What is a Model System?

The NIDILRR-funded model system centers are a group of projects that conduct research and development activities focused on spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, or burn injury. According to the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center "Model Systems pool information and conduct research intended to improve the long-term functional, vocational, cognitive, and quality-of-life outcomes in individuals with TBI, SCI, or burn injury." - See more at: http://www.msktc.org/about-model-systems#sthash.98qRdUzj.dpuf

Each system contributes to a national database. This data provides invaluable, long-term tracking of the progress of individuals with these injuries.

Could my facility receive a model system designation?

To be designated a Model System, a facility must provide:

  • Emergency medical services
  • Acute care
  • Rehabilitative care
  • Psychosocial adjustment
  • Long term follow-up/community integration
  • A primary injury prevention program
  • Collaborative and site-specific research
  • The facility must also collect, manage and analyze patient data collected during the acute hospitalization phase and on a regular basis after discharge. (From the Southeastern Regional Spinal Cord Injury System Center at Shepherd Rehabilitation Hospital).

Traditionally, the Model Systems have been funded in 5 year cycles. The current SCI model systems were funded in 2011. The TBI and Burn Model Systems were funded in 2012. NIDILRR will release a notice inviting applications during the final year of a cycle (i.e. 2016 for the next SCI model systems). These are always published in the Federal Register and at grants.gov. Facilities interested in applying for a model system grant must submit a grant application with proposed research and go through a site review.

Can I get treatment at a model system center?

Each center serves a "catchement area" which may extend across multiple counties or even multiple states. Contact the project near you to find out whether they are accepting patients for current studies and how to qualify. To find the center nearest you, visit http://www.msktc.org/ and select the appropriate center type (SCI, TBI, Burn). The Model Systems and MSKTC may also seek participants for surveys and other research. Look for the Get Involved link at msktc.org.