Cleveland, OH,
13:53 PM

PM&R Ranked #2 in U.S. for National Institutes of Health Funding

The Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) ranks No. 2 in the nation in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding among PM&R departments in U.S. medical schools, up one spot from last year. The Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research rankings are based on data released by the NIH.

The Department of PM&R at The MetroHealth System and Case Western Reserve University is housed in the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute, whose mission is to restore function, societal participation, and quality of life for persons with significant neurological and musculoskeletal impairments and functional limitations. The MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute presently has over $50 million (total value of active grants through the life of the grant) in extramural research funding with two thirds awarded by the NIH. The Institute is committed to a transdisciplinary approach that delivers outstanding rehabilitation care, trains the next generation of rehabilitation clinicians and scientists, and discovers new knowledge that translates to clinical practice.

"The level of funding our researchers and clinicians receive through the NIH and other organizations is a testament to the groundbreaking work of our PM&R staff," said Akram Boutros, MD, President and CEO. "We are grateful for the financial support provided by the NIH that ultimately enables us to provide the most medically advanced care for our patients and the broader health care community."

Led by two members of the National Academies, John Chae, MD, of the National Academy of Medicine and P. Hunter Peckham, PhD, of the National Academy of Engineering, the MetroHealth Rehabilitation Institute is world renowned for the development and clinical implementation of sophisticated electrical stimulation systems that reanimate paralyzed muscles; restore limb, trunk, respiratory, bowel and bladder function; and facilitate neurological recovery following stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury (SCI). More recent initiatives include interventions for the treatment of chronic pain and cardiac and pulmonary dysfunction in non-neurologically impaired populations.

Research programs within the Institute are led by teams of biomedical, electrical and mechanical engineers, neuroscientists, neurosurgeons, nurses, occupational therapists, orthopedic surgeons, physiatrists, physical therapists and social scientists. The MetroHealth System recently invested $9 million to create new, state-of-the-art clinical, research and education space for the Institute at its Old Brooklyn Health Center campus. The new facilities opened in spring of 2021.

Independent Investigators in the Institute, defined as a Principal Investigator (PI) or Co-PI of a NIH R01 or equivalent award, include:

  • Kimberly Anderson, PhD, Professor of PM&R: Perspectives of people living with SCI and electrical stimulation for motor recovery in SCI (DoD) and SCI Model Systems (NIDILRR)
  • Niloy Bhadra, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of PM&R: Electrical nerve block (NIH)
  • Dennis Bourbeau, PhD, Assistant Professor of PM&R: Electrical stimulation for bladder function in SCI (NIH, VA)
  • Anthony DiMarco, MD, Professor of PM&R & Physiology/Biophysics: Respiratory neuroprosthesis for SCI (NIH)
  • Michael Fu, PhD, Assistant Professor of Electrical, Computer and Systems Engineering and PM&R: Therapeutic human interfaces for paralysis (NSF)
  • Nathan Makowski, PhD, Assistant Professor of PM&R: Lower limb neuroprosthesis for stroke (NIH)
  • Kevin Kilgore, PhD, Professor of Orthopedics, PM&R and BME: Upper limb neuroprosthesis for SCI and electrical nerve block (NIH, FDA)
  • Jayme Knutson, PhD, Associate Professor of PM&R: Electrical stimulation for hemiparesis (NIH, VA)
  • P. Hunter Peckham, PhD, Professor Emeritus of BME, Orthopedics and PM&R: Upper limb neuroprosthesis for SCI (NIH)
  • Tina Vrabec, PhD, Assistant Professor of PM&R: Electrical nerve block (NIH)
  • James Wilson, DO, Assistant Professor of PM&R: SCI Model Systems (NIDILRR)
  • Richard Wilson, MD, Associate Professor of PM&R: Peripheral nerve stimulation for musculoskeletal pain (NIH)
About The MetroHealth System

Founded in 1837, MetroHealth is leading the way to a healthier you and a healthier community through service, teaching, discovery, and teamwork. Cuyahoga County’s public, safety-net hospital system, MetroHealth meets people where they are, providing care through five hospitals, four emergency departments and more than 20 health centers. Each day, our nearly 9,000 employees focus on providing our community with equitable healthcare — through patient-focused research, access to care, and support services — that seeks to eradicate health disparities rooted in systematic barriers. For more information, visit