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The delivery of clinical care, research, and education in neuro-rehabilitation in Oxford will be revolutionised by an innovative partnership with Quinnipiac University, Hartford, USA.

Quinnipiac students Sean Pennetti and Evan Jameyfield

The Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences (NDCN) at the University of Oxford, and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, are already known for basic and translational neuroscience research. But delivery of neuro-rehabilitation services is fragmented, which limits clinical care and research opportunities, especially for patients with progressive MS where the needs are greatest. Quinnipiac has a nationally respected neuro-rehabilitation programme, with a comprehensive clinical care model and access to a vast longitudinal clinical, biofluid, and imaging repository for research.

The aim is for Oxford to become a world-leading centre of excellence in restorative neuroscience.
- Associate Professor Gabriele De Luca

The partnership has been negotiated by Associate Professor Gabriele De Luca, Director of Clinical Neurosciences Undergraduate Education in the Medical Sciences Division at the University of Oxford. Together with senior leadership in NDCN, he has secured $3.6m for Phase One of the partnership. Contributions have been made by Quinnipiac University, Trinity Health New England, and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

 

This money will fund a five-year medical student exchange programme starting this July. The four medical school participants, who were selected through a competitive application process, are Sean Pennetti and Evan Jameyfield from Quinnipiac and Lucy Kirkwood and Matthew Williams from Oxford. In September, Sam Baskharoun and Vidhi Rao from Quinnipiac and James Towner and Hibatullah Abuelgasim of Oxford will take part in the programme.

Dr Robert Krug, the William and Barbara Weldon Chair and director of the Institute for Rehabilitation Medicine at the Netter School at Quinnipiac, will join Dr De Luca in leading the exchange programme.

‘This the first phase of a partnership that we hope will result in a long-term sustainable relationship between Quinnipiac, Oxford and Mount Sinai,’ said Krug, who also is president and executive medical director of Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital. ‘Not only is this an incredible opportunity for medical students at the Netter School and the University of Oxford, but we believe both institutions will benefit from the collaboration.’

Future plans include the funding of two research fellowship posts. It is envisaged that Quinnipiac’s clinical team will provide rehabilitation expertise so that Oxford can create a comprehensive care centre for progressive MS that integrates clinical care, research, and education.

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