Spinal Cord Injury

Clinical Practice (assessment, diagnosis, treatment, knowledge translation/EBP, implementation science, program development)

Lifestyle Medicine


Fitness and Wellness for Those With Spinal Cord Injury: the Role of Non-traditional Post-Rehabilitative Programs (452647)

Tuesday, October 2
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: De Soto A

Considering the chronic health demands SCI imposes then, those living with SCI increasingly face challenges of pursuing lifelong fitness, wellness, and functional recovery. The moderated panel of experienced rehabilitation clinicians, researchers, and program directors will describe components of exceptional fitness and wellness programs for those with SCI. Furthermore, panelists will highlight the influence of personal, environmental, and injury characteristics on expected trajectories within such programs. Finally, panelists will discuss challenges inherent to creating and maintaining programs, and identify solutions that were feasible for academic institutions, community-based interventions, and small companies.

Learning Objectives:

Carrie Callahan

President and Co-Founder
Empower Spinal Cord Injury, Inc

Carrie Callahan has practiced physical therapy for over 14 years, graduating from Ithaca College in 2003. Carrie is most well-known as the Co-Founder and President of the non-profit Empower Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). Empower SCI has 2 main programs: (1) a 2-week residential summer program for individuals with spinal cord injuries, and (2) Wheelchair Skills Courses for wheelchair-users, therapists, and students. She specializes in seating, positioning and wheeled mobility, earning her Assistive Technology Professional Certification in 2015. During her career, Carrie held a position as Territory Sales Manager for Permobil, TiLite and ROHO products in the Boston area from 2015-2017, and now, in addition to her role at Empower, works part-time as a Physical Therapist prescribing durable medical equipment for Commonwealth Care Alliance. Carrie has a passion for teaching manual wheelchair skills and adaptive sports, with a true love for adaptive surfing and adaptive snowboarding/skiing. She also enjoys taking part in the adaptive sports community through Spaulding Adaptive Sports Centers, and in January of 2016, she was part of a team of one doctor and three clinicians who pioneered the monthly Adaptive Sports Medicine Clinic at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.


Send Email for Carrie Callahan

Eric Harness

Neuro Ex, Inc.

With a strong background in athletic training and sports performance combined with extensive (18+ years) experience training those with neurological and physical disabilities, Eric brings a unique perspective to the adaptive performance and neuro-recovery fields.
He graduated from San Diego State University with a BSc in Kinesiology and became an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. After graduation he started San Diego Sports Training, where he excelled at improving the strength and performance of high school, college, and Olympic athletes.
In 1999, Eric co-founded the first activity-based recovery center in Southern California and served as their Director of Research and Development for 13 years. In that capacity, he worked with major hospitals and universities on several grant funded research projects examining the effects of exercise on individuals with spinal cord injury. These projects led to multiple authored and co-authored publications in peer-reviewed journals.
In 2015, he founded Neuro Ex – Adaptive Performance and Neuro Recovery. Neuro Ex Inc is a mobile activity-based training program that brings the expertise and equipment to the client. Eric has spent over 25,000 hours working hands on with physically challenged clients to increase their functional capacity. His clientele include not only spinal cord injuries, but stroke, TBI, multiple sclerosis, amputee, and ALS.. As a leader in this field, he has been invited to speak and present at many major medical conferences, hospitals, and industry events.
Eric has helped to develop many of the methods and techniques used today in the field of activity-based recovery and he continues to partner with the leaders in the rehabilitation field on research projects and equipment design.


Send Email for Eric Harness

Stephanie Silveira

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Stephanie Silveira completed her doctoral work at the University of Houston in the Department of Health and Human Performance. She is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Exercise Neuroscience Research lab at UAB with an interest in health promotion for individuals with disabilities. The focus of her current work is continuing to grow her knowledge and skill set of health promotion research focused on exercise interventions for persons who use mobility devices.


Send Email for Stephanie Silveira

Rachel Cowan

Research Assistant Professor
University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Rachel Cowan is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurosurgery/Miami at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Her current research has two foci: a) defining what level of fitness and ‘skill’ are required for persons with SCI to independently perform transfers to and from the bed, car, shower, and ground and b) defining how changes in fitness and wheelchair configuration can meaningfully reduce the effort required to propel a manual wheelchair. Dr. Cowan’s graduate and post-graduate training focused on using exercise to improve function in ambulatory older adults; measuring function in ambulatory older adults; wheelchair propulsion biomechanical assessment; assistive technology; and fitness and functional assessments in persons with spinal cord injury. Dr. Cowan was an NIH Pre-doctoral fellow; a Paralyzed Veterans of America Post-doctoral fellow; is currently site Co-PI on a federally funded muti-site study assessing an intervention to improve quality of life and participation in persons with SCI; and is Lead PI on a multi-site DoD quantifying the relationship between fitness and independence in persons with SCI.


Send Email for Rachel Cowan

Candy Tefertiller

Director of Physical Therapy
Craig Hospital

Candy Tefertiller, PT, DPT, NCS is the Director of Physical Therapy at Craig Hospital. Ms. Tefertiller received a B.S in Biology from Mount Olive College in 1997 and a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from East Carolina University in 2000. She then completed a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from Rocky Mountain Health Care University in 2008. Ms. Tefertiller has been working in the field of neurological rehabilitation since 2000 and has focused much of her career on interventions and program development promoting recovery after spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. She received an assistive technology practitioner (ATP) certification in 2005 and became a certified neurological clinical specialist (NCS) in 2007. Ms. Tefertiller has been involved in numerous research projects including serving as the clinical coordinator on a NIDRR funded randomized control trial examining the effects of intensive activity based therapy on individuals with incomplete spinal cord injuries. Ms. Tefertiller has also served as the project coordinator and co-principal investigator on two pilot studies evaluating the efficacy of functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling in individuals with spinal cord injury and the effects of plyometric training in individuals with incomplete spinal cord injury. Ms. Tefertiller is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the Neurologic Section.


Send Email for Candy Tefertiller

Hannah Mercier

Post-doctoral Research Fellow
Harvard Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Network

Post-doctoral Research Fellow at Harvard Medical School, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Cardiovascular Research Lab, Spaulding Hospital Cambridge. Clinical Specialist, Spaulding Rehabilitation network.


Send Email for Hannah Mercier


Fitness and Wellness for Those With Spinal Cord Injury: the Role of Non-traditional Post-Rehabilitative Programs (452647)

Attendees who have favorited this

Please enter your access key

The asset you are trying to access is locked. Please enter your access key to unlock.

Send Email for Fitness and Wellness for Those With Spinal Cord Injury: the Role of Non-traditional Post-Rehabilitative Programs