Spinal Cord Injury

PHOTO COURTESY: Spinal Cord Injury Lab, ACRM Institutional Member, Shepherd Center



Meet us in Atlanta! ACRM Conference Fall 2017

WED 25 OCT  12:00 PM – 1:00 PM: SCI-ISIG Women's Health Task Force Meeting

THUR 26 OCT  7:00 AM – 8:00 AM: SCI-ISIG Fitness & Wellness Task Force Meeting

FRI 27 OCT  7:00 AM – 8:00 AM: SCI-ISIG Business Meeting










CLICK to See/Download SCI-ISIG Brochure

CLICK to See/Download SCI-ISIG Brochure

At the ACRM Annual Conference in October 2009, the eight-year-old Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Networking Group was recognized by the ACRM Board of Governors as the SCI Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (SCI-ISIG). Started by Sue Ann Sisto in 2001, the group is now comprised of interdisciplinary professionals who desire to improve the educational and networking opportunities for ACRM membership in SCI medicine, rehabilitation and research, and to advance clinical practice to improve the lives of people with SCI.

Spinal Cord Injury Rehab Content at the ACRM 2017 Annual Conference

Join us at the ACRM Annual Conference, Progress in Rehabilitation Research this fall, for NONSTOP educational content focused on spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Plus, dive deep into intensive Pre-Conference Instructional Courses or Specialized Workshops on a wide variety of topics.

Attend the full 6-day conference and earn up to 44 hours of CE in your choice of 15 disciplines and enjoy educational content for 18 different focus areas.

Learn More >>




The mission of the SCI-ISIG is to advance the field of SCI rehabilitation and research by providing opportunities for professional development, advocating for standards of practice and research, and supporting a forum for interdisciplinary and international exchange.



Congratulations to SCI-ISIG Chair-Elect

Ceren Yarar-FisherCeren Yarar-Fisher, PT, PhD
Assistant Professor
Director of Rehabilitation Medicine Laboratory
Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
School of Medicine
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Dr. Yarar-Fisher received her BS degree in Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation from Baskent University in Turkey. She has worked as a physical therapist across the continuum of care from neuro-rehabilitation to sports medicine before receiving her PhD in Neuromechanics at Auburn University. As a doctoral fellow at Neuromechanics Research Laboratory, she carried out research projects investigating effects of various exercise, rehabilitation and massage interventions on sensorimotor and cardiovascular systems in individuals with and without spinal cord injury (SCI). Following her PhD, she joined the UAB Nutrition and Obesity Research Center in the Department of Cell, Developmental, and Integrative Biology as an NIH-funded postdoctoral fellow. Her research focused on exercise and diet interventions to improve metabolic health in individuals with chronic SCI.

Dr. Yarar-Fisher joined the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in October, 2015. Her notable awards include NIDDR Mary Switzer Research Fellowship (post-doctoral award), NIH/NCATS KL2 Scholar Award in Clinical and Translational Science, and NIH/NICHD K01 Mentored Research Scientist Award. She currently serves as Treasurer in American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) SCI-Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (ISIG) and has been a member of SCI-ISIG Secondary Complications and Aging Task Force since 2014.

Her long-term research goals are to improve lives of those with SCI through interdisciplinary rehabilitation research and empower patients with SCI and their healthcare providers to make decisions about acute and chronic care that are meaningful to patients and reflect evidence-based guidelines for this unique population. Dr. Yarar-Fisher also wants to improve SCI health outcomes with better consumer understanding and education. Consequently she has been writing evidence-based SCI education articles for Paraplegia News and ACRM-SCI-ISIG Secondary Complications and Aging Task Force since 2012 and 2014, respectively.


Seeking Members for Media & Marketing Committee

The SCI-ISIG is now seeking members for the newly formed Media and Marketing Committee. The purpose of this committee is to help identify and contribute SCI content to ACRM publications, website, and social media. If you want to make a difference for the SCI-ISIG and work with great ACRM colleagues, please volunteer!

Submit questions and nominations to Dr. Sue Ann Sisto, SCI-ISIG Communications Officer. We are looking forward to working with you and are available for any questions you may have about involvement with the SCI-ISIG.


Updates to the SCI-ISIG Rules of Governance

The SCI-ISIG has revised its bylaws to clarify existing procedures, make changes to reflect our current needs, and ensure compliance with ACRM policies. The full Rules of Governance for the SCI-ISIG are published in the ACRM Policies and Procedures Manual. To access the manual, log into the Member Portal and select "ACRM Policy and Procedures Manual (ACRM Members Only)."

