Letter from Dr. Sadowsky:

Headshot of Dr. Cristina Sadowsky

As we move into the second quarter of 2021, I hope this newsletter finds you and your family healthy and happy (both dependent partly on exercise!). We know that health and safety have probably weighed heavily on your mind over the past year and you may ask, “Is it safe to go to Kennedy Krieger for medical care and therapy?” My answer to you is “Yes!”

Please know that Kennedy Krieger Institute and the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury take steps every single day to keep you safe during your appointment and therapy, and we’ll continue to do so. If you have questions about the changes we’ve implemented since the pandemic began, we encourage you to call us and ask questions.

In this issue of our newsletter, we share information with you about our new, second location, in Howard County, Maryland. Be sure to take our video tour of the new space. This location could not have been possible without a generous donation from Phyllis and Sidney Bresler, Sarah and Jonathan Bresler, and The Robert I. Schattner Foundation, Inc.

Also in this issue, we offer a recap of our annual symposium. At this event, we recognize employees who have gone above and beyond to support our culture and values.

We hope you are staying safe and healthy. We look forward to seeing you soon, whether virtually or in person.

Cristina Sadowsky, MD
Clinical Director, International Center for Spinal Cord Injury
Kennedy Krieger Institute

Our Annual Symposium Was a Huge Success!


More than 700 people registered to take part in our annual symposium, Trends in Spinal Cord Rehabilitation. Since the symposium was held virtually, we were able to accommodate many more interested professionals, patients and families than usual. Our two speakers, who talked about new research trends in spinal cord injury, were:

  • Monica Perez, PhD, PT, professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Northwestern University and scientific chair of the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab’s Arms + Hands Lab
  • Dimitry Sayenko, PhD, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Houston Methodist Academic Institute and a scientist at the Neuromodulation & Recovery Lab, Center for Neurosurgery, Houston Methodist Research Institute

Additionally, we presented the following awards:

Leader in Spinal Cord Research and Education Award

  • This award went to Janet M. Dean, MS, RN, CRRN, CRNP, for her outstanding contributions to the community of individuals affected by acute flaccid myelitis (AFM). Her contributions to AFM research are multidirectional and place us at the center of national attention to AFM. She is beloved by her patients and their families and works tirelessly on their behalf, and on behalf of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury. She recently received a faculty promotion to assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in recognition of her extraordinary contributions to the clinical and academic endeavors of our center.

Dedication to Improving Lives Award

Because of the extraordinary year we’ve had, we decided to present this award to two people:

  • Nia Wallace Ward, PT, DPT created the H.O.P.E. Coalition for Diversity last year to increase inclusivity, equity and diversity at our center. The training sessions she has provided have improved our lives, both as individuals and as a clinical team. Her efforts will have lasting impact in the years to come, as we develop more opportunities for collaborating with other community programs and recruiting from different schools to have a more diverse staff. We’ve learned a lot from her this past year, and she has encouraged us to look more deeply at ourselves and our biases, so we can provide the highest quality of care to all of our patients.
  • Jack Luttrell, ATP worked behind the scenes this past year to help make our new location in Howard County, Maryland, a reality. Without being asked, Jack stepped up, took a lead role and made sure that every step of the process was coordinated, and that everyone was prepared for opening day. Despite the pandemic, he never missed a beat. Now that we’re operating in multiple locations, Jack has continued to make sure the needs of our clinic, staff members, and patients and their families, are met. He has been an instrumental go-to person and “jack of all trades.”

Check Out Our New Location:

The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury recently opened its second location, building upon a 15-year legacy of providing “Hope Through Motion” for adults and children with spinal cord injuries.

Maple Lawn location

Located in Howard County, Maryland, three miles from Interstate 95, the new 9,500-square-foot facility is convenient for those traveling from the Baltimore, Northern Virginia, Annapolis and Washington, D.C., areas. It offers the same comprehensive, one-of-a-kind medical and rehabilitative approach as does the center’s original location, with more than a million dollars’ worth of high-tech rehabilitation equipment and advanced robotic technology designed to improve functioning for those with spinal cord injuries and disorders. We recently added a G-EO System™ robotic therapy device and a ZeroG® Gait and Balance System, which will allow patients to regain strength and movement, thereby improving their ability to function. This therapy center is currently the only centers in the world that offers both the G-EO and the Zero-G in one space.

Additional highlights of our Howard County location include:

  • Wellness gym for personal training
  • Specific adult and pediatric therapy spaces
  • Aquatherapy-based gait training
  • Overhead track systems that support body weight
  • Medical exam rooms
  • Dual ground-level entrances for easy access
  • Space for future expansion

Would you like to learn more about this innovative, new space? Watch our video tour to see the new space and equipment and meet some of our staff members.

