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Stony Brook to Collaborate with “NextStep” to Build a Rehabilitation Facility for People with Paralysis


Stony Brook to Collaborate with “NextStep” to Build a Rehabilitation Facility for People with Paralysis

NextStep benefit to raise money for the facility at Stony Brook, to be a first in New York

NextStep Founder Janne Kouri (right) reviews a computer analysis of human walking patterns at Stony Brook University’s Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance (RRAMP) Laboratory. RRAMP Lab Director Dr. Sue Ann Sisto explains the capabilities of the program, which is used in studies of rehabilitation interventions for individuals with mobility problems.

 N.Y., June 7, 2012 –Stony Brook University, through its School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM), is collaborating with Los Angeles-based 
NextStep Fitness 
with the intention to build the organization’s first fitness and wellness facility in New York State for people with paralysis and spinal cord injuries. NextStep founder
 Janne Kouri,
 a former Georgetown University star football player paralyzed in a swimming accident in 2006, and Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., will announce the plan at NextStep’s 
“Help Make a Difference” Benefit 
at the Tribeca Cinemas in Manhattan on June 7. 


“Tonight we celebrate the exciting opportunities that are possible with collaboration between Stony Brook University and NextStep,” said Dr. Stanley. “The Stony Brook facility will be the first NextStep location linked to an academic research center, which has the expertise to quickly disseminate important research findings related to fitness and wellness facilities within the national Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network and locally within the Stony Brook University and Long Island community.”


The benefit kicks off a capital campaign by NextStep with the goal to raise $1.5 million toward development of the new facility at Stony Brook, which will be named the NextStep Fitness Center at Stony Brook Medicine.


Nextstep for web 2
A rendering of the planned NextStep Fitness Center at Stony Brook Medicine.

The new rehabilitation, fitness and wellness facility will be built in a free standing building that will be adjacent to the University’s Rehabilitation Research and Movement Performance (RRAMP) Laboratory. The RRAMP laboratory is a state-of-the-art research center within the School of Health Technology and Management dedicated to the studies of rehabilitation interventions that enhance the recovery process of those living with paralysis or spinal cord injuries, or suffer from debilitating illnesses that affect mobility. 


“There are no acute spinal cord rehabilitation facilities located in New York state; people with spinal cord injuries must travel to Manhattan or New Jersey to get the level of rehabilitative care they need,” said Craig Lehman, Dean of the School of SHTM. “There are an estimated 80,000 residents living with spinal cord injuries, with 600 additional individuals who experience an injury each year. In addition, thousands more residents experience walking and mobility problems due to diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS). An estimated 9,000 residents live with MS in New York. There is tremendous need for a facility like this and we are grateful that Janne and NextStep are working with us to make it happen.”


The NextStep fitness and wellness facility would not only be the only one of its kind in New York, it is also the first planned outside location outside the Los Angeles facility. Kouri is on a mission to open locations around the country and is currently planning two additional facilities, one in New York at Stony Brook, and another in the Washington, D.C., area.


NextStep at Stony Brook would also be the only facility in New York to offer Locomotor Training, a unique intervention to enhance the walking capacity of those who are paralyzed or who have spinal cord injuries. 


According to Sue Ann Sisto, PT, MA, PhD, Professor of Physical Therapy, and Research Director, Division of Rehabilitation Sciences, SHTM, and Director, RRAMP Laboratory, through NextStep and Stony Brook’s  relationship with the 
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network,
 Stony Brook’s research and medical capabilities have the potential to catapult the facility as a national model to develop vital interventions accessible to people all over the country.


“Through Janne’s vision and own training that has dramatically improved his mobility and wellness, NextStep has helped dozens of people annually in the Los Angeles area to improve their overall health,” said Sisto. “Locomotor Training and other programs at NextStep are preparing these individuals to potentially take steps of their own, and we will be right there conducting the research to advance this further.”


About NextStep 

NextStep, a nationally recognized 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, believes all persons living with paralysis and other physical disabilities deserve the hope and opportunity to live long and healthy lives. Yet today most of these individuals are deprived of the resources they desperately need for survival because there are no options available to them or they cannot afford them. NextStep,,
 provides the opportunity for health and recovery through affordable and progressive community fitness, health, and wellness facilities. 


NextStep is a nationwide movement that aims to revolutionize the quality of healthcare for the physically challenged community. NextStep has paved the way with the first community facility in the U.S. to offer Locomotor and activity based training at its state of the art facility in Los Angeles and continues its vision to expand across the United States. The organization’s other initiatives are participation in cutting edge research, education, and awareness programs that are focused on enhancing the lives of the 6 million people in the U.S. living with paralysis.


NextStep is a member of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation NeuroRecovery Network (NRN) Community Fitness and Wellness (CFW) Program. 


About Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management

The Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management is recognized as a premier professional school for preparing the next generation of health professionals and healthcare management professionals. The school offers high-caliber undergraduate and graduate programs taught by leaders in their respective fields. The programs promote professional growth with a focus on the latest in technological advances, excellence in teaching, and meeting the growing healthcare needs of the community. To learn more, visit

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