HOUSTON (December 13, 2013)

Many people know TIRR Memorial Hermann for its rehabilitation efforts, but often it seems people forget there are two Rs in the hospital’s name.

“We are known for our rehab, but I think the fact that we have both (rehabilitation and research) in our hospital’s name makes it really explicit what our mission is,” says Gerard Francisco, MD, chief medical officer at TIRR Memorial Hermann and chair of the department of Physical Medicine and rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School.

“We rehabilitate, but we also do research so that we can rehabilitate better.”

Since 1959, TIRR Memorial Hermann has been a national leader in interdisciplinary rehabilitation services, patient care, education and research. Through the continued education of its experts, TIRR Memorial Hermann has maintained its status as the source of new discovery and thought leadership within the field for decades.

To further these efforts, TIRR Memorial Hermann recently opened the TIRR Memorial Hermann Research Center. With the renovation of the 42,600 square foot building behind the main hospital, all of the research endeavors come together under one roof. TIRR patients are able to see their physician and continue across the sky bridge to participate in research.

“We send a message that research and clinical operations are not separate,” explains Dr. Francisco, “that they have to be linked.”

Carl Josehart, CEO, TIRR Memorial Hermann describes the bridge that connects the hospital to the research building as more than a physical connection.

“It’s a symbolic connection of how we want to do the research. Our research is really translational based on things we think can help our patients and make our rehab efforts more effective. It’s a visible reminder of the transfer of knowledge from the lab to the bedside and back to the lab for further refinement.”

This state-of-the-art facility provides researchers with the tools to pioneer new advances in rehabilitative medicine that can lead to improvements in patient lives. Having a single facility where experts can work on various research projects promotes tremendous synergy between researchers, disciplines and programs.

Research teams will get to know each other, know what other teams are working on, and collaborate. It creates an integrated campus where all critical components of care and services come together for the benefit of our patients.This is a comprehensive research center with the intent of validating current interventions, and discovering new treatments to aid the recovery of people with limitations for different reasons, both physical and non physical.

TIRR Memorial Hermann has the entire spectrum covered: researchers, clinician researchers, psychologist, and PhDs who will conduct research.

“I think that’s what will set us apart. Our resources will be able to touch on the different issues that plague persons with disabilities, and we can hopefully find ways to help them more effectively and efficiently,” said Dr. Francisco. “It’s something that can’t be beat.”

The new research center has three floors to house researchers and their projects:

  • The first floor supports education and administration. The education office for Baylor and UT Health PM&R programs will be there as well.
  • The second floor includes a conference center that can accommodate 70-75 people, and then the research offices are there.
  • Interview rooms on the first floor are available to accommodate research participants in a comfortable setting. And the third floor is still open so it can be built out and put to use in the future.

“We have a long history of dedication to advancing rehabilitation through research,” says Josehart, “The new center represents a long term commitment to expanding those endeavors and is a sign in this time of healthcare reform that we’re confident enough to invest in the future.”