These updates have been approved by the ACRM Board of Governors. Substantive changes include:

  • Describing two poster awards that will be given annually at the annual conference of ACRM:
    • The SCI-ISIG Early Career Best Poster Award (awarded to the best SCI poster authored by someone within the first 5 years of his or her post-graduate training)
    • SCI-ISIG Best Poster Award (awarded to the best poster on any SCI topic)
  • Clarifying the terms of SCI-ISIG Only membership to match changes made by ACRM
  • Specifying that elections shall be held by ballot regardless of the number of candidates running for office
  • Adding two positions to the SCI-ISIG Executive Board: Early Career Officer and Communications Officer (see key responsibilities above)
  • Adding two committees:
    • Membership Committee (chaired by the Treasurer): Assists the Treasurer in all duties related to membership, such as ensuring an SCI-ISIG membership of 30 or more persons is maintained by the ACRM National Office and that an ongoing campaign is maintained to promote SCI-ISIG membership in order to enhance its ability to fulfill its stated objectives.
    • Media and Marketing Committee (chaired by the Communications Officer): Creates content for SCI-ISIG-specific and ACRM-wide publications, assists in website updates and social media postings, helps with responses to requests for information on SCI-ISIG activities

Questions and comments regarding these changes are welcome, and may be directed to Jeanne Zanca.



Yuying Chen


CHAIR: Yuying Chen, MD, PhD
Associate Professor & Director
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jeanne Zanca


CHAIR-ELECT: Jeanne M. Zanca, PhD, MPT
Senior Research Scientist
Kessler Foundation

Ceren Yarar-Fisher


TREASURER: Ceren Yarar-Fisher, PT, PhD
Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
University of Alabama at Birmingham
LinkedIn Profile

Denise Fyffe


SECRETARY: Denise Fyffe, PhD
Research Scientist
Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
LinkedIn Profile

Swati Mehta


Research Associate
Parkwood Institute
ResearchGate Profile

Sue Ann Sisto


Professor of PT and Research Director
School of Health Technology and Management, Stony Brook University
LinkedIn Profile



  • Continuing education opportunities
  • Opportunity to plan educational courses for the ACRM Annual Conference
  • Task Force participation
  • Collaborative research opportunities



One of the most valuable benefits of ACRM membership is the opportunity to participate in the many interdisciplinary special interest groups (ISIG) and networking groups. Not sure ACRM membership is right for you? Consider an ISIG Only membership.



Print an ISIG ONLY Membership Application



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Work of the SCI-ISIG is carried out by its various task forces, which promote cutting-edge research, establish standards of care in SCI rehabilitation, and offer an interdisciplinary forum for development of state-of-the-art SCI rehabilitation practice.


Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) Task Force

Mission: Promote high quality FES research and evidence-based clinical applications of FES for people with SCI to a target audience of health professionals and consumers.

View current projects and learn how to get involved >>

Ashraf GorgeyCHAIR: Ashraf S. Gorgey, MPT, PhD, FACSM
Chief of Spinal Cord Injury Research, Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center
Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

Secondary Complications & Aging Task Force

Mission: To promote healthy aging among people with SCI and assist the prevention and management of secondary complications of SCI through education, research, and policy.

View current projects and learn how to get involved >>

Jeanne ZancaCHAIR: Jeanne Zanca, PhD, MPT

Senior Research Scientist
Kessler Foundation

Fitness & Wellness Task Force

Mission: To enhance the health and wellness of people with spinal cord injury through the development and implementation of evidence-based physical fitness and health initiatives created by an interdisciplinary team of clinicians and researchers in the field of spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

View current projects and learn how to get involved >>

Nick EvansCO-CHAIR: Nick Evans, MHS, ACSM-CEP

Clinical Exercise Physiologist
Shepherd Center

Hanna MercierCO-CHAIR: Hannah Mercier, PhD, MS, OTR/L

Advanced Clinician, Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Women’s Health Task Force

Mission: The mission of the Women's Health Task Force (WHTF) is to raise awareness, facilitate collaborative research, apply knowledge, and improve women's health and quality of life following SCI.

View current projects and learn how to get involved >>

Heather TaylorCHAIR: Heather Taylor, PhD

Director for Spinal Cord Injury Research
TIRR Memorial Hermann



  • Advance SCI research and promote research collaboration
  • Establish an interdisciplinary research agenda
  • Promote translation of evidence to enhance clinical expertise and practice


  • Conduct state-of-the-art reviews of practice in spinal cord care
  • Enhance competencies of an interdisciplinary team member in SCI rehabilitation


  • Participate in continuing education offerings specific to the interests of SCI researchers and clinicians
  • Plan an educational course for the ACRM annual meeting, Progress in Rehabilitation Research
  • Develop and receive informational and instructional media

Become involved in an SCI-ISIG task force by contacting the task force chair.





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