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Professional Organizations, Journals, and Education

Resources for the health care professional in the field of Spinal Cord Injury or Disease rehabilitation and care

1. Educational resources

1.1. Shepherd Center NeuroRehabilitation Learning Institute

Shepherd Center Neurorehabilitation Learning Institute

Online courses are now available for the continuing education of healthcare professionals from the experts at Shepherd Center, a Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center.  Courses offer interdisciplinary professional education to support the treatment of complex neurological conditions such as brain and spinal cord injury. These courses are designed to enhance your professional development. Please note their educational policies and terms and conditions for use at the above link.

1.2. Educating Nursing staff about SCI

United Spinal association Factsheet: Educating Nursing Staff to Care for the Spinal Cord Injury Patient

United Spinal Asociation Resource Center recognizes that a nursing team, in a particular setting, may not be familiar with spinal cord injury or disease (SCI/D). Further, we recognize and understand that nurses and related personnel may need assistance to better understand the complex care needs of a person with a SCI/D. Valid SCI/D information and resources are useful and important tools to assist in necessary staff education. Specific knowledge and understanding about SCI/D is essential to develop best practices and deliver patient care with improved outcomes. We are always eager to provide guidance when we are contacted by professional staff members who want to increase their knowledge about caring for the person who has sustained or is living with a SCI/D.

As you know, SCI/D is a catastrophic, life-changing injury; it affects all systems of the body.  A person may also become SCI/D as the result of a medical condition or intervention. This injury/dysfunction is unique to each person, i.e. no two injuries are alike.  Consequently, knowledge of care needs and outcomes is so very important as the nurses and health care team are helping this person to begin the rest of his/her life with a body that now works differently.  The goal should be to help that person, and his family, have hope for tomorrow and to realize that they can still live a full, independent, productive life, within the limits of their disability.

There are some excellent resources available to help you with staff education.  Below is a listing of books, websites and organizations that may help you on this journey:


1.    Nelson, Audrey, Ed.  Nursing Practice Related to Spinal Cord Injury and Disorders: A Core Curriculum.  2001 EPVA (now United Spinal Association).  A very comprehensive, excellent presentation written for a broad range of nurses.  Each Chapter includes Learning Objectives, Specific Introductory and Content sections, Practical Applications, References and Bibliographies.

2.    Barker, Ellen, MSN, RN, CNRN.  Neuroscience Nursing: A Spectrum of Care, 3rd Ed. 2008 Mosby Elsevier. Detailed text on neuroscience nursing with very good sections on SCI, rehabilitation, non-traumatic disorders of the spine.

3.    Dobbs, Jean et al.  Spinal Network: The Total Wheelchair Resource Book, 4th Ed.  No Limits Communications. Available from New Mobility Bookstore.  Excellent reference for both the professional and consumer.  Contains good, practical information and an excellent list of resources.


  1. Consortium of Spinal Cord Medicine - Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Professional:   Can be downloaded for free from PVA publications, available on CD-ROMS, or can be ordered for free in hard copy.  Scroll through the list...in particular see Guidelines for Bowel and Bladder management, Respiratory management and Autonomic Dysreflexia
  2. Consortium of Spinal Cord Medicine, Consumer Guides:  Practical, useful, concise (as above)

To access PVA Clinical Practice Guidelines and PVA Consumer Guides, please visit: Clinical Practice Guidelines and Consumer Guides

Web Sites:

