NIDILRR at 40: TBI Research from Injury to Re-Integration

As we head toward the celebration of NIDILRR’s 40th anniversary this October, we will take an occasional look at the achievements of the grantee community in different areas. At next week’s Federal Interagency Conference on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), co-sponsored by NIDILRR, members of the NIDILRR TBI grantee community will give plenary presentations and workshops on some of the ground-breaking research that has been accomplished since the previous conference in 2011 and over the course of the Institute’s history.

NIDILRR-funded research into TBI goes back to its earliest days. According to this commentary* by J. Paul Thomas, PhD, Director of Medical Sciences Programs in the 1980s, NIDILRR (then the National Institute for Handicapped Research or NIHR) first issued requests for research proposals on TBI in 1978, with four awards made to New York University Medical Center and Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. Four university-based rehabilitation research and training centers in TBI were awarded in 1983 to New York University, Emory University, Northwestern University/Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (now the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab), and the University of Washington. Those four centers conducted more than 75 projects over their five years. In 1987, the first five Model TBI System Centers were awarded to address the complex, multidisciplinary challenge of rehabilitation management of TBI through a coordinated system of services. These centers were awarded to Mount Sinai in New York, Virginia Commonwealth University, Wayne State University in Michigan, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in California, and The Institute for Rehabilitation Research in Texas.

Thirty years later, the Model TBI System Centers stretch from Massachusetts to Washington state. The centers plan and conduct both site-specific and collaborative research projects and contribute to the TBI Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center. Together with the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC), the Centers produce a wide array of information products for consumers and professionals, such as the innovative TBI InfoComics series which presents key TBI information in a graphic format.

In addition to these centers, grantees are conducting individual projects in a variety of areas such as the impact of TBI on early childhood, supporting students with TBI, memory, emotion, and so much more.

Explore current TBI-related projects in the NIDILRR Program Database

Explore completed TBI-related projects in the NIDILRR Program Database

Explore Model TBI System Centers and related projects in the NIDILRR Program Database

Explore literature on TBI from the grantee community in the REHABDATA Database (between 300 and 400 abstracts per search)

2014-2018 (NIDRR and NIDILRR grantees)




1999 and older

Projects funded after 1987

Projects funded 1987 and earlier

*This article is available to download free of charge: J. Paul Thomas’ commentary from the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 1988. NARIC Accession Number J10025

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1 Response to NIDILRR at 40: TBI Research from Injury to Re-Integration

  1. Robert Demichelis II says:

    As a earlier adherant, activist, contributor, interested in a sumnary of the most frequent, really ALL, questions you got regarding acquired traumatic brain injury. Drawing such a wide, and knowledgable, expert audience, ensuring accurate info is critical to furthering relevance and improving outcomes.

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