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28 May 2020 // 1:00 – 2:00 PM EDT

Telehealth Medicine and Exercise for Persons with Spinal Cord Injury

With Guest Speaker: Ashraf S. Gorgey, MPT, PhD, Associate Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University-PM&R, Director of SCI Research, McGuire VA Hospital


Ashraf Gorgey imageGUEST SPEAKER: Ashraf S. Gorgey, MPT, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of PM&R,
Virginia Commonwealth University
Director of SCI Research, McGuire VA Hospital


Denise Fyffe imageMODERATOR:
Denise Fyffe, PhD



Exercise is a cornerstone medicine to combat a number of comorbidities in persons with spinal cord injury (SCI). Maintaining a quality life is challenging especially in persons with tetraplegia. The challenges can widely vary to include physical, social and environmental barriers, which likely restrict access to medical centers for exercise opportunities in persons with SCI. Telehealth Medicine arises as a special therapeutic tool that can successfully mitigate some of these challenges. Our group has successfully used a VA established telehealth program to deliver exercise programs after SCI. Delivering an exercise program via a telehealth system was totally safe, ensured subjects’ compliance, helped to decrease subjects’ burnout and decreased travel time and cost commonly associated with frequent visits. We are currently facing an unprecedented situation of mandatory enforcement of social distancing to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This pandemic badly impacted our social and physical activities and will likely continue for several months. Knowing that people with SCI are highly vulnerable, we have to develop telehealth exercise protocols to address several of the barriers and challenges in this population.


Upon completion of the webinar, learners will be able to:

  1. Describe how to effectively set up a telehealth program for exercise in persons with SCI.
  2. Discuss the guidelines of using telehealth for persons with physical disabilities due to SCI.
  3. List the things that need to be considered when setting up such program.
  4. Explain how to evaluate safety, compliance and adherence during a telehealth program.
  5. Discuss how to effectively use electrical stimulation training protocol to address challenges in persons with SCI similar to muscle atrophy, spasticity, etc.


Dr. Gorgey is currently the Chief of Research and Director of the SCI Exercise and Body Composition Lab. at SCI Services and Disorders located at McGuire VA Medical Center. He is also a Research Clinical Specialist at the Spinal Cord Injury Service & Disorders located at McGuire Medical Center and Director of the SCI Move Program. Dr. Gorgey has received a VA Rehabilitation Research and Development Career Development VA Merit, National Science foundation and DoD-CDRMP awards to study the effects of exercise training after Spinal Cord Injury. He is a member of the research team in charge of running the Exercise Physiology, Body Composition and Locomotor laboratories. He is an Associate Professor at the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also serves as a Faculty on the PM&R resident program. He is also an American Physical Therapy Association Clinical Instructor since 2009, fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) since 2010 and fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) since 2018.