The Texas Model Spinal Cord Injury System (TMSCIS), sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (90SI5027), provides assistance to establish innovative projects for the delivery, demonstration, and evaluation of comprehensive medical, vocational, and other rehabilitation services to meet the needs of individuals with spinal cord injury. The model systems grant is housed in the Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center (SCIDR) at TIRR Memorial Hermann in collaboration with McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Baylor College of Medicine, Harris Health System, the University of Montana and other stakeholders including a national community advisory board of people with SCI.

Model System Centers across the United States work together to:

  • Demonstrate improved care
  • Maintain a national database
  • Participate in independent and collaborative research
  • Provide continuing education relating to spinal cord injury

45 Years of Participation

TIRR Memorial Hermann has been a part of the SCI Model Systems for over 45 years, from 1972 to present. SCIDR’s TMSCIS is one of four original SCI Model Systems funded beginning in 1972, and has been the sixth largest contributor to the National SCI Database of the 14 SCI Model Systems sites. TMSCIS enrolls an average of more than 50 patients in the database each year. SCIDR was the first center to conduct 45-year follow-up interviews on research participants living with SCI, and the Center’s research team continues to follow study participants over time at five-year-intervals, adding to its rich longitudinal database.

2016-2021 Grant Cycle

For the 2016-2021 grant cycle, the TMSCIS participates in the national database, conducts a site project, and participates on collaborative projects. As part of our role, the TMSCIS is inviting individuals with SCI who are treated in TIRR Memorial Hermann’s model system to participate in the national database and will follow these individuals over time at five year-intervals (add hyperlink to main project site). In addition, each model system center conducts a site project. The TMSCIS will evaluate a psychological wellness intervention for women with SCI, ZEST (insert hyperlink to full Zest web description). Co-principal investigators for the site project are Dr. Robinson-Whelen, PhD, and Dr. Margaret Nosek, PhD. In addition, as part of the TMSCIS grant, the researchers will participate in four collaborative module projects lead by model systems centers on important concerns for people with SCI, including the experience of pain, complementary integrative health care to manage pain, early predictors of rehabilitation outcomes and the therapeutic use of robotic exoskeletons.

National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center Database

The National Spinal Cord Injury Statistical Center (NSCISC), located at the University of Alabama - Birmingham, supports and directs the collection and management of data entered into the spinal cord injury research database by the SCI Model Systems.

Within the scope of the Spinal Cord Injury Model System program, the purposes of the Database are to:

  • Study the longitudinal course of traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) and factors that affect that course
  • Identify and evaluate trends over time in etiology, demographic, and injury severity characteristics of persons who incur a SCI
  • Identify and evaluate trends over time in health services delivery and treatment outcomes for persons with SCI
  • Establish and provide high level rehabilitation treatment outcomes for persons with SCI
  • Facilitate other research such as the identification of potential persons for enrollment in appropriate SCI clinical trials and research projects or as a springboard to population-based studies

The database, however, is not intended to study the effectiveness of model systems care as compared to other systems of health care delivery. It is also not by itself intended to gather and maintain population-based data on spinal cord injuries.

Principal Investigator and Co-Investigators

Heather Taylor, PhD, is the Principal Investigator and Project Director for the TMSCIS. She is also the Director of the Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research (SCIDR) Center at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

The TMSCIS team includes Argyrois Stampas, MD, Medical Research Director, Mathew Davis, MD, Medical Clinical Director, and Co-Investigators: Susan Robinson-Whelen, PhD, Rosemary Hughes, PhD, Lisa Wenzel, MD, and Margaret Nosek, PhD. In addition, William Donovan, MD, is the TMSCIS Senior Advisor

More Information

For more information on the SCI Model Systems or to see the most recent Facts and Figures sheet (which summarizes the data collected over the years), visit the NSCISC website.

The SCI Model Systems has been recruiting individuals with SCI and following them longitudinally since the 1970s. For more information on awarded centers, findings, fact sheets and other resources from the Model Systems, visit the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) website.

The TMSCIS continues to follow a large sample of people with SCI in the TMSCIS. We are grateful for our participants and honored to have their collaboration in this important research. For more information about the SCI Model System at TIRR Memorial Hermann or to update your contact information as a participant in the SCI Model System, please contact the SCI research staff at:

Phone: (713) 797-5972

Spinal Cord Injury and Disability Research Center (SCIDRC)