The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago's (RIC's) new facility, RIC Northshore, was scheduled to open in mid-January. This new 10,000-square-foot structure is the first RIC site to combine outpatient and day physical-rehabilitation treatments. Formerly an Olive Garden Restaurant, the entire interior was renovated to create a state-of-the-art rehab center.
RIC Northshore's outpatient services will generally involve short-term treatment, including physical, speech, and occupational therapy, typically provided in one-hour sessions, one to three times per week. Common conditions include sports injuries, strokes, arthritis, low-back pain, and other musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.
Day rehabilitation, the most intensive and coordinated therapeutic intervention outside the hospital setting, usually involves three to six hours of therapy per day, four to five days per week. This type of treatment, called DayRehabCenter at RIC, is for those who have experienced serious injuries or illnesses and as a result may have difficulty resuming activities crucial to their quality of life, even after completing a successful inpatient program.
Contact: RIC Northshore, (312) 272-7426.
BLADDER SYSTEM GETS FDA APPROVAL
The world's first commercially available implanted device that restores bladder function to people with spinal-cord injuries (SCI) was approved for marketing by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Humanitarian Device Exemption (HDE) provision.
Called the VOCARE Bladder System, this neuroprosthetic device for people with complete SCI at any level allows individuals to empty their bladders without catheters, medications, or adaptive equipment. FDA established the HDE provision to speed up the approval process for products that help a small, underserved population.
The NeuroControl VOCARE Bladder System consists of a pacemaker-type stimulator surgically implanted under the skin of the abdomen. The device sends electrical signals through electrodes to the spinal nerves leading to the bladder. These signals cause the muscles of the bladder and urethral sphincter to contract. After the bladder has contracted in response to the electrical stimulus, the sphincter muscles relax, allowing the bladder to empty.
Users operate the system with an external controller about the size of a stereo-cassette player. This sends command signals and power to the implant through the external controller when bladder stimulation is needed.
Contact: Susan Krebs, NeuroControl Corporation, (216) 912-0101, ext. 1012.
HOMES FOR ALL
Fannie Mae, one of the nation's largest sources of mortgage products and programs, has recently undertaken an effort to broaden home ownership opportunities for people with disabilities. Through a program sponsored by Fannie Mae, those whose incomes fall under 100% of an area's median income have the chance to buy a home.
HomeChoice operates in 17 states and the District of Columbia to provide qualified individuals with disabilities favorable financing terms through participating lenders on the purchase of single-family homes, townhouses, or condominiums.
Contact: Susan Prokop, PVA Advocacy Department, 801 Eighteenth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006. (202) 872-1300 / 416-7622 (TTY) / 785-4452 (fax).
COMMUNITY EFFORTS REWARDED
Seven cities and three counties are the recipients of cash prizes in the 1999 $30,000 National Organization on Disability (NOD) / United Parcel Service (UPS) Community Awards Competition. The event recognizes outstanding local programs and actions that expand the participation of citizens with disabilities in the life of the community.
The winners were Russellville, Ark.; Columbia, Mo.; Somerville, Mass.; Minneapolis; Cumberland, R.I.; Corning, N.Y.; Hibbing, Minn.; St. Mary Parish, La.; Orange County, N.C.; and Atlantic County, N.J.
Exceeding the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), Russellville was named the $10,000 Grand Prize winner. The city received the award for the positive way it came together to implement ADA. Its comprehensive program includes advising local government, businesses, and educational institutions; educating the community about disability issues; and involving people with all disabilities. With virtually no funding, Russellville went from a city with severe noncompliance of ADA to a community with widespread compliance.
According to River Valley Accessibility Council Chairman of the Board Sydney Case, the transformation occurred because of "people who are not afraid to dream and then back up those dreams with their own blood, sweat, and tears."
Hibbing, Minn., won for a modular ramp project that enables people who have newly acquired or temporary disabilities to continue living in their own homes.
NOD's Community Awards Competition is open to all towns, cities, and counties in the United States and its territories.
Contact: NOD, 910 Sixteenth Street, NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20006. (202) 293-5960 / 293-5968 (TDD) / 293-7999 (fax) / www.nod.org.
