SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation

November 14, 2014 17:08 ET

Brooke Ellison, Ph.D., Named 2014 Recipient of the Kessler Foundation Neurorehabilitation Award

Ellison Honored for Outstanding Contribution to Public Awareness of Neurorehabilitation

WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Nov 14, 2014) - Brooke Ellison, Ph.D., director of Education and Ethics at Stony Brook University Stem Cell Research Center, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Kessler Foundation Neurorehabilitation Award. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to social and public awareness of neurorehabilitation. Dr. Ellison will receive this award at the American Society of Neurorehabilitation (ASNR) Education Foundation Dinner on November 14, 2014 at the Embassy Suites Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

"It is a tremendous honor to receive the Kessler Foundation Neurorehabilitation Award," said Dr. Ellison. "My personal and professional experiences have given me the opportunity to increase awareness about the importance of cognitive neurorehabilitation. Receiving this [award] is a remarkable intersection of my life's work, and aligns with Kessler's mission and support of spinal cord injury (SCI)."

As a result of an accident 24 years ago, when she was 11 years old, Dr. Ellison is paralyzed from the neck down and uses a ventilator to breathe. She continues to be an advocate for people with spinal cord injury (SCI) and other mobility challenges. Accepted to Harvard University, her mother, Jean, accompanied her to support her medical needs. Upon graduating in 2000 with an undergraduate degree in cognitive neuroscience, she began public speaking, bringing her message of hope and strength in the face of obstacles to all types of audiences. In 2012, Dr. Ellison received a doctoral degree from Stony Brook University. Her current work focuses on expanding support and education about stem cell research in the U.S. and around the world.

"Brooke Ellison is a shining example that hard work and determination knows no limits," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "Her abilities far outshine any limitations and she reminds us all that anything is possible with a strong will and a little creativity. Brooke is committed to raising awareness of the importance of neurorehabilitation and advancing research to improve lives. Kessler Foundation is proud to honor her with this award."

She and her mother co-authored the 2002 book, The Brooke Ellison Story, which later became a television movie. In 2006, Dr. Ellison ran for New York State Senate with the goal of bringing attention to issues in health care, education and stem cell research. She received two gubernatorial appointments for her work related to stem cell research with the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board and the Empire State Stem Cell Research Board. During the 2008 presidential election, Dr. Ellison was asked by the Obama campaign to offer recommendations for a federal stem cell policy. 

The ASNR Education Foundation Board selects the Kessler Foundation Neurorehabilitation Award honoree. The annual ASNR meeting provides a forum for rehabilitation professionals to discuss developments in neurorehabilitation. The dinner ends two days of scientific presentations on a wide variety of topics. A.M. Barrett, M.D., director of Stroke Rehabilitation Research at Kessler Foundation, will deliver remarks and introduce awardees. In her keynote address, "The Patient, The Person, The Professor," Dr. Ellison will speak about her support of neurorehabilitation, and her journey into advocacy and activism.

About Kessler Foundation
Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit

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