To make an appointment at either our Howard County location or our Baltimore location, please call 888-923-9222.

Personal Training: Not Your Typical Fitness Center Experience

Personal Training

The opening of the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury’s second location, in Howard County, has allowed the center to expand its personal training services. The new location provides a light, bright warehouse-style feel with plenty of room to socially distance while working out. The specialized equipment is perfect for our clients’ needs. All training sessions are supervised by a certified personal trainer and nutrition coach, who provides each client with an exercise program tailored to the client’s individual goals.

Personal training may be of particular benefit to:

  • Individuals wishing to supplement their physical therapy and home exercise programs
  • Individuals with preexisting conditions who would benefit from the oversight of a certified trainer while exercising
  • Individuals wanting to: improve overall quality of life, increase functional fitness, have weight loss goals, increase strength, want to participate in a wellness exercise program

The sessions are highly customized to each client. Before the inception of any personal training session, a medical evaluation by physicians at Kennedy Krieger Institute will be required.

The Howard County location also offers an Open Gym program. This allows patients to independently access equipment in between bouts of personal training or therapy.

For more information: Send an email to Hentz@KennedyKrieger.org to learn more about personal training or the open gym at our center’s Howard County location. Send an email to ICSCI_Personal_Training@KennedyKrieger.org or call 443-923-4321 to learn more about personal training at our center’s Baltimore location. To learn about our wellness program, send an email to DeGrossD@KennedyKrieger.org or call 443-923-7950.

Adaptive Sports Update:

SAVE THE DATE: Join Team Kennedy Krieger in the 2021 Baltimore Running Festival on Saturday, October 9. At this time, we’re planning to participate in person (with virtual options as well). A new distance (10K) has been added this year (in place of the team relay). Registration will be available soon. If you’d like to be added to our registration email list, please contact us at AdaptiveSports@KennedyKrieger.org

Interested in competitive handcycling? Applications are now open to borrow a handcycle to use in the 2021 Baltimore Running Festival’s full marathon as part of Team Kennedy Krieger. Contact us at AdaptiveSports@KennedyKrieger.org for more information.

A handcyclist at the Baltimore Running Festival

Team Kennedy Krieger is a proud sponsor of the Impossible Dream, a fully accessible 58-foot catamaran. As a sponsor, we’re offering an overnight sail (in early June 2021—exact dates are still to be determined) along the Chesapeake Bay for a family of up to four individuals. Please contact us at AdaptiveSports@KennedyKrieger.org if you’re interested and would like more information. Spots are limited! Please visit theimpossibledream.org if you’d like to learn more about the catamaran.

Interested in wheelchair lacrosse? The Maryland Thunder wheelchair lacrosse team is looking for anyone interested in trying out the sport or joining the team. Contact us at AdaptiveSports@KennedyKrieger.org for more information. This team won the national championship in 2019 and offers a competitive and fun experience.

Please send an email to AdaptiveSports@KennedyKrieger.org if you have any questions or would like more information on a specific program or opportunity.

Recent Publications:

The International Center for Spinal Cord Injury’s staff members have been learning and sharing information with other professionals in the rehabilitation field, because learning helps us and others. Here’s a list of recent staff member publications and presentations:

External Academic and Research Presentations:

Presentations given at the virtual Association of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals Conference & Expo, in September 2020:

  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD and Janet Dean, CRNP presented “Bone Mass in Children with Acute Flaccid Myelitis” for the Association of Spinal Cord Injury Professionals in September 2020.

Presentations given at the virtual American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Annual Conference in Chicago, Illinois, in October 2020:

  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD, and Janet Dean, CRNP, presented “Bone Mass in Children with Acute Flaccid Myelitis.”
  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD; Kathrine Hill, PT, DPT, ATP; Kathleen Bailey, PT, DPT; and Christopher Bettwy, PT, DPT, presented “Clinical Utility of Acute Intermittent Hypoxia for Individuals with Incomplete SCI.”
  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD, was a panelist for “Pediatric Rehabilitation—An Integrative Approach” and presented “Acute Flaccid Myelitis Pediatric Rehabilitation—An Integrative Approach.”
  • Rebecca Martin, OTR/L, OTD, presented “Optimizing Pediatric NeuroRecovery: Benefits of Early Intervention and Activity-Based Therapy.”

