Skip Navigation

 Medical University | MUSC Hospital Directory | A-Z Index


South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund



History of the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund



Dr. Brian Cuddy at MUSC contacted SC Legislature about possibility of establishing a SC Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Research Fund modeled on New Jersey with revenue through Driving Under the Influence (DUI) surcharges. Legislation drafted under leadership of Representative Fleming (Union County), Representative Limehouse (Charleston) and Senator Ravenel (Charleston).



Legislation introduced by Limehouse/Fleming. Amendment (Bill S54 44-38-510) to Section 2, Chapter 38, Title 44 of the 1976 S.C. Code was passed and signed by the Governor on July 20. Authorized new SC Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund.


• Provided from $100 surcharge on each DUI conviction.
• Administered by new Spinal Cord Injury Research Board.
• Attached to Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for staff and administrative purposes.
• Authorized coverage of operating and administrative costs.
• Balance of Fund to be used for SCI research projects.



Local governments began assessing and collecting the $100 per DUI conviction surcharge.

Seven board members, appointed by the Governor, held their first meeting of SCI Research Fund Board. B. Cuddy, MD elected Chair and W. Coleman appointed fund administrator.

Second meeting of SCI Research Fund Board held. P. Kalivas appointed Scientific Director. First annual budget approved.

"Requests for Proposals" for a first round of projects sent out with deadline in 2002.



Deadline for inital round of proposals.

Third meeting of the SCI Research Fund Board held and included a public forum segment with State leaders.

Fourth meeting of SCI Research Fund Board held and reviewed 12 project proposals submitted for funding as well as 2 special recruitment requests.

Initial round of eight projects funded for total of $720,511.

Fund DUI collections passed the $1,000,000 mark.

James Krause, PhD assumed position of Scientific Director and M. Kindy, PhD, Associate Scientific Director.


Fifth meeting of the Board where priorities and timetable for second round projects were set.



Statewide press conference held to introduce Scientific Directors, review progress of program, and announce the second round RFPs.

Deadline for receipt of second round proposals.

Nine (9) of the approved Round 02 projects were awarded funds, with the tenth declining the offer of a seed developmental award.

Board Chair Cuddy and member Peacock met with Legislative leader Senator Guise and members of the DHEC Certificate of Need staff to overview Fund history and priorities, particularly the planned acute care rehabilitation services need/feasibility study.

The South Carolina Rehabilitation Meeting convened to discuss parameters of an acute care rehabilitation services need/feasibility study. The event was co-sponsored by the Fund, the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association, the Brain Injury Alliance of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Brain Injury Leadership Council.

The Board approved a Round 03 RFP with extension of maximum grant periods from 18 to 24 months and included four “Funding Mechanisms”: Primary Research; Career Development; NIH Grant Seed; and Research Results Dissemination. It also approved the special Recruitment RFP 02A to assist South Carolina in the recruitment of scientists specializing in spinal cord injury.

RFP 03 (Round 03 projects) issued with March 15, 2004 deadline, and RFP 02A (Recruitment) issued with an open deadline.

FY 02/03 “ANNUAL REPORT” distributed to 550 health/political leaders and news media outlets throughout South Carolina.



Special initiative RFP 02B (Rehabilitation) issued with March 31 deadline.

Deadline for receipt of third round proposals.

Scientific review conducted on the ten (10) RFP 03 and three (3) RFP 02B proposals received. No RFP 02A proposals were received. Proposals and reviews were mailed to Board for their final review and decisions.

Seven (7) Round 03 projects for periods of twelve to twenty-four months. Round 02B (Rehabilitation) applications deferred until RFP further refinement and reissue by the end of calendar year 2004. Draft FY 04/05 Budget approved.

Third Round of seven (7) projects awarded funds for periods ranging from 12 to 24 months.

Board Chair Cuddy and member Peacock visit the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, one of the Country’s premier SCI rehabilitation facilities, for orientation as well as consultation with respect to South Carolina rehabilitation facility/service needs and possibilities.  Dr. Cuddy also made Fund presentations at the Annual Meeting of the South Carolina Spinal Society as well as a seminar for physical medicine and rehabilitation professionals.

Board approved the Fund’s Annual Report 03/04; a strengthened Scientific Review Process for projects; a Round 04 RFP; and conceptual plans for the first Fund Scientific Conference in the Spring. 

RFP 04 issued.



Nine (9) Round 04 proposals were received.

Second statewide conference held in Columbia for people with SCI and their circle of friends (family & caregivers) with the title: “Experience the Power:”—279 registrants plus 29 vendors and exhibitors attended. 

The first annual Scientific Conference held in Charleston with three nationally known keynote speakers, presentations by 10 of the SCIRF funded projects, and over 100 scientists and clinicians in attendance. 

Board met and recommended several Board reappointments to the MUSC President and Governor; set major FY 05-06 goals and five year strategic goals; finalized priorities and timeline for a Round 05; continued revision of Round 02B (Rehabilitation) RFP and timeline; and charged the Scientific Directors with identifying additional special focus areas where Fund support might be effectively earmarked/allocated to permit significant improvements to SCI and related research.  They also approved three (3) Round 04 projects in full; another three (3) as seeds to complete additional clarifications for potential end of year funding; awarded a special seed initiative to the S. C. Spinal Cord Injury Association; and a supplemental award to a Round 02 project.

The fourth Round of three (3) seed and four (4) projects awarded funds for periods ranging from 3.5 to 24 months.

Board finalized and issued RFP 02B (Rehabilitation) and RFP 05.



The corrected S. C. Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund Board entry included in the “2006 South Carolina Legislative Manual” (pp. 548 & 549).

Board met and approved the Fund’s Annual Report 04/05; a strengthened Scientific Review Process for projects; a Round 05 RFP; completed the revised RFP 02B for issuance; provided scientific review to seven (7) special mid-cycle Round 04 seed and new projects; and approved five(5) of these for immediate funding. 

Award funds to the five (5) Round 04 mid-cycle projects.

Two (2) Round 102B and six (6) Round 05  proposals were received and forwarded for scientific review.

Special Web announcement of open RFC 05A (Bridge Funding).

Board met and approved one (1) RFP 02B proposal and four (4) Round 05 projects for funding; set parameters for a new special Endowed Chair RFP; set priorities and timetable for RFP 06; finalized and discussed possible contractual initiatives for a provider oriented educational conference..

Four (4) Round 05 projects awarded funds for 24 month periods.  Additionally, the Board initiated special rehabilitation study (The Feasibility of Enhanced Rehabilitation Services in S. C.) was awarded funds.

Board finalized and issued RFP 06A (Endowed Chair)

The Board finalized and issued RFP 06



Board met, finalized Round 06 review schedule with expanded review component; issued special initiative request for an interdisciplinary health professionals conference in SCI; gave initial review of RFP 06A (Endowed Chair) proposal, stipulating required conditions for additional review/consideration.

Annual Report completed and distributed..

Board approved N. Banik as new Associate Scientific Director; awarded with conditions a special extension with additional funds to the Statewide Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Trauma Registry; approved four (4)  Round 06 proposals (two of these being in response to Board Special Initiatives; and gave a second review with approval for funding of the one (1) Round 06A proposal.

Fund initiated study, “The Feasibility of Enhanced Rehabilitation Services in S.C. (Rehabilitation Study)”, completed by the University of South Carolina Center for Health Services and Policy Research.  Fund Board and staff started initiative to disseminate findings to all appropriate health care and policy organizations and agencies.

Over 150 health professionals attended the SCI Conference in Greenville conducted by the Roger C. Peace Hospital. This was in response to a special Fund initiative.

The Board finalized and issued RFP 07.



Board met and presented Fund progress and findings of the “Rehabilitation Study” to invited members of the S. C. Legislature, recommended timetable and priorities for RFP 08; received update on Fund sponsored Interdisciplinary Center at MUSC, statewide expansion plans and priorities; approved ongoing Fund support of the SCI Surveillance System; and adopted a plan of action for follow-up of the “Rehabilitation Study”.

Eight (8)Round 07 project proposals received and scientific review process started. New Board members Catherine L. Graham, MEBME, and Byron N. Bailey, M.D., appointed by Governor Sanford to replace retiring members.

Dr. Tom Higerd assumes the role of fund administrator after the untimely death of Walker Coleman.



Continued funding of the SCI surveillance system.

Progress was made towards improving outpatient services in the state of South Carolina, with the overall goal of developing a basis for evaluation of outcomes through research.


A SCI statewide database was funded that was developed as an extension of data collected through the surveillance system to encompass a more detailed assessment of outcomes and services received. It will assess individuals with SCI throughout the state of South Carolina. 



Recruitment of two key new faculty to the state of South Carolina. Start up/seed funds were provided for the development of research programs in the areas of XXX.

Conference was held in the upstate, hosted by Roger C. Peace, for healthcare providers of persons with SCI.

Continued surveillance funding.

The assessment system to be utilized in the database was developed.

A grant was approved to the SCI Association for a conference to be held in 2011.



Board of Directors met with SCI Association to initiate strategic planning to enhance the SCI available population for research and as a resource for dissemination of research fund studies.

An outpatient clinic has been approved at Roper and will establish a basis for the collection of research outcome data.

Three new research projects were funded.






On Wednesday, April 16, 2013, MUSC held SCI Grand Rounds with Dr. Jeffery Tubbs from Roper Rehabilitation Hospital. He presented on “Ambulation after Spinal Cord Injury.”  Click to view the --video--.

On Tuesday, August 27, 2013, Dr. Niemeier, Senior Director of Research and a Neuropsychologist/Rehab Psychologist at Carolinas Rehabilitation in Charlotte, North Carolina, presented on “Spinal Cord Injury and Co-Occurring Traumatic Brain Injury.” During the presentation, Dr. Neimeier discussed the main etiologies of both SCI and TBI, which include motor vehicle accidents, falls, assault, sports, combat, and shaken infant syndrome.  She described the risk factors that correlate with the co-occurrence of TBI and SCI, such as alcohol dependence, completeness of traumatic SCI, being male, involvement in sports, occupations requiring work at significant heights, and combat exposure. According to evaluation responses, attendees enjoyed the overall presentation and requested more educational sessions related to TBI, co-occurrence of SCI and TBI, and related complications.





South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund
Phone: (843) 614-1756
© 2014 South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund. All rights reserved.