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Chester HO, MD honored by VA, United Spinal Association

Chester Ho, MD, a researcher at the Cleveland FES Center, received the James J. Peters Scholar Award in Washington, DC, on Jan. 19. The award, sponsored by the United Spinal Association (USA), is presented each year by VA?s Rehabilitation Research and Development (RR&D) Service to recognize outstanding achievements on behalf of veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI).

Ho?s research focuses on skin and bladder problems related to SCI. In addition to his role as a principal investigator at the Cleveland FES Center, one of the nation?s top sites for studies on functional electrical stimulation, Ho is a staff physician at the Cleveland VA Medical Center and an associate professor at Case Western Reserve University. The Cleveland FES Center is a consortium of VA, Case Western Reserve University and MetroHealth Medical Center.

Among Ho?s current projects is a study on the use of BIONs?tiny, implantable devices that use electrical signals from an external controller to stimulate nerves?to improve tissue health and prevent pressure sores. Pressure sores, a common complication in medical conditions involving immobility, are a leading cause of recurrent hospitalization among those with SCI.

Photo of Chester Ho, MD

Chester Ho, MD
James J. Peters Scholar Award
winner for 2005

Ho is also investigating whether pressure sores can be helped by pulsatile lavage, a type of hydrotherapy; and whether digital photos taken by patients, visiting nurses or family caregivers can be used to help physicians assess pressure wounds.

In addition to having authored numerous journal articles, Ho is coauthor of a chapter on burn and wound therapy in the 2003 book Comprehensive Aquatic Therapy. He also recently became an editorial board member of the Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development.

Ho received the award, named in memory of a past executive director of USA, during a ceremony at VA research headquarters. Participants included Dr. Vivian Beyda, associate executive director of USA; Dr. Joe Francis, acting deputy chief research and development officer for VA; Dr. Robert Ruff, acting director of RR&D; and Dr. Murray Altose, associate chief of staff for research at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center.

The award included $75,000 from USA in support of Ho?s Career Development funding from RR&D.

VA researchers who have received the Peters Scholar Award in the past include: Jill Wecht, EdD (2004), who investigated blood pressure control in SCI; Hajime Tokuno, MD (2003), for his studies on Schwann cell transplantation in rats; Ronald Gironda, PhD (2002), who focused on pain management in SCI; Margot Damaser, PhD (2001), who developed a device to allow SCI patients to measure bladder pressure at home; and David Gater Jr., MD, PhD (2000), for his work on the relationship between exercise and glucose intolerance in SCI patients.