University Of Florida College Of Helath Professions To Establish Rehabilitation Studies Center
GAINESVILLE.—The chairman of Jacksonville-based Brooks Health System announced today that Brooks Health Foundation will donate $2.5 million to the University of Florida College of Health Professions to establish a rehabilitation studies center. The gift is eligible for state-matching funds, bringing the total to $5 million.
Researchers and clinicians linked with the center, to be jointly located in Gainesville and Jacksonville, will use the grant to evaluate and develop rehabilitation methods, and to research and propose related health policies. The center will be affiliated with the UF Brain Institute, a campuswide research organization dedicated to brain and central nervous system sciences.
Brooks Health Foundation is part of Brooks Health System, which owns and operates Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, a 127-bed, nonprofit facility licensed for acute medical rehabilitation. The hospital operates a network of outpatient therapy centers in North Florida. Prior to January, the hospital was known as Genesis Rehabilitation.
Research through the new center will be conducted mainly at UF, then tested and applied at Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital, Shands Rehabilitation Hospital in Gainesville and Shands at Jacksonville. Pending approval by the State University System Board of Regents, the center will be named the Brooks Center for Rehabilitation Studies.
“We feel privileged to support world-class research done for the benefit of humankind,” said Dr. J. Brooks Brown, chairman and CEO of Brooks Health System.
Research will focus on rehabilitation for patients with disorders and injuries of the nervous and musculoskeletal systems, as well as other disabling physical conditions, said College of Health Professions’ Dean Robert G. Frank.
“Our research will cover the full range of rehabilitation interventions,” Frank said. “We’ll be looking at ways to treat many different people who could benefit from rehabilitation, such as those who have spinal cord or brain injuries, chronic debilitating conditions such as back pain, people who have had strokes or organ transplants, as well as people with long-term illnesses, like multiple sclerosis.”
The grant will support a center director, to be named later, who will work at the Brooks Rehabilitation Hospital and UF. The director will manage day-to-day operations and promote multidisciplinary research throughout UF, with faculty participation from the colleges of Health Professions, Medicine, Engineering and others.
The director also will coordinate the center’s second major focus area: the study and development of rehabilitation health policy. The center will address issues surrounding the definition of rehabilitation and related care, and who pays for it.
“The confidence that the Brooks Foundation has placed in the University of Florida’s College of Health Professions reflects the strength of our faculty and the enduring significance of the research they produce,” UF President John V. Lombardi said. “The faculty who will work with the new center will contribute substantially to the health-care capabilities of this state and nation. We expect great things to come from this collaboration.”
“When you take the power of the UF Brain Institute, combined with Brooks Health System and Shands hospitals, it’s hard to imagine any other academic or health-care system in the country that can compete with that,” Frank said.
In 1995, the Brooks Health Foundation began focusing its grants programming on improving the lives of those with disabilities. Since then, more than 50 organizations and projects have received funding. Including today’s grant to the University of Florida, that funding has exceeded $7 million.
- Christine Penko
- Lauri-Ellen Smith