Boston Medical Center Conference Focuses on Spinal Cord Research

Contact: Kristen Perfetuo, 617-638-8491 |

(Boston) – The latest developments in spinal cord injury research, bioethics and politics are topics of a one-day conference sponsored by Boston Medical Center (BMC) on Nov. 19.

“Stepping Forward-Staying Informed: Understanding the Science, Weighing the Issues, and Impacting the Politics of Spinal Cord Injury Research,” is the title of the conference to be held at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The event is open to spinal cord injury consumers and their family members, as well as researchers, healthcare professionals and educators from New England.

“Our goals are to disseminate the latest information to individuals with spinal cord injuries, their families and caregivers and a wide range of health care professionals including physiatrists, therapists, researchers, surgeons, social workers and case managers,” said Steven Williams, M.D., chief and chairman, ad interim, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at BMC and assistant professor of rehabilitation medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.

Morning presentations will explore the subject of stem cell research as it applies to spinal cord injury with an emphasis on science, ethics and politics of stem cell implantation. Afternoon presentations will focus on exercise, neural plasticity and functional recovery from neurologic diseases.

Wise Young, M.D., Ph.D., founding director of the W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, will kick-off the event with his keynote presentation on stem cells and the search for a cure.

George Annas, J.D., M.P.H., chairman of the Department of Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights at Boston University School of Public Health, will continue the discussion with a look at the ethics of stem cell research.

Other internationally known speakers include, Danny Heumann, motivational speaker and vice president of the Daniel Heumann Fund for Spinal Cord Research;
Rep. James Langevin, (D-RI), 2nd Congressional District and founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus; John MacDonald, M.D., Ph.D., director of the International Spinal Cord Injury Center at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Md.; and Bernard Siegel, J.D., founder and executive director of the Genetics Policy Institute.