Facilities and Resources

The Abilities Research Center (ARC) is part of the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance ranks 6th in the United States for amount of National Institutes of Health funding awarded. As part of the Mount Sinai Health System, the Icahn School of Medicine is one of the leading academic medical training centers in the United States and is an international leader in medical and scientific training, biomedical research, and patient care.

The Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance

At the Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance, a team of physicians and scientists is committed to advancing the human condition through pioneering discovery and cutting-edge innovation. Since its inception in 1910, the Department has been on the forefront of rehabilitation medicine. Now, under the leadership of Joseph Herrera, DO, we have built upon our reputation for helping individuals with disabilities maximize their self-sufficiency while at the same time embracing our growing recognition as a leader in the exciting new direction of human performance.

Our specialists—physicians, researchers, neuropsychologists, nurses, therapists, and social workers—provide the highest level of evidence-based care to help our patients achieve their goals. We work with a wide range of patients, including those who have suffered central nervous system (CNS) injuries, such as spinal cord and traumatic brain injury, those with neurodegenerative disorders, and those looking to maximize peak performance.

What sets Mount Sinai apart is both our excellence in the clinical and research enterprises as well as our capacity to partner with a vast and diverse patient population to achieve groundbreaking results. The Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance has been recognized for distinction by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF) in 17 clinical programs. We are the only hospital in New York and one of only seven hospitals in the United States to be granted model systems grants in both our spinal cord injury (SCI) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) programs, placing us among the very top centers in the nation for the treatment and research of CNS injuries.

We are also active members of the New York City community and, under the leadership of Ann Spungen, PhD, maintain a strong presence in the VA Rehabilitation Research & Development (RR&D) National Center for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury, working closely with active and retired military personnel.

The ARC is an epicenter of discovery where clinicians and scientists partner with innovators, industry leaders, and patients to help individuals achieve maximum performance and wellness. We push the boundaries of traditional research, employing a multidisciplinary scientific approach to develop and investigate breakthrough technologies that can dramatically improve standards of care for people everywhere.

With a team of world-class scientists at its core, the ARC takes a forward-thinking approach to the development of new therapies and treatments for people with diverse injuries and conditions, from spinal cord and brain injury to stroke, amputation, and other neurologic disorders.

Clinical Resources

The Mount Sinai Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation program is the primary resource for rehabilitation of persons with SCI in the New York metropolitan area and houses the only SCI Model Systems Grant in New York State. The program provides comprehensive care to meet the diverse needs of persons with SCI, including acute medical and surgical services, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation, and facilitation of community reintegration.

The SCI Rehabilitation program is accredited as a Spinal Cord System of Care by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). Approximately 150 patients with traumatic or non-traumatic spinal cord injuries receive inpatient rehabilitation care at the SCI Rehabilitation Program each year, and more than 500 patients are followed for comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation and medical services.

Persons with spinal cord injury are seen daily at the outpatient faculty practice offices of four physiatrists with SCI expertise, and our SCI Rehabilitation program holds weekly outpatient clinics to coordinate follow-up care. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, psychology, and social work services are provided after inpatient discharge as needed to address patient goals. Patients receiving care through the SCI Rehabilitation Program have access to the full complement of imaging and diagnostic services available.

Outpatient services offer a day program called Do It!, which provides education on topics such as housing, transportation, sexuality, travel, vehicle modification, employment, equipment, benefits, and substance abuse.

The SCI Rehabilitation program also facilitates community integration through its mentoring programs, including the Life Challenge adventure program. It also works closely with the New York chapter of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association, the Allan T. Brown Foundation, and other nonprofit organizations that support persons with spinal cord injury which provide additional opportunities to recruit research participants.

Robotic Area

The robotic area of the ARC is a large, open-floor plan area within the Center. This space is equipped with the upper and lower extremity robotics including the DIEGO from Tyromotion; ArmeoSpring from Hocoma; ReWalk; and Ekso Gait Training (EksoGT). The space allows for ample room for patients to complete therapy and the open floor plan helps foster a sense of community among patients and therapists.

Virtual Reality Area

The virtual reality area of the Center includes a number of virtual reality systems, including the HTC Vive, the Samsung Gear VR, the Merge VR headset, the Oculus Rift, and the FOVE virtual reality headset.

Testing Spaces

Two testing labs are separate from the general-purpose area, providing privacy for patients and research subjects when visiting the Center. One space is dedicated to neurophysiology testing, housing transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), as well as dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) machines and equipment. The second testing location is used for motion capture. Technologies used for motion capture include the Microsoft Kinect 2, Notch devices and the ZenoMat from ProtoKinetics. Data collected is analyzed with computer vision software, both homegrown and outsourced, such as the software designed by BioVirtua.

Offices

Two offices are equipped with teleconference and video conference capabilities and on-site technical support facilitating remote collaborative data analysis and productive long-distance work with collaborating investigators. The research workspace is made up of five work stations for postdoctoral fellows, clinical research coordinators, volunteers, and visiting scholars, forming a collaborative environment among researchers. Multiple conference rooms in the administrative and clinical centers are suitable for team meetings.

Administration

The Department is staffed with an administrative manager and a finance officer who assist with tracking expenditures and managing administrative paperwork for clinical studies.

Rapael Smart Glove

Neofect Smart Glove is a high-tech stroke rehab device. Starting the training is as simple as wearing the glove, connecting to the “Neofect” app and proceeding to play the rehabilitation games. The glove measures the movement of the fingers, wrist, forearm and assess functional reach on a real-time basis. Anyone can participate in a variety of training activities on the RAPAEL app including cooking and fishing as well as more novel games in a virtual reality environment. The learning algorithm suggests the most optimal tasks for each user based on their individual performance and encourages the development of larger ranges of improved range of motion, coordination and timing.

Rapael was developed for patients with neurological and musculoskeletal injuries, such as stroke and spinal cord injury.