Article Content

Congratulations to 2 former members of the Advances in Skin & Wound Care Editorial Board who were honored for their groundbreaking work on spinal cord injuries (SCIs). Thanks to the work of these 2 scientists and researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), many paralyzed veterans now have a reason for hope. William A. Bauman, MD, and Ann M. Spungen, PhD, director and associate director of the VA's Rehabilitation Research & Development National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury, were awarded the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Science and Environment Medal, also known as the "Sammies."


The Science and Environment Medal is awarded to federal employees who have made a significant contribution to the nation. Drs Bauman and Spungen have been working together for a quarter of a century and received their awards from VA Secretary Robert McDonald in a special ceremony in Washington, DC.


In 2001, Drs Bauman and Spungen established the VA's Rehabilitation Research & Development National Center of Excellence for the Medical Consequences of Spinal Cord Injury in Bronx, New York, where Dr Spungen most recently tested a new bionic walking assistance system that enables individuals with paralysis to stand, walk, and climb stairs. The scientists have made great progress in understanding the effects of SCI on the body. Their research concluded that persons with SCI are at a markedly increased risk for heart disease. Drs Bauman and Spungen also were the first to describe, and then treat, an asthma-like lung condition common in those with higher levels of paralysis. And, they have developed approaches to make it easier for paralyzed patients to undergo successful colonoscopies.


Bauman has worked at the Bronx VA hospital for 35 years, starting in the laboratory of the late Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, VA physicist and Nobel Prize winner.


Spungen recalled, "I got to the VA and met these incredible scientists and investigators who were here working for the veterans and who were so intelligent, so open, and so kind. I just became enamored with the entire atmosphere and dug in, and I have been here ever since."


Robert Ruff, national director for neurology at the Department of VA, stated that the work of Drs Bauman and Spungen can also help others with immobility caused by amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, cancers, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, dementia, or Parkinson disease.


[black up pointing small triangle]Information: