Mission & History

