Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, director of the division of rehabilitation sciences in the School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, has received a $4.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to help train investigators in the use of large databases related to rehabilitation and disability.

The five-year grant funds the new Center for Rehabilitation Research Using Large Datasets at UTMB, a consortium led by UTMB that includes investigators at Cornell University, the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and the Uniform Data Systems for Medical Rehabilitation.

“This project will build research capacity by increasing the quantity and quality of rehabilitation research using large administrative and research datasets,” Ottenbacher said.

The new center involves 29 investigators, including 17 from UTMB. In addition to Ottenbacher, UTMB investigators include Soham Al Snih, Ivonne Berges, Karl Eschbach, Daniel Freeman, Jean Freeman, Anne Frye, James Goodwin, James Grady, James Graham, Yong Fang Kuo, Kyriakos Markides, Glenn Ostir, M. Kristen Peek, Mukaila Raji, Rebeca Wong and Dong Zhang.

“Traditionally, rehabilitation investigators have been trained in clinical research and most lack the necessary skills and experience to conduct research involving secondary data analysis using large datasets,” Ottenbacher said.

The center will train investigators at UTMB and elsewhere, develop data directories, support pilot studies and facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research to advance rehabilitation science, inform policy and contribute to evidence-based rehabilitation.