Other Presentations:

  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD presented “Spinal Cord Injury And Neuroplasticity” for the National Academy of Medicine (DC Chapter) on 10/07/2020 (virtual)
  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD, presented “Spinal Cord Injury And Neuroplasticity—Activity As An Agent Of Recovery (An Old Story With New Twists)” for the virtual G20 Summit/Neuroscience 20 World Brain Mapping & Therapeutic Initiative (Brain 20, Mental Health 20 and Spine 20) Symposium held in Los Angeles, California, in November 2020.
  • Alaena McCool, MS, OTR/L, CPAM, and Kimberly Perone, MBA, MSHA, OTR/L, CPAM, ECHM, presented “Activity Based Restorative Therapy for Adults and Pediatrics: Telehealth 2020 Edition” at the virtual Maryland Occupational Therapy Association Conference in November 2020.
  • Lisa Wawick-Arndt, PTA, BS, and Beth Farrell, PT, DPT, PCS, ATP/SMS, presented the poster “Intensive Inpatient Rehabilitation Following Spinal Stroke with Sacral Wound: A Case Study” at the virtual Maryland Physical Therapy Association Conference in November 2020.
  • Lizzie Neighbors, PT, DPT, and Lisa Warwick-Arndt, PTA, BS, presented “Lower Extremity Splinting and Casting for Pediatrics and Adults” at the virtual Maryland Physical Therapy Association Conference in November 2020.
  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD, presented “Activity Based Rehabilitation Following Spinal Cord Related Paralysis” for the virtual 2nd Congress AANS, ENMH, IPN, MSC—UNESCO held in Switzerland in December 2020.
  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD; Janet Dean, CRNP; Kelsey Rogers, PT; and Kaitlin Hagen, OT, presented a webinar, “Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM)—A Center’s Clinical Experience,” as a part of the Steel Assembly Webinar Series on January 22, 2021.
  • Albert Recio, PT, MD; Rachel Mertins, PT; Heidi Nash, OT; and Christy Lynn Sachs, TR, presented “Aquatic-Based Therapies for Patients with Spinal Cord Injury: Successful Interventions” at the virtual APTA Combined Sections Meeting on February 8, 2021.
  • Cristina Sadowsky, MD presented “Neuroplasticity in Spinal Cord Injury And Neuroplasticity - Activity As An Agent Of Recovery (An Old Story With New Twists)” at Kennedy Krieger Institute Grand Rounds 02/25/2021 (virtual)


Raja, A.E., Shustorovich, A., Robinson, D., Alfonso, K., Meyer, R., Roemmich, R.T., Eng, C., Wisniewski, S.J., & Cabahug, P. (in press). Musculoskeletal Ultrasound as a Motivator for Selecting a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Residency Program in the United States of America – A Multi-Center Survey Study. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. PMID: 33605576. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33605576/

Smith, C. (2021). A Holistic Approach to Complex Rehab. Rehab Management, 34(1), 6–8. Retrieved from https://rehabpub.com/mobility/a-holistic-approach-to-complex-rehab/

Murphy, O.C., Messacar, K., Benson, L., Bove, R., Carpenter, J.L., Crawford, T., Dean, J., DeBiasi, R., Desai, J., Elrick, M.J., Farias-Moeller, R., Gombolay, G.Y., Greenberg, B., Harmelink, M., Hong, S., Hopkins, S.E., Oleszek, J., Otten, C., Sadowsky, C.L., Schreiner, T.L., Thakur, K.T., Van Haren, K., Carballo, C.M., Chong, P.F., Fall, A., Gowda, V.K., Helfferich, J., Kira, R., Lim, M., Lopez, E.L., Wells, E.M., Yeh, E.A., Pardo, C.A., & AFM working group. (2021). Acute flaccid myelitis: cause, diagnosis, and management. Lancet, 397(10271), 334–346. PMID: 33357469. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33357469/

Hagen, K., Porter, C., Martin, R., Dean, J., Salorio, C., & Sadowsky, C.L. (2020). Improvements in Function Following Inpatient Activity-Based Therapy for Children With Acute Flaccid Myelitis. Topics in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, 26(4), 275–282. PMID: 33536733. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33536733/

Michael, E., & Stager, K. (2020). What the Best Wheelchair Configurations Should Have. Rehab Management, 33(7), 6–8. Retrieved from https://rehabpub.com/mobility/designer-decisions/

Your Support

Thank you to all who have participated in our fundraising efforts this past year! We are incredibly grateful for your support. Please keep the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury in mind as you consider your charitable contributions. 

Your gifts help us maintain the best equipment and technology possible, conduct groundbreaking research, and help our patients and their families purchase rehabilitation items not covered by insurance.

Visit KennedyKrieger.org/ICSCIFund to make a tax-deductible gift or learn more. Thank you!