Dr. Suzy Kim: "No one really knows how many people suffer from disability to due to non-functioning spinal cords. The number everyone knows (12,000 new injuries per year) is wrong," she says, "because it only counts the people with externally caused injuries who arrive at one of the model hospitals."
Dr. Kim is spinal cord injured herself, and is working on assembling a database so that we’ll know how many people suffer from spinal cord-related disabilities.
YAY,...... I have always said that using old 1990 numbers that were just guestimates, was low-balling it, because only traumatic injuries were included. Now it turns out only those who arrive at "model" centers were counted, and TM, spinal ischemia injuries, and other spinal cord related paralysis conditions were not or under reported.
to develop programs and publications to educate the public about research findings and clinical treatment options as a true liaison between scientists and clinicians at UCI.
Growing up in Laguna Hills, Dr. Kim is a southern California native who is excited to practice in her community. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a B.A. in Psychology, she received her M.D. from USC Keck School of Medicine with a unique perspective from a wheelchair. During her third year of medical school, Dr. Kim sustained a cervical spinal cord injury while body surfing in Laguna Beach. With her competitive athletic background, she then completed her residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the top ranked Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Today, Dr. Kim is a board certified rehabilitation physician (sometimes called a physiatrist) and one of 500 physicians in the U.S. with a subspecialty board certification in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine. While her medical specialty choice seems obvious after her injury, she states, .I made a conscious decision to pursue a career where improving one.s quality of life and function is a medical treatment. I am committed to patient advocacy, translational research and hopefully by demonstration, living a fulfilling productive life.. As a rehabilitation physician and primarily a clinician, she specializes in treating patients with functional impairments caused by neurologic disorders such as spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, and strokes. Her patient care focuses on developing a medical treatment plan to minimize secondary medical conditions such as neuropathic pain and spasticity that may cause additional disability, as well as a personalized rehabilitation program to maximize functional outcome. Dr. Kim.s clinical interests include the management of neurogenic bladder, cardiovascular fitness, spasticity, musculoskeletal injuries related to repetitive use and rehabilitation technology.
Joining the faculty at RIRC and UCI Medical Center, Dr. Kim brings her clinical expertise in treating newly spinal injured individuals and consulting their families throughout the continuum of care after spinal cord injury: initial hospitalization, inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation and community integration. Prior to joining RIRC, she was the Associate Chief in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Medical Director of the Inpatient Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose, California. As the Northern California Regional Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury Model System of Care*, she gained extensive clinical experience in the medical and peri-operative management of newly injured individuals. *(The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education designates specialized centers as Model Systems of Care based on excellence in clinical care, research and education).