SOURCE: Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation

October 17, 2013 14:28 ET

Carson Family Makes Major Gift to Kessler Foundation to Improve Lives for People With Disabilities

WEST ORANGE, NJ--(Marketwired - Oct 17, 2013) - Russell Carson, co-founder of Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and head of the Carson Family Charitable Trust, recently pledged $250,000 in unrestricted support to Kessler Foundation -- a major nonprofit organization in the field of rehabilitation research and disability employment

Mr. Carson is also a member of the Board of Directors of Select Medical Corporation, the parent company of Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. "I'm greatly impressed by Kessler Foundation's rehabilitation research and witnessed firsthand how it is life-changing for people with disabilities," said Mr. Carson. "The Foundation's close relationship with Kessler Institute enables innovative treatments to be brought directly to the bedside. Research outcomes have true functional benefits, where individuals can begin improving their independence today and for years to come."

Mr. Carson was inspired to make this gift in honor of Select Medical's executive chairman, Rocco Ortenzio, and chief executive officer, Bob Ortenzio, after touring Kessler Foundation's research facilities, including its new Neuroimaging Center. The Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation is the only center in the U.S. with a state-of-the-art scanner dedicated solely to rehabilitation research. As such, it is expected to accelerate the pace of research advances and provide third-party reimbursers with the objective proof needed to make treatments more widely available to people with disabilities.

Part of the gift from the Carson Family Charitable Trust will fund mobility research using Ekso, a robotic, battery-powered exoskeleton that enables individuals with spinal cord injuries (SCI) to stand and walk. Gail Forrest, PT, Ph.D., assistant director of Human Performance & Engineering Research at Kessler Foundation, studies how Ekso affects mobility, as well as the potential long-term impact on the overall health of individuals with SCI -- such as changes in lung and cardiovascular function, bone density and muscle condition. While initial studies yielded improvements, Dr. Forrest has begun in-depth studies to determine whether walking overground with Ekso can reverse negative changes in the muscles and bones of individuals with SCI. Changes in muscle volume and other indicators will be measured through magnetic resonance imaging at the Neuroimaging Center at Kessler Foundation.

"Thanks to Mr. Carson's generosity, we can expand our research to improve the lives of people with disabilities," said Rodger DeRose, president and chief executive officer of Kessler Foundation. "We are looking forward to helping more people with disabilities regain their mobility and improve their thinking, learning and memory. Better function means greater independence and readiness for the workplace. At Kessler Foundation, we will continue making strategic investments in innovative technology that we feel will improve the function and quality of life of people with disabilities."

Mr. Carson also serves on the Boards for the Endowment for Inner City Education in NYC, Partnership for New York City, 9/11 Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art and Rockerfeller University -- all nonprofit organizations.

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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