About United Spinal Association

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About United Spinal Association2019-01-16T14:16:19+00:00

About United Spinal Association

Our Mission

United Spinal Association is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life of all people living with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including veterans, and providing support and information to loved ones, care providers and professionals.

We believe no person should be excluded from opportunity based on their disability. Our goal is to provide people living with SCI/D programs and services that maximize their independence and enable them to remain active in their communities.

Our History

United Spinal was founded in 1946 by a determined group of paralyzed WWII veterans in New York City who advocated for greater civil rights and independence for themselves and their fellow veterans. Rejecting the poor treatment they received at their local VA hospital, they decided to form a support group. From these modest beginnings, United Spinal was born. Since then, our core belief has remained unchanged. Despite living with SCI/D, a full, productive, and rewarding life is within the reach of anyone with the strength to believe it and the courage to make it happen.

Our Reach

United Spinal has access to over 100,000 wheelchair users, 50+ chapters, 180+ support groups, and 100+ rehabs and hospital partners nationwide––including 10 distinguished Spinal Cord Injury Model System Centers that support innovative projects and research in the field of SCI. This year, we have touched over 1.8 million lives impacted by disability. Our expansive reach to wheelchair consumers, their families and caregivers, clinicians and disability stakeholders, through our national Spinal Network empowers individuals with disabilities to achieve their highest potential in all facets of life.

Membership in United Spinal is free and open to all individuals with SCI/D.

Our Impact

United Spinal is committed to advocating for greater civil rights and independence for people with disabilities, including expanding education and employment, improving enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ensuring adequate access to public transportation and taxi services, and amending Medicare rules that restrict many individuals to their homes and nursing facilities.

United Spinal Annual Report
United Spinal IRS 990

Our Leadership

United Spinal Association’s Leadership is dedicated to advancing the organization’s principles
and goals and to achieving the highest level of service to the spinal cord injury community.

Patrick W. Maher
Chairman of the Board
United Spinal Association

As Director of Civic Engagement a digital transformation agency, Pat Maher continues a personal and company initiative that fosters and develops key civic partnerships with leading non-profit organizations with a mission to improve career opportunities in tech for historically marginalized populations. Read more about Pat Maher

James WeismanJames Weisman
President & CEO
United Spinal Association

For 35 years James Weisman has advocated for the rights of people with disabilities including helping craft the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Mr. Weisman is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD).Read more about James Weisman


Patrick W. Maher – Chairman of the Board
Tom Aiello – Vice Chairman of the Board
Denise A. McQuade – Secretary
Andy Hicks – Treasurer
James Weisman – President & CEO

Board of Directors

Tom AiellioTom Aiello
President of March Marketing, LLC.

BallMarty Ball
Vice President of Sales, TiLite (retired)

Josh-BasileJoshua Basile
Attorney, Jack H Olender & Associates

Teresa BernerTheresa Berner, MOT, OTR/L, ATP
Rehabilitation Clinical Manager, OSU Wexner Medical

Geno BonettiGeno Bonetti
Healthcare Executive

Darren BrehmDarren Brehm
Senior Director, Direct Materials Procurement
Dairy Farmers of America

Ronald W. DrachRonald W. Drach
Drach Consulting, LLC

David C. CooperDavid C. Cooper
President and CEO of Media Solutions, Inc.

M-GennarelliMark T. Gennarelli
Corporate Partnerships with the New York Giants

RicK Hayden

Rick Hayden
The Hayden Group


Andy Hicks, ATP, SMS
Owner, Complex Rehab Technology Education, LLC

Carmen Jones

Carmen D. Jones
CEO/President of Solutions Marketing Group

Gary Karp

Gary Karp
Internationally recognized public speaker, corporate trainer, author, and editor.

David Korse
CEO, Abilities Expos


Pat Maher
Director of Civic Engagement, SPR Consulting


Wendell Matas
President, Premium Healthcare Products


Denise McQuade
Public Information Coordinator, Paratransit Division, MTA New York City Transit

Ronnie Ellen Raymond

Ronnie Ellen Raymond
Advocacy for the Disabled-UJA Disability Awareness Task Force, the Jewish Museum, Taxis for All Campaign, Concerts in Motion

Jim Sinocchi

Jim Sinocchi
Managing Director, Office of Disability Inclusion, JPMorgan Chase


Len Zandrow
Partner, Brister & Zandrow

Spinal Cord Injury

Spinal cord injury can result in paralysis of the muscles used for breathing; paralysis and/or loss of feeling in all or some of the trunk, arms, and legs; weakness; numbness; loss of bowel and bladder control; and numerous secondary conditions including respiratory problems, pressure sores, and sometimes fatal spikes in blood pressure. Approximately 12,000 new spinal cord injuries occur in the U.S. each year. A majority of injuries occur from motor vehicle accidents, falls, work-related accidents, sports injuries, and penetrations such as stab or gunshot wounds.

Our Membership Community

Our membership community provides a lifeline for many individuals that are focused on regaining their independence and improving their quality of life––whether they are leaving rehab after sustaining a spinal cord injury, learning to live with symptoms of a spinal cord disorder, or have spent years of frustration coping with disability. We provide members guidance and resources on a variety of topics they are passionate about, such as employment, affordable housing, transportation, health care, home- and community-based independent living, education, peer support, and leisure and recreation.
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Ask Us

United Spinal’s Ask Us program connects you with information, resources, and access to our “Ask Us Spinal Cord Central” help center. Browse the Knowledge Books below for answers to your questions. If you can’t find what you are looking for just Ask Us and one of our knowledgeable staff will provide you with answers.