Taking a substantial step forward in its battle to advance our understanding of brain and spinal cord injuries, the Burke Rehabilitation Center officially unveiled its newly renovated research laboratories Friday.
The $7 million project increased the research facility by more than 10,000 sq. ft. and includes new labs and equipment to help staff move toward finding a cure for a variety of neurological disabilities.
"Disability due to stroke, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease are public health problems of immense, growing, proportions," said Rajiv Ratan, executive director of Burke Medical Research Institute. "We must rise up and come away from this ceremony with resolve and re-double our efforts in stemming the tide of suffering from paralysis, vision loss, pain and dementia and other types of impairment."
The project has been in the works for about four years, and provides the center with more space to expand its research operations. The added space could lead to more grants and life-changing projects, said Robert Baldoni, chairman of the research institute. It also includes a variety of new equipment in close proximity to patients.
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"The idea is to never really plateau, but to keep growing and getting additional funding with new ideas," Baldoni said.
County Executive Robert Astorino said the continued development of Burke enhances the medical reputation of both White Plains and Westchester County.
"The opening of its Regenerative Medical Laboratories in White Plains demonstrates Burke's commitment to cutting edge research," Astorino stated. "Westchester County is proud to support Burke's growth and ongoing goal of finding treatments to neurological and other diseases."
Adding to the facility also helps expand Burke's reputation outside of the area. The Burke Medical Research Institute is one of the only free-standing rehabilitation research facilities with dedicated programs in basic research, translational research and clinical research.
"From a notoriety point of view I think Burke is gaining more of a national reputation than ever before," he said.