  1. United Spinal Association: 
  2. University of Miami PoinTIS:  2009. Handbooks for consumer as well as  professionals for both SCI and TBI.  Excellent explanation of SCI, team members and their function, knowledge pertinent to each system affected by the level of injury, etc.  Read the content thoroughly
  3. Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC): The MSKTC summarizes research, identifies health information needs, and develops information resources to support the Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems Center programs in meeting the needs of individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) including numerous factsheets on important health and wellness topics.  
  4. University of Alabama, Spinal Cord Injury Model System Information Network:
    • SCI Fact Sheets: TheUAB-SCIMS offers a series of Information Sheets on selected topics related to SCI.
    • Rehab Tip Sheets: These sheets provide rehabilitation care providers and consumer caregivers  with step-by-step instructions and photo illustration on performing common activities.
    • Secondary Conditions of SCI Health Education Video SeriesThis 11-part video series is intended to be equally useful for persons with spinal cord impairments at home or by health and rehabilitation centers for education and training activities.  Videos are available as download, streaming video or DVDs that can be ordered.                                                                  
  5. Craig Hospital Health and Wellness Information: Educational brochures on living with SCI; includes practical advice
  6. Northwest Regional Spinal Cord System of Care:  Peruse the entire NW site; includes forums, pamphlets, and video series.  All are very good resources
  7. CareCure Forums: Professionally managed website, hosted by Rutgers University.  Includes several forums that are moderated by SCI professionals; Medical Administrator is Dr. Wise Young, a world renown neuroscience SCI researcher and MD who has devoted his entire medical career to SCI and people living with SCI.  The Care Forum is an excellent Forum to obtain Health information specific to SCI; it is moderated by a team of SCI Rehab nurses.
  8. Information on Passive Range of Motion , transfers, adaptive equipment:  Under SCI Manual for Patients and Families, see Movement Disorders in SCI


  1. Academy of SCI Professionals, Inc
  2. Association of Neuroscience Nurses
  3. Association of Rehabilitation Nurses.
  4. United Spinal Association: membership is free
  5. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation: Find a physiatrist for your patient.

Best wishes in your efforts to educate your staff!


This fact sheet, compiled by Charleene R. Frazier, RN, MS, information specialist, is offered by United Spinal Association as an information service (and a resource guide); it is not intended to cover all programs, treatments, or research in the field nor is it an endorsement of any aspect of its content.  Any information that you may have to further update this fact sheet would be greatly appreciated.  United Spinal provides information and referral on any subject related to spinal cord injury.  Contact the Resource Center at askus@unitedspinal.org or toll free at 1-800-962-9629, Monday through Friday from 8:30-5:00 ET.

Published: November 2008

Revised: June 2012



1.3. OT seeker

OT seeker   an online database of evidenced based trials, best practices and resources relevant to Occupational Therapy

1.4. PoinTIS

PoinTIS   handbook of resources for the provider and the consumer; a project of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.



Copyright © 2009 University of Miami School of Medicine.  The RehabTeamSite is a component of PoinTIS (Point-of-care, Team-based, Information System), which was developed by the Louis Calder Memorial Library and the Miami Project To Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami School of Medicine and by Pinecrest Rehabilitation Hospital, and funded in part by National Library of Medicine grant LM06583-01.

1.5. Professional Insights into Managing Pregnancy After Spinal Cord Injury, Video by University of Alabama, Birmingham

Professional Insights into Managing Pregnancy after Spinal Cord Injury is a video from the University of Alabama at Birmingham Spinal Cord Injury Model System (UAB-SCIMS).

This 25 minute video offers a guide for healthcare professionals who encounter women with spinal cord injury who have concerns about having a safe and successful pregnancy. It features UAB-SCIMS experts in the fields of physiatry, nursing, and occupational therapy. And it features an obstetrician who has not had specific training for women with spinal cord injury who are pregnant. None the less, he successfully managed one woman's journey through two pregnancies, who also shares her pregnancy experiences as a woman with a SCI.


1.6. PVA Clinical Practice Guidelines

PVA Clinical Practice Guidelines 
Developed for healthcare specialists based on evidence-based research conducted by the Consortium for Spinal Cord Medicine, these comprehensive and useful booklets are available in print, as interactive eBooks, or as free downloadable PDFs.   PVA Consumer Guidelines, available for patient use can be found in the Health and Wellness Knowledge Book in chapters about particular body systems.

