in larger cities. As a result, they often face a multitude of barriers to receiving quality health care services and maintaining independent and healthy living.


Now a new education initiative created by the University of Michigan Health System's Model Spinal Cord Injury Care System is working to change the common belief that living in a smaller community means people with SCI should have less access to health care providers who specialize in SCI and fewer, if any, transportation and work resources available to them.

The purpose of the U-M Spinal Cord Injury Rural Health Education Initiative, which is funded in part by a Quality of Life grant from the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, is to maximize health and independence for people with SCI by connecting them with information about available resources in Michigan.

A large network of organizations and government programs is currently available that provide resources to those in rural communities living with SCI.