About the Education Foundation Grants

Paralyzed Veterans of America’s Education Foundation Board of Directors met on April 14th, 2023, to decide which candidates would be the best deserving of the Foundation's annual awards.

The Foundation Awarded four grants to recipients whose work excels in professional development and community education in the field of spinal cord injuries, disorders, and diseases.

The grants are awarded for a one-year period, beginning on June 1st, 2023. This year, the Foundation awarded a total of $94,755 in grants in two categories: Professional Development and education and Conferences and Symposia.

Professional Development and Education

Kristin Musselman

University of Toronto

Toronto, ON, CA

“Development, Dissemination, and Evaluation of a Functional Electrical Stimulation Toolkit for Healthcare Providers”

Awarded: $49,755


Functional electrical stimulation (FES) is an evidence-based therapy that involves applying an electrical current to nerves and/or paralyzed muscles to retrain function, like standing and reaching. Despite strong evidence to support FES, its use by healthcare providers is low because of a lack of knowledge and training in FES. Continuing education is a means to address this barrier and healthcare providers have expressed an interest in acquiring FES knowledge and skills; however, to date educational opportunities for FES are limited. We will use a co-design approach to develop and disseminate an evidence-based, interactive toolkit on non-invasive FES for healthcare providers. The FES Toolkit will include knowledge translation products (e.g., manual, videos, cases) and implementation strategies. This project will address an identified gap in the education of healthcare providers, which will lead to increased access to FES, an evidence-based intervention, for individuals with spinal cord injury or Multiple Sclerosis.

Conferences and Symposia

Vijayshree Yadav

VA Portland Healthcare system/Oregon Health & Science University

Portland, OR

“6th Annual Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Central Nervous System (CNS) Neuroimmunology Symposium”

Awarded: $15,000


The 6th Annual Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Central Nervous System (CNS) Neuroimmunology Symposium to be held on September 16, 2023, live using an online platform will provide multi- disciplinary health care professionals the information needed to identify, refer, treat and/or implement practice changes that will improve the care of patients with central and peripheral nervous system disorders. Specific neuroimmunological disorder topics in 2023's symposium include: multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment update, electrical stimulation devices for rehabilitation in multiple sclerosis (MS), myasthenia gravis management, GABAA receptor antibody-associated encephalitis diagnosis, and updates in neuromyelitis optica (NMO).

Henry York

VA San Diego Healthcare System

San Diego, CA

“The 2024 San Diego Spinal Cord Injury Symposium (SDSCIS)”

 Awarded: $15,000


The 2024 San Diego Spinal Cord Injury Symposium (SDSCIS) is a free, one-day gathering of leading researchers, clinicians, experts in the field of spinal cord injury and associated conditions (SCI/D), and individuals with lived experience, designed to share the latest advances in research, clinical care, rehabilitation, and community reintegration. The SDSCIS covers a broad range of topics related to SCI/D within an interactive format that facilitates networking, collaboration, and education for all of these stakeholders. The SCSCIS meets a distinct need for a regional SCI/D meeting in the Western United States and directly fulfills the PVA Education Foundation mission.

Matthew Roderick

Unite 2 Fight Paralysis

“2023 Unite 2 Fight Paralysis Science and Advocacy Symposium”

Awarded: $15,000


Unite 2 Fight Paralysis’ Annual Science and Advocacy Symposium provides a unique se<ng where stakeholders in the quest to reverse paralysis can engage in open, honest, and supportive discussions of how individuals and organizations can work together toward their common goals. The two-day event, taking place in Minneapolis in October 2023, will be organized around general sessions followed by informal facilitated table discussions amongst individuals from all stakeholder groups. Most research scientists in the field have never met a person who with an SCI. Parents, who comprise approximately 45% of attendees, have insufficient knowledge of the current state of research and the problems within the research economy that must be solved in order to implement sustainable curative treatments. Patients and clinicians alike are often unaware of therapies that are already available or in trials. The Symposium fills these gaps and provides a dynamic, motivating, and empowering experience for all attendees.