About the SCI Model System

Our Spaulding-Harvard SCI Model System is one of 14 sites that have been awarded for the 2016-2021 funding cycle. The funding is through the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The main mission of this agency is to help improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.


About SCI Care at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

The Spinal Cord Injury programs of the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network provide an unparalleled level of care and support for individuals recovering from spinal cord injuries. We treat patients who have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of traumatic injury or as a result of illnesses such as polio, spina bifida or multiple sclerosis. Our comprehensive rehabilitation program focuses on maximizing neurorecovery while helping patients develop strategies for independent living. We do this in a comfortable, supportive environment in which patients—with the help and support of their families—can attain the skills they need to return to their community.


Our SH-SCI Model System Team


Dr. Ross Zafonte, DO

Administrative Co-Director, Spaulding-Harvard SCIMS

Dr. Ross D. Zafonte is Earle P. and Ida S. Charlton Professor and Chairman of the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. He also serves as chief of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Massachusetts General Hospital as well as Vice President Medical Affairs Research and Education at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital. 


Dr. Felipe Fregni, MD PhD MPH 

Director of Research, Spaulding-Harvard SCIMS

Felipe Fregni (MD, PhD, MPH), is the Director of the Laboratory of Neuromodulation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Harvard Medical School, as well as an Associate Professor of Neurology and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA. He is also the course director for the HMS continuing medical education course, Principles and Practice of Clinical Research, a 6-month distance learning course. It focuses on promoting collaboration and bringing clinical research education to practicing clinicians worldwide.


Dr. Kevin O'Connor, MD

Director of Clinical Care, Spaulding-Harvard SCIMS

Dr. O'Connor's work has focused on the clinical care of individuals following spinal cord injury. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as subspecialty certified in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine.  Since 2002, he has been the Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital and have helped advance the program through clinical care, advocacy, and education.  


Dr. Robert Birnbaum, MD

Senior Education Research & Development Specialist, Post Graduate Medical Education, MGH
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Robert J. Birnbaum, MD is the Director of Continuing Medical Education at Partners Healthcare and the Senior Education Research and Design Specialist for Postgraduate Medical Education at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Birnbaum is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Birnbaum is the founding Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Psychiatry Academy and the founding Executive Director of the MGH Academy. 


Dr. Eric Garshick, MD

Associate Chief - Pulmonary (VA); Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

I am trained in internal and pulmonary medicine, and my area of research expertise is the study of pulmonary diseases in patients with chronic SCI. As a result of my clinical responsibilities at VA Boston caring for SCI patients, I began to study the epidemiology of pulmonary disease in SCI in the early 1990's. Using VA research funding, I began a longitudinal study assessing lung function, respiratory illness, and symptoms in 550 subjects with chronic SCI. 


Oswald Mondejar

Vice President for Human Resources, Community Relations and Communications

Oswald “Oz” Mondejar is the Vice President for Human Resources, Community Relations and Communications of Partners Continuing Care, Inc. (“PCC”), the non-acute care services division of Partners HealthCare.  PCC includes rehabilitation and long term care hospitals, outpatient centers, skilled nursing facilities and home care.


Colleen Moran

Project Manager, Human Resources and Community Relations

Colleen Moran serves as a Project Manager for Human Resources and Community Relations for Spaulding Rehabilitation Network (SRN), part of the non-acute care services division of Partners HealthCare.  SRN includes rehabilitation, long term care hospitals and outpatient centers.


Dr. Marcalee Alexander, MD

Physician, Spinal Cord Injury Medicine

Dr. Alexander has a longstanding career in the field of SCI medicine, having served as project director or codirector at 3 model systems. She has conducted a substantial body of research documenting the effects of spinal cord injury on sexual response in both women and men. 


Additional Team Members  
Christopher Carter, PsyD
Chris Diehl, PT
Director - Outpatient Rehab Operations
Donna DiGioia, MD
Psychiatry - Clinical Director
Daniel Meninger, MSPT
Program Director - SCI
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Jaye Hefner, MD
Physician - Internal Medicine
Ron Hirschberg, MD
Physiatrist - PM&R
Stephanie Cho, MD
Physiatrist - SCI
Douglas Sohn, MD
Physician - PM&R
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John A. Lowry, DO
Physiatrist - SCI
Irene Lerman
Research Coordinator & Site Manager
Rosanna Woodmansee, CRC
Community Resource Specialist
Elizabeth Weaver
Director - Grtr. Boston Chapter
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