1.7. The Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care

The Center for Linguistic and Cultural Competence in Health Care  Culturally competent health care for minority populations; learn the elements and importance of providing the right health care for a minority patient; bridge the health care gap!


1.8. Open Door Forums

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services "Open Door Forums" provide an opportunity for live dialogue between CMS and the provider community at large, in order to understand and then help find solutions to contemporary program issues. Provider forum participants learn from each other's discussions, uncover useful clarifications regarding the different rules and instructions associated with coverage, coding, and payment, and generally become more of an asset to their office or facility's well being. The forums also proactively engage beneficiary advocates - in discussions of the opportunities and challenges associated with supporting access, improving medical outcomes, lowering costs, and improving quality within our programs.

1.9. Docs for Tots

Docs for Tots   The mission of Docs For Tots is to develop, support, and grow a network of doctors prepared to respond to the requests of child advocacy organizations and others who seek doctor involvement in promoting policies and practices that will improve the health and development of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

2. Educational conferences

2.1. Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

Association of Rehabilitation Nurses   Become a certified Rehab Nurse.  Rehabilitation nursing is a philosophy of care. A rehabilitation nurse practices a holistic approach to meeting patients' medical, vocational, educational, environmental, and spiritual needs.

A registered nurse with at least 2 years of practice in rehabilitation nursing can earn distinction as a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse (CRRN®) by successfully completing an examination that validates expertise.


2.2. Contemporary Forums

Contemporary Forums    Annual conference for neuro-rehabilitation/SCI professionals, or those new to the field, that offers a multi-disciplinary clinical perspective on the rehabilitation of persons who have sustained a spinal cord injury

3. Professional journals

3.1. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is the official journal of the ACRM | American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, an organization focused on the creation and use of knowledge in the rehabilitation process. The Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and clinical reports on important trends and developments in medical rehabilitation and related fields.

3.2. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine

Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine -  The Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine is published on behalf of the Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP). A peer reviewed journal that publishes articles pertaining to spinal cord injury; published five times per year.

3.3. SCI Psychosocial Process Online

SCI Psychosocial Process Online   A journal of the American Association SCI Psychologists and Social Workers

3.4. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation

Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation (TSCIR) is a journal for clinical, peer-reviewed, state-of-the-art insight with an interdisciplinary focus. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation is a resource for the entire SCI care team, including physiatrists, PTs, OTs, rehabilitation nurses, psychologists, neurologists, orthopedists, and many other team members.

4. Professional Membership Organizations

4.1. Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals, Inc. (ASCIP)

The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals vision is to be the world's premier, interdisciplinary organization dedicated to advancing the care of people with spinal cord injury/dysfunction (SCI). Specifically, they envision a world where people with disabilities are healthier, more independent, and more empowered through a comprehensive lifetime of care and full community participation to take on all the challenges that life presents.

ASCIP is a not for profit incorporated association comprised of 4 professional sections: American Paraplegia Society (APS), Association of Spinal Cord Injury Nurses (ASCIN), Psychologists and Social Workers (PSW) and Therapy Leadership Council (TLC).


4.2. American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation  serves the needs of practicing PM&R physicians; advances the specialty of physical medicine and rehabilitation, promotes excellence in physiatric practice, and advocates on public policy issues related to persons with disabling conditions.

4.3. American Spinal Injury Association

American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) is a multidisciplinary organization whose membership is composed of physicians, researchers, clinical health professionals, and interested advocates specifically involved in spinal cord injury management. ASIA promotes and establishes standards of excellence, educates members and others on all aspects of spinal cord injury, fosters research that includes prevention of as well as finding a cure for spinal cord injury and facilitates communications amongst all interested parties both professional and consumer.  

4.4. Association of Rehabilitation Nurses

The Association of Rehabilitation Nurses is devoted to advancing and promoting rehabilitation nursing in a variety of practice settings.  Persons can become a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse through the program offered by Rehabilitation Nursing Certification Board.