September 8, 2006
Wilson Research Foundation donation advances neuroscience research at Methodist Rehab
By Susan Christensen
Health and Research News Service
JACKSON, Miss.—The Wilson Research Foundation in Jackson has donated $457,866 to advance neuroscience research at Methodist Rehabilitation Center in Jackson.
“As we look to the future, we’re committed to the hospital’s vision for rehabilitation and research,” said Ginny Mounger of Jackson, board chairman of the Wilson Research Foundation and daughter of the late Earl R. Wilson, one of Methodist Rehab’s founders. “The greatness of a hospital should be reflected through the value and quality of its research.”
Methodist Rehab’s Center for Neuroscience and Neurological Recovery (CNNR) focuses on research related to motor function, disorders of consciousness, neuromedical complications, pain control and assistive technology.
It’s an area of interest that could promote more successful recoveries for people with diseases and conditions such as stroke and brain and spinal cord injuries, said Dobrivoje Stokic, M.D, a Senior Scientist at Methodist Rehab and Administrative Director of Research.
“A central mission of the CNNR is to provide objective evidence about what works, whether we are evaluating promising new therapies or challenging traditional practices,” he said. “This generous donation from the Wilson Foundation means we’ll have the financial support to quickly translate emerging discoveries into clinical practice.”
Methodist Rehab’s research goals have already made a positive impact on the lives of patients who participate in the studies, said Mark Sherer, Ph.D., director of neuropsychology at Methodist Rehab and chairman of its research council.
“Just the fact that patients are involved in projects here means there’s more scrutiny, more communication, more coordination and more follow-up,” Sherer said. “Because we collaborate with neuroscientists from around the world, we also learn about important findings before they are presented or published. This gives our patients timely access to treatment advances.”
Twice named one of America’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report, Methodist Rehab has been home to groundbreaking research on West Nile virus infection.
In 2000, its scientists were first in the world to report a link between the virus and a polio-like paralysis. They’ve since completed a federally funded study that examined the long-term outcome of 33 West Nile patients who experienced muscle weakness and fatigue. Most recently, they collaborated with colleagues at the University College of London in the United Kingdom to learn more about the severity of neurological injury associated with the mosquito-borne virus.
“Our researchers have already contributed greatly to the understanding of many of the world’s most disabling illnesses and injuries,” said Mark Adams, president and CEO of Methodist Rehab. “It’s our hope that we’ll be able to use the Wilson Foundation funding to expand our expertise in this critical area of research.”
The Wilson Research Foundation was established in 1989 with a grant from the H.F. McCarty Jr. Family Foundation. It honors Earl R. Wilson and his wife, Martha Lyles Wilson for their lifelong support of the physically disabled.
“It was Earl Wilson’s visionary leadership that fostered the creation of our neuroscience center,” Adams said. “It’s fitting that the foundation’s support is furthering a cause that meant so much to him.”
At the check presentation ceremony were, from left, Methodist Rehab President and CEO Mark Adams of Madison, Wilson Research Foundation Director Bettye Sullivan of Jackson, CNNR Administrative Director of Research Dr. Dobrivoje Stokic of Madison, Wilson Research Foundation Board Chairman Ginny Mounger of Jackson and Randy James of Jackson, chairman of Methodist Rehab's Board of Directors.