MEDICAL TRADE FAIRS
During 1999, Messe Dusseldorf's trade-fair program will include eight events for the medical industry worldwide. Three of the fairs will take place at the fairgrounds in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The program will begin with A+A 99, International Trade Fair and Congress for Occupational Safety and Health, which will be November 2-5. More than 1,000 exhibitors and 50,000 visitors are expected to attend. On November 3-6, more than 800 exhibitors will present their newest technologies to 58,000 visitors at REHA 99, International Trade Fair for Rehabilitation, Equipment and Care for the Disabled. MEDICA 99, World Forum for Physician's Practices and Hospitals, is scheduled for November 17-20.
Messe Dusseldorf Asia and Messa Dusseldorf International will also organize medical trade shows in Singapore and India. The Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre will be the venue of HOSPIMedia ASIA 99, International Exhibition on Hospital, Pharmaceutical, Medical, and Rehabilitation Equipment and Supplies. The dates for this event are May 12-15.
Hospimedica India 99, Specialized Exhibition for Medical and Hospital Equipment, Supplies, and Health Care Products, is in New Delhi, India, September 15-18. Pharma India 99, International Exhibition and Conference for the Pharmaceutical Industry, Raw Materials, Manufacturing, and Packaging Machinery, will take place November 18-22, at the NSE Complex in Mumbai (Bombay), India.
In addition to its own shows, Messe Dusseldorf International organizes international participation at two trade fairs: Hospitalar 99, International Fair for Products, Equipment and Services for Hospitals, Health Clinics, and Laboratories, to be held June 23-26, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Sdravoochranenije 99, International Trade Exhibition for Health Care, Medical Technology, and Pharmaceuticals, scheduled for November 30-December 4, in Moscow, Russia.
Contact: Messe Dusseldorf North America, 150 North Michigan Avenue, Suite 2920, Chicago, IL 60601. (312) 781-5180 / 781-5188 (fax) www.mdna.com.
Paraquad and The College For Living have formed an alliance that will strengthen and broaden independent-living programs for people with disabilities throughout the greater St. Louis area. Each nonprofit organization has offered independent-living services in the community for more than 20 years.
"Through this alliance, we're creating a unique resource to reach people with physical and developmental disabilities," says Max Starkloff, Paraquad president. "Services for people with developmental and physical disabilities oftentimes come from different worlds. In our view, there's every reason to bring these two worlds together."
The alliance is designed to deliver a more comprehensive approach to independent living in St. Louis's disability community.
"By sharing ideas and `best practices,' Paraquad and The College For Living expect to enhance programs in areas such as employment and training, and at the same time reach a greater number of people by pooling resources in transportation and communications," says Starkloff.
Contact: Paraquad, 311 North Lindbergh Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63141. (314) 567-1558 / 567-5552 (TDD) / 567-1559 (fax).
RELATED ARTICLE: Scholarship Competition
Since PVA's founding more than 50 years ago, a primary goal has been to provide opportunities for members and their families to improve the quality of their lives. PVA has established an Educational Scholarship Program and is sponsoring the fourth annual scholarship competition.
This program will grant 20 scholarships in the amount of $2,500 each, to be used by eligible full-time students for tuition, books, or mandatory required fees (e.g,, lab fees).
Eligible applicants must be enrolled full-time in an accredited degree program and be active life members of PVA, spouses of active members, or unmarried children under age 24 who are dependent, as defined by the IRS, on the PVA member for support.
The PVA Scholarship Committee will assess applications for compliance with established guidelines in the packet as well as individual merit. The reviewers, meeting in August, will consider academic records, application information, recommendations, activities, and the required personal statement (not to exceed two pages). PVA life members receive priority consideration. The program is contingent upon PVA Board of Directors budget approval.
Applications are available from any PVA chapter or from David Collins, PVA National Office, (800) 424-8200, ext. 658. Applications must be received by June 30, 1999; the deadline for forwarded materials such as transcripts and letters of recommendation is July 30. Applicants are responsible for the timely submission of all materials; early submission is encouraged.