Mount Sinai’s Bronx VA Scientists Recognized Nationally for Advancing Spinal Cord Treatment

 – October 20, 2014 /Press Release/  –– 

Two leaders of the National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx were presented with the 2014 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal in Science and the Environment.  William A. Bauman, MD, and Ann M. Spungen, EdD, the Director and Associate Director, respectively, of the VA Centers of Excellence were honored for their groundbreaking contributions to improving the health care and quality of life of paralyzed veterans. The ceremony took place on Monday, September 22, in Washington, D.C.  

The VA Centers for Excellence is academically affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, where Dr. Bauman is Professor of Medicine and Associate Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine. He has worked at the Bronx VA hospital for 35 years, starting in the laboratory of the late Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, PhD, a physicist and Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine in 1977, and a former Mount Sinai faculty member. Dr. Spungen, Associate Professor of Medicine with a secondary appointment in Rehabilitation Medicine,   has worked closely with Dr. Bauman since 1990.

“Drs. Bauman and Spungen lead a team of talented doctors that address many of the largely neglected, but highly relevant, issues faced by patients with spinal cord injury,” said Erik Langhoff, MD, PhD, Director of the James J. Peters VA Medical Center. “Their efforts argue for maintaining a strong system of federal funding for research. with their many successes made possible by research support from The Department of Veterans Affairs and a strong affiliation with Mount Sinai.”

The Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit nonpartisan organization that celebrates excellence in the federal civil service, awards medals annually in seven areas of accomplishment. The Science and Environment Medal is awarded to federal employees who have made a significant contribution to the nation.

Drs. Bauman and Spungen accomplishments include: studies revealing that patients have an increased risk for heart disease, and were susceptible to an asthma-like lung condition; novel drug therapies for low blood pressure and poor bowel function; investigating new ways to reduce bone loss that occurs after the immobilization of spinal cord injury; and advancing our understanding and treatment of chronic, non-healing pressure ulcers. They were also among the first to test and reveal the benefits of using the ReWalk exoskeleton, an assisted-walking robotic device now being used by individuals with paraplegia.  

“Drs. Bauman and Spungen have created an outstanding research center,” said Kristjan Ragnarsson, MD, Professor, and Chair, Rehabilitation Medicine, Mount Sinai Health System. “Through presentations and publication of their research results, they have contributed in a large way to the reputation of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center.”

About the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center
The James J. Peters VA Medical Center is a multilevel health care Center of Excellence, fully accredited by JCAHO, and composed of 331 authorized beds and a 120-bed Nursing Home Care Unit. It provides tertiary services to a veteran population from the Bronx, Westchester and Rockland Counties, Northern New Jersey, and the New York City metropolitan area. It is a comprehensive cancer center; a national center for Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and alcohol abuse; a Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) center; and a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) center. For more information go to http://www.bronx.va.gov/.

About the Mount Sinai Health System
The Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven member hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 6,600 primary and specialty care physicians, 12-minority-owned free-standing ambulatory surgery centers, over 45 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island, as well as 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institutes of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report.

For more information, visit http://www.mountsinai.org, or find Mount Sinai on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

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