The Natalie Barnhard Center for Activity-Based Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery

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The first specialized spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation and recovery center in Western New York is slated to open spring of 2021. The center, founded by Natalie Barnhard, President of the Motion Project Foundation, will provide invaluable rehabilitation and recovery services to those living with spinal cord injuries. Barnhard herself is a recovering spinal cord injured individual, who is determined to provide top level healthcare services for others that face the challenges that she herself faced.

At the age of 24, Natalie was working as a physical therapist assistant when she suffered a spinal cord injury resulting in her paralysis.

The Natalie Barnhard Center for Activity-Based Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation and Recovery is in partnership with University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions.

What this means for the region is quite astounding, if you stop to consider that there are somewhere around 291,000 people living with spinal cord injuries in the US. Once open, the center will have state-of-the-art equipment, world-class clinicians, and cutting-edge therapies.

Unfortunately, like everything else during the pandemic, the timeline to open has been slower to progress than what was originally anticipated, with some roadblocks along the way. But that has not deterred Barnhard and her team who remain positive and steadfast in their dream to build (and open) the facility.

The 6000 square foot Center, located at 4820 Genesee Street in Cheektowaga, is centrally located near to the airport, as well as to major highways. In the near future, this will become an indispensable SCI Center that will serve both local and out-of-area clientele. It will also add to Buffalo’s specialized medical care industry, by helping to accommodate the needs of those who might otherwise have to travel great distances – by providing services close to home, they are less at risk of further damaging their bodies that might already be considered “at-risk” when traveling.

To learn more about this project, and to support the effort, visit

Published by Buffalo Rising

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