Cutting-edge research continues at Methodist Rehab Center

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Published: August 4,2008

There’s plenty going on at the Wilson Research Foundation, the fundraising arm of Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson. Along with the latest research and innovative rehabilitative services that the foundation supports, the organization has a new executive director and three new board members.

Chris Blount, 44, became the executive director in January after a career in public relations and marketing. For the past nine years, the Louisiana native was director of communications for L-3 Vertex Aerospace in Madison. Prior to that, he served on the staff of the Greater Jackson Chamber Partnership.

“This is a humbling but fascinating place to work,” he said. “The Wilson Research Foundation is funding cutting-edge research in rehabilitation medicine to help those who have suffered a stroke, spinal or brain injury or neurological disease. It’s a great mission that’s helping people right now, while contributing to the worldwide pursuit of cures to disabling illnesses and injuries.”

New foundation board members include Sam Lane Sr., John D. Robinson and Dick Molpus. They join fellow board members the Honorable Judge Virginia Wilson Mounger, Richard M. Fountain, Sharon Woodfield, Sally Carmichael, Faser Triplett, M.D., Matt Holleman, Martha Lyles Wilson, Ed Kossman, Marion Wofford, M.D., Mary Ann McCarty, Dean Miller, Nat Rogers, Steve Sansom and Robert Smith, M.D.

Exciting research being done at the center ranges from studies on improved physical motion and control, improving cognitive function such as reducing confusion after a stroke and therapeutic interventions for control of spasticity.

Applied studies in technology advances are being conducted that allow disabled persons to have a high quality of life such as better ways for those with paralysis to access the computer. An adaptive computing lab that serves research and direct patient care was recently opened. It focuses on adaptive technologies and education to help spinal cord injured and other patients.

“Having the research performed here from our main hospital is a huge advantage,” Blount said. “Our current patients benefit as they are able to participate in research trials, and they receive better diagnostics, treatment and evaluation because of the research labs.”

That means there’s no line between research and patient care at Methodist where research is integrated into most everything that’s done. It’s part of an interdisciplinary approach that includes research investigators, medical directors over each specialty area that’s treated and an army of therapists and nurses specialized and experienced in helping each patient overcome disabling events.

“This comprehensive approach is why we are the premiere neurological rehab center, not just in Mississippi but regionally,” Blount said. “We are among a handful of centers in the nation providing such comprehensive services and achieving the outcomes you see here daily.”

Lisa Michie-Kamp, director of operations of the East Campus, explains the significance of the rehabilitation center’s treatment of chronic pain management.

“We utilize a multi-disciplinary, holistic approach to quickly alleviating pain,” she said. “Our goal is to provide excellent quality care and the most favorable outcomes possible for our patients. The key factor in doing so requires a thorough patient evaluation to consider what options are appropriate and best for each patient.”

Blount doesn’t believe the state of the economy will affect fundraising efforts.

“People want to give and will give to things they believe in; causes that truly help people,” he said. “A miserly person is typically a miserable person, and Mississippi is not known for misers. We’re the most giving people on earth. It’s human nature and a spiritual experience to give back to help others. Methodist Rehab Center is one of those truly good causes because it achieves great outcomes.”

Contact MBJ contributing writer Lynn Lofton at llofton656@aol.com.

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