Ohio State University in Columbus has announced a $10 million gift from the Belford Family Charitable Fund to establish a center within its Wexner Medical Center focused on spinal cord injury research.
Established in collaboration with the university's Neurological Institute, the Belford Center for Spinal Cord Injury will work to improve the quality of life of people with spinal cord injuries, which often lead to additional health problems, including high blood pressure, incontinence, and increased risk for infection, obesity, and diabetes. These secondary issues contribute significantly to the high mortality rate of people with spinal cord injuries, which has shown no improvement in more than twenty years. In the United States, an estimated 282,000 people are living with spinal cord injuries, and each year 17,000 Americans suffer a spinal cord injury.
Led by Phillip Popovich, professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience at Ohio State and director of Ohio State's Center for Brain and Spinal Cord Repair, and researchers Dana McTigue, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Neuroscience, and Dr. Jan Schwab, professor of Neurology and Neuroscience and director of the Spinal Cord Injury Division, the Belford Center will focus on novel research approaches, patient care, education, and training and will use the gift to establish a current use fund as well as two endowed chairs in spinal cord injury and an endowed research innovation fund.
"The Belford gift is a game-changer for Ohio State in a number of ways," said Popovich. "It establishes a lifetime commitment to promote spinal cord injury research at Ohio State. It also will allow us to test difficult and important questions more quickly. Accelerating discovery should allow us to move more quickly to the clinic, where we can tell patients, 'We're ready, we think we have something that can help you.'"