Current Studies

In pursuit of being a learning health system, Sheltering Arms Institute collaborates on research projects that work to improve the quality of rehabilitative care and accelerate patient outcomes. Sponsored projects currently enrolling participants at the institute include:

  • VCU Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems Longitudinal Data Collection
  • In-home adjustment of new spinal cord injury caregivers: Telehealth Transition Assistance Program for Acute SCI Caregivers
  • Developing and Implementing an Application of Goal Attainment Scaling during Inpatient Rehabilitation: The Sheltering Arms Institute Personalized Rehabilitation Outcome (PRO) Score
  • Feasibility study to examine the impact of a therapy dog intervention on loneliness and related health outcomes in vulnerable populations

To learn more about these projects, please contact our research team at: sai-research@sai.rehab

Collaborative Research & Studies

Outside the walls of Sheltering Arms Institute, the collaboration between the Center for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering, Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center, VCU Health and the Institute’s research hospital provides opportunities to lead and be a part of important rehabilitation breakthroughs. Visit each area below to learn about ongoing projects that are happening in our community.

Rehabilitation Engineering
Develops and tests advanced non-invasive and implanted technologies to improve body and brain function and everyday activities.

Physical Function and Health
Develops and tests new rehabilitation intervention strategies such as physical rehab, pain and virtual reality to improve functional abilities, health and activities.

Participation and Adaptation
Tests applied interventions for people with acquired disabilities and their family members, in areas such as cognitive and behavioral rehab, adaptation and community re-entry.

Personalized Rehabilitation
Conducts research on individuals’ abilities, biomarkers, decision-making and social circumstances to develop personalized treatment approaches. This team also has a goal of obtaining funding to support post-doctoral trainees and clinical trials.

Digital Health
Conducts studies on using health information technology, telehealth, mobile health and wearable devices to generate healthcare data that improves outcomes.

The Institute’s goal to become a top 50 U.S. learning health system by 2025 and to bring valid scientific findings to the bedside in a timely manner cannot be realized without close collaboration between the research department and the clinical science department.

The Clinical Science Department

This department is founded on the Sheltering Arms Institute’s value of discovery to continually advance rehabilitation knowledge and practice. Our goal is to reduce the 17-year gap in health care of translating reliable and valid scientific evidence to clinical practice. Our dedication to restoring the patient’s possibilities through a knowledge to action process also situates us with a unique opportunity and responsibility to inform researchers and study participants of future studies to conduct.

The results are a continuous insight into how we achieve ideal outcomes and an understanding of questions that still must be answered. Our clinical science vision is unique in the field of inpatient rehabilitation. Sheltering Arms Institute culture, organizational structure and even our physical construction have been intentionally designed to support this unique vision.

The Clinical Science Department will implement the best care tools such as technology, facilitating knowledge translation, measuring clinical outcomes and addressing barriers to best practices. Gaps in knowledge or practice will be addressed with internal improvement or research processes, while continuously focusing on improvement of patient outcomes as an end-goal.

Past projects that bring clinical science to life:

  • Extra functional electrical stimulation cycling practice during inpatient rehabilitation
  • Utilizing a systematic application of rehab technology in an inpatient rehabilitation setting leads to increased repetition and improved outcomes
  • Evaluating the Indego Exoskeleton as a gait rehabilitation tool for individuals with stroke
  • Whole-body vibration as a priming tool in patients with acute stroke and its effects on gait function