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Ms Susan Howley

​Susan Howley entered the spinal cord field in 1982 as Director of Administration for the Stifel Paralysis Research Foundation (SPRF), a family foundation in Short Hills, New Jersey with a mission of developing therapies for spinal cord injury (SCI).  Several years later, SPRF merged with the American Paralysis Association (APA) where she served as Executive Director from 1985 to 1992 and then became Director of Research. Her responsibilities for APA’s research included the administration and oversight of the Individual Research Grants program and the 1995 launch of the International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury, a network of multi-disciplinary neuroscientists tasked with collaborative thinking and research to advance development of SCI therapies.

The APA research programs were eventually embedded into the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, the result of a 1999 merger of APA and the Christopher Reeve Foundation. Shortly after the merger, Ms. Howley became the Executive Vice President for Research and was charged with implementing a strategic expansion of the Foundation’s research program.  CRF’s 2004 Translational Research Fund supported the testing, development, and application of evidence-based interventions with high likelihood of clinical improvement in the functioning of spinal cord injured individuals.  It was followed closely by the launch of two clinical research networks, the North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) and the NeuroRecovery Network (NRN).  Most recently, Ms. Howley led the Reeve Foundation’s guidance of and financial support for the Big Idea, the FDA-approved feasibility study Task and physiological specific stimulation for recovery of autonomic function, voluntary movement and standing using epidural stimulation and training after severe spinal cord injury.

Since late 2019, she has served as Research Consultant to the Reeve Foundation with administrative responsibility for NACTN.

She was a commissioner of the NJ Commission on Spinal Cord Injury Research from inception in 1999 through 2019, serving two terms as its chairman.  The Commission was created to encourage and promote significant, original spinal cord injury research in New Jersey by funding approved projects at qualifying research institutions in the State. 

She has been a trustee of New Jersey Connect and Freeman Apartments since 1997 and is the current president of both boards.  The nonprofit NJC serves people of low and moderate income who live with physical disabilities, are responsible for directing their own personal care, and seek affordable, barrier-free, non-institutional housing. Fostering independent living and respect for individuality are at the core of the philosophy behind Connect’s mission.

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