The journey has been long and with many twists in the road, but I finally feel like I’m home. I remember the first time I ever heard of implanted functional electrical stimulation (FES) devices (neuroprosthetics). I was at a regeneration meeting in 2003 and I saw thus guy showing videos of people with cervical injuries regaining hand function and triceps function. This guy happened to be Dr. Hunter Peckham, founder of the Cleveland FES Center and, more recently, the IFR. I was thinking ‘why didn’t anyone ever tell me about neuroprosthetics?’ I had already been injured for 15 years. Fast forward another 15 years (I’ll cover those years as we progress in our journey) and here I am moving to a place where it snows to work with this man and the amazing, passionate, committed team that he has built. Why would I do that? Because I believe in how important this technology is to improving the lives of so many people living with spinal cord injury (SCI). I want to do everything I can to push these interventions out of the research realm and into clinically available treatment options.
I joined the team in March as a Professor in the Case Western Reserve University Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the MetroHealth Medical Center. First and foremost, I bring with me my expertise in obtaining the perspectives of people living with SCI to inform research. I will further these efforts to contribute critical data to the successful deployment of neuroprosthetics. Additionally, have substantial experience with clinical trials and outcome measures for SCI. I look forward to working with the team as we develop our multi-center, pivotal trial for the upper extremity configuration of the Networked Neuroprosthesis. Lastly, I very much enjoy communicating with the SCI community and will be regularly blogging on the IFR website!
–Kim Anderson-Erisman, PhD