Participate in a Study

  • Virtual Walking Intervention for Neuropathic Pain in Spinal Cord Injury (VRWalk)

The purpose of this study is to determine if playing a virtual reality walking game can help improve neuropathic pain in adults with chronic spinal cord injury.

Virginia Commonwealth University     18-65 years old     Learn More
  • Effects of Electrical Stimulation and Vitamin D Supplementation on Bone Health Following Spinal Cord Injury.

Neurogenic osteoporosis is a common complication of spinal cord injury (SCI) that is associated with low impact bone fractures. It is concerning that more than 46,000 Veterans affected with SCI and are at risk of osteoporosis and possible low impact fractures. About fifty percent of all individuals with SCI will develop low impact fracture in their life time. The management of osteoporosis-related fractures can impose substantial economic burden on the health care system, the individual and the families. Previous studies did not succeed in reversing the process of bone loss after SCI. In the present pilot study, we will evaluate the effect of Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Resistance Training in combination with oral Vitamin D supplementation, on bone quality in Veterans with chronic SCI, using a randomized experimental design.

VA Office and Research and Development    18-65 years old   Learn More
  • Customized Employment for Veterans With Spinal Cord Injury (ACCESS-Vets)

The reason for conducting this study is to learn about the best ways to help Veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI) gain meaningful employment. Spinal cord injury is a medically complex disability that poses unique barriers to employment for Veterans. Returning to work after SCI improves health and quality of life, which in turn can lower risk for suicide in this high-risk population. Hence, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) supports interventions that help Veterans with SCI return to work and may prevent suicide.

Customized employment (CE) is an innovative strategy for tailoring vocational services to meet the needs of people with complex disabilities. To address barriers to employment faced by Veterans with SCI, this study will evaluate whether a customized employment intervention used in non-VA settings can be adapted for use by the VA as a part of SCI medical rehabilitation. The research goal is to evaluate how a CE intervention for Veterans with SCI (ACCESS-Vets) can help them discover their strengths to find and maintain competitive integrated employment in their communities. This study will compare ACCESS-Vets with the usual evidence-based supported employment program, known as Individual Placement and Support (IPS).

Veterans with SCI who chose to participate in this study will be randomly selected (i.e. by chance) to work with a vocational rehabilitation specialist as part of the ACCESS-Vets intervention or the usual IPS employment program for about 8 months. Study participants will complete study questionnaires before, during, and after their participation in the employment interventions. Some Veterans and their medical rehabilitation providers will be interviewed about their experiences with the employment interventions.

The study expects to find that Veterans who participate in ACCESS-Vets will have better employment and quality of life outcomes then those who participate in IPS. The study will provide information about the strategies used in the ACCESS-Vets and IPS interventions for addressing barriers to employment. Ultimately, this study may provide a model for making VA vocational services for Veterans with SCI more effective and sustainable.

VA Office of Research and Development      Veterans only, 18-65 years old   Learn More