The cover of the TIRR Journal Winter 2021 edition featuring Lex Frieden

TIRR Journal Winter 2021


We define adaptation as the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat. This issue of the TIRR Memorial Hermann Journal is focused on our continued evolution t...

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COVID patient Grant Lashley using assistive technology

Grant Lashley's Long Road Back from COVID-19


While working in the emergency department in Louisiana, he diagnosed one patient with COVID-19 and intubated another. A few days later, the 50-year-old noticed mild symptoms.

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  • Leaders at the 1973 groundbreaking of TIRR

    On the 30th Anniversary of the ADA, Lex Frieden Continues to Advocate for Change

    Frieden, widely considered the chief architect of the ADA, continues to work to ensure equality and promote equity for people with disabilities as an advocate for change and the power of medical rehabilitation.

    Thirty years ago, a major victory was achieved in the ongoing civil rights movement for legal rights and protections for people with disabilities. On July 26, 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed and signed into law, prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability and helping to ensure equal access to opportunities. This groundbreaking legislation is recognized today as the most comprehensive disability law in the United States, mirroring and supplementing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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  • A TIRR Memorial Hermann employee prepares a syringe with the COVID vaccine

    TIRR Memorial Hermann Provides COVID Vaccines for Polio Survivors

    A new epidemic, COVID-19, is affecting individuals around the world. The specialists at TIRR recognized the importance of ensuring the people who survived polio would be among the first in line to receive the new COVID vaccine.

    When the vaccine was announced, TIRR staff immediately went to work setting up a vaccine clinic so that TIRR’s most vulnerable patients with disabilities and chronic medical conditions, including polio patients, could receive the immunization.

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  • Richard Petty

    ILRU Supports Independent Living During the COVID-19 Emergency

    COVID-19 has affected everyone, but one segment of the population has encountered a unique set of challenges in navigating the pandemic. People with disabilities often have additional hurdles as services have shut down.

    ILRU has stepped up during COVID-19 through its IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance (T&TA) Center for Independent Living, providing specialized technical consulting and training related to the virus for the nearly 500 Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and the 56 Statewide Independent Living Councils (SILCs) in American states and territories.

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  • Gerard Francisco

    Message From the Chief Medical Officer

    TIRR Memorial Hermann has been recognized as No. 1 in Texas in Newsweek magazine’s inaugural list of Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers, which was released last summer.

    TIRR Memorial Hermann has been recognized as No. 1 in Texas in Newsweek magazine’s inaugural list of Best Physical Rehabilitation Centers, which was released last summer. This comes on the heels of our ranking by U.S. News World Report as No. 1 in Texas and No. 3 in the United States.

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  • Post-COVID patient rehabilitation on the basketball court

    Customized Rehabilitation for Post-COVID-19 Patients

    TIRR Memorial Hermann and the Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Network are leading the charge in functional rehabilitation of individuals who no longer test positive after having had COVID-19.

    TIRR Memorial Hermann and the Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Network are leading the charge in functional rehabilitation of individuals who no longer test positive after having had COVID-19. The hospital’s evidence-based interventions allow patients to go beyond the clinical setting, providing them with the opportunity to participate in important life roles in home, work, volunteer and community environments.

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  • Rhonda Abbott

    Redefining Rehabilitation in the COVID-19 Pandemic

    TIRR Memorial Hermann’s post-COVID-19 therapy program for patients who no longer test positive opened in May. Built on the hospital’s strong program of respiratory support, the program is evolving as more information about what the virus does to the body becomes available.

    TIRR Memorial Hermann’s post-COVID-19 therapy program for patients who no longer test positive opened in May. Built on the hospital’s strong program of respiratory support, the program is evolving as more information about what the virus does to the body becomes available.

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  • Radha Korupolu

    COVID-19: Screening and Triage Challenges in People with Disability Due to SCI

    In an article published in Nature in May 2020, Radha Korupolu, MD, MS, and her research team outlined important differences in how people with SCI may present differently with COVID-19.

    In March 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced priority levels for testing patients with symptoms of COVID-19 and provided information on when to seek medical attention. At the same time, the agency provided almost no guidance for people with spinal cord injury (SCI), who may not present with typical symptoms due to physiological changes.

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  • Gerard Francisco

    Rehabilitation of Critically Ill COVID-19 Survivors

    A comprehensive rehabilitation program with a multidisciplinary approach can reduce ICU-acquired weakness, dysphagia, functional decline, psychological problems and cognitive impairment, and improve quality of life, according to Radha Korupolu, MD, MS, Gerard Francisco, MD, Harvey Levin, PhD, and Dale Needham, MD, PhD.

    A comprehensive rehabilitation program with a multidisciplinary approach can reduce ICU-acquired weakness, dysphagia, functional decline, psychological problems and cognitive impairment, and improve quality of life, according to Radha Korupolu, MD, MS, Gerard Francisco, MD, Harvey Levin, PhD, and Dale Needham, MD, PhD, in an article published in The Journal of The International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine.

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  • Radha Korupolu

    TIRR Memorial Hermann Researchers Examine Tidal Volumes in Patients with SCI

    Given the lack of robust evidence in people with SCI, Dr. Korupolu and Dr. Stampas re-examined the current protocol for determining optimal tidal volume in that population.

    Given the lack of robust evidence in people with SCI, Dr. Korupolu and Dr. Stampas re-examined the current protocol for determining optimal tidal volume in that population. After designing a study protocol and gaining institutional approval, they conducted a cohort study, examining data from 84 adults with SCI admitted to TIRR Memorial Hermann on mechanical ventilation.

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  • A pediatric patient using assistive technology

    Big Comebacks for Little Patients: TIRR Memorial Hermann Opens Inpatient Pediatric Unit

    Beginning in December 2020, TIRR Memorial Hermann will offer the same quality of nationally ranked, customized care for pediatric patients who have suffered a severe injury or illness and would benefit from rehabilitation in an inpatient setting.

    TIRR Memorial Hermann will offer the same quality of nationally ranked, customized care for pediatric patients who have suffered a severe injury or illness and would benefit from rehabilitation in an inpatient setting. The new pediatric unit is locked, has a private, fully equipped, child-friendly therapy gym and an outdoor sports court. TIRR Memorial Hermann accepts patients from the age of 6 months to teenagers.

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  • US News Rankings

    TIRR Memorial Hermann Earns Top Recognition by U.S. News & World Report

    TIRR Memorial Hermann ranked No. 3 among the country’s top rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings for 2020-2021.

    TIRR Memorial Hermann ranked No. 3 among the country’s top rehabilitation hospitals in the U.S. News and World Report Best Hospital rankings for 2020-2021. TIRR has been included in the prestigious rankings since the report’s inception in 1989.

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  • A person looking at a computer screen.

    TIRR Education Academy Goes Virtual with Learning for Professionals Around the World

    Virtual learning has enabled the TIRR Memorial Hermann Education Academy to expand its reach to rehabilitation professionals practicing across the United States and around the world.

    Virtual learning has enabled the TIRR Memorial Hermann Education Academy to expand its reach to rehabilitation professionals practicing across the United States and around the world.

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  • Liza Criswell

    Profile in Caring: Liza Criswell, OTR, ATP

    The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals (ASCIP) recently announced that Liza Criswell, OTR, ATP, an occupational therapist at TIRR Memorial Hermann, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Therapy Leadership Council Distinguished Clinician Award.

    The Academy of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals recently announced that Liza Criswell, OTR, ATP, an occupational therapist at TIRR Memorial Hermann, has been named the 2020 recipient of the Therapy Leadership Council Distinguished Clinician Award. The recognition is given to a member of the organization who has demonstrated outstanding clinical contributions in the area of spinal cord injury and spinal cord disorder (SCI/D).

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  • Mark Sherer

    Patient-care Technology in the Palm of Your Hand: Can a Mobile Mood Tracker App detect Emotional Distress in People with Traumatic Brain Injury?

    Researchers at TIRR Memorial Hermann are conducting a study to determine whether a self-management strategy, in the form of a mood tracker smartphone app, can improve emotional distress in survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI), or make it less likely that they will develop it.

    Researchers at TIRR Memorial Hermann are conducting a study to determine whether a self-management strategy, in the form of a mood tracker smartphone app, can improve emotional distress in survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI), or make it less likely that they will develop it. The investigation is part of the $2.3 million Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) grant to TIRR Memorial Hermann.

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  • Becky Thayer

    Funded by a TIRR Rehabilitation Innovation Grant, Becky Thayer Leads a Study on Mirrors and Limb Loss Patients

    When we look in the mirror, we’re used to seeing a familiar face and body, but after amputation or disfiguring injury, the reflection in the mirror is not the person we know.

    Thayer and her colleagues were awarded the $10,000 grant to determine if an online teaching platform about a sensitive topic could successfully strengthen nurses’ confidence in supporting a patient in mirror viewing after a disfiguring event. To begin the study, 25 TIRR Memorial Hermann nurses took an online survey to assess their knowledge and feelings about helping patients with limb loss look at themselves in the mirror for the first time.

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  • Gerard Francisco

    Accolades

    Dr. Gerard Francisco recieves AAP Distinguished Academician Award; Dr. Angelle Sander named President-Elect of ACRM's Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group; Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, MD, named Chair of PMR Deaprtment of UTHealth San Antonio; TIRR Memorial Hermann Welcomes New Physicians

    Dr. Gerard Francisco recieves AAP Distinguished Academician Award; Dr. Angelle Sander named President-Elect of ACRM's Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group; Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, MD, named Chair of PMR Deaprtment of UTHealth San Antonio; TIRR Memorial Hermann Welcomes New Physicians

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  • Rhonda Abbott

    Message from the CEO

    We define adaptation as the evolutionary process whereby an organism becomes better able to live in its habitat.

    This issue of the TIRR Memorial Hermann Journal is focused on our continued evolution to meet the needs of our habitat – the global disability community – in the face of a rapidly evolving pandemic.

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2021
US News and World Report Best Hospitals Badge
Nationally Ranked Rehabilitation

For the 31st consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized as the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and No. 3 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Rehabilitation Hospitals" in America.

Learn More