THE MIAMI PROJECT BELIEVES IN WORKING WITH OUR LOCAL COMMUNITY TO DEVELOP AND IMPLEMENT STRATEGIES THAT CAN POTENTIALLY TREAT PARALYSIS.
The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis works ultimately for people living with paralysis due to spinal cord injury and other neurological conditions. Accordingly, The Miami Project’s Office of Education and Outreach, directed by David W. McMillan, Ph.D., engages the community at multiple levels both to spread an understanding of current efforts and to also get feedback to inform future endeavors.
Together with the outreach team – Danielle Cilien, Maria Chagoyen, and Nilajana “Neil” Datta – the Office fields thousands of inquires, provides updates about current research studies, and liaises between The Miami Project’s scientists and those in the public with a vested interested in paralysis. Since its inception, the Office has been serving this role through recruitment information, resource and care referrals, partnership with like-minded organizations, and presentations via tours, lectures, and events. Now nested in the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center, the Office brings these services to the acute and in-patient hospital setting, providing people with new injuries a “portal into the pipeline”—as their slogan goes—at a sensitive and opportune time after injury.
The Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Expo returned to in-person services on February 4, 2023, the first time since a multi-year online transition. The Office returned in force with the Brain Fair interactive nervous system exhibit, leading the reestablishment of the coalition of contributors who have delivered the Brain Fair in past years. In participation, there were groups from Leila M. Allen, Ph.D., of Florida International University, Stephanie Bingham, Ph.D., from Barry University, and students from Alexis Tapanes-Castillo, Ph.D., St Thomas University. Between the contributing professors, over two dozen undergraduate and graduate student volunteers delivered a variety of demonstrations and interactive activities to the audience of younger, primary school aged attendees of the overall Expo. Along with the Brain Fair, the winner of the 2022 Brain Bee was also announced at the Expo’s award recipient ceremony on a stage in front a bustling crowd. The Brain Bee is an international neuroscience competition for teens, and the Office organizes and delivers the Miami Brain Bee competition for eligible students in our region. This year’s Miami Brain Bee winner was Sahana Sethuraman from Terra Environmental Research Institute a magnet high school in Miami-Dade.
Back in the Christine E. Lynn Rehabilitation Center for The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at UHealth / Jackson Memorial, our professionals and the community they serve are taking advantage of the new facilities while also striving to create social bridges between the group that now spans two brick and mortar locations. In the Lois Pope LIFE Center, a research facility designed from the ground up for The Miami Project, researchers organically interacted with community members in the fitness center of the Clinical Lifestyle Program lead by Mark S. Nash, Ph.D. that now exists in the Lynn Rehabilitation Center. To encourage this interaction across both buildings, stakeholders of all abilities are now invited to a lunch-break activity on the last Friday of the month. This “All Abilities Friday” practice invites all contributes to The Miami Project’s mission – researchers, clinicians, administrators, and of course those living with paralysis who participate in our studies – to interact in an informal setting. For one of the events a local boxing gym, Iron Fist Gym, hosted a boxing demonstration that was well attended.
Extending Dr. McMillan’s professorship into the recreational activities our SCI community celebrate, the Office has officially partnered with Shake-A-Leg Miami (SALM) to conduct a study. Located in the Coconut Grove waterfront area of Miami, SALM is an iconic group associated with The Miami Project by our co-founder Dr. Barth Green’s involvement since its inception nearly three decades ago. SALM utilizes the marine environment to improve the health, education, and independence of children and adults with physical, developmental, and economic challenges, in an inclusive community setting. The study will quantify the depth and breadth of what SALM identifies as the “healing powers of the sea.”
In addition to these and other community outreach efforts, the Office is also responsible for assisting the clinical research faculty with recruitment for their clinical studies and trials. Individuals interested in participating can come to the Office remotely or in-person where they will enter the “portal into the pipeline” starting with an intake form. Once the form, which helps researchers determine eligibility for certain studies, is processed the intake coordinator can discuss with potential participants the studies they qualify for, the broad requirements of the study(s), and the primary contact for the study if they are interested in participating. If you would like to be considered as a possible applicant for one or more of our current research studies, please complete the online intake form.
If you would prefer to complete the form later, please visit our homepage and click on the “Register now” tab on the top of the page. A huge and earnest thank you to all participants, both past and present, for volunteering to be in on-site studies and remote surveys!
If you have any questions or would like to contact our Education department, please email us at email@example.com or call us at 305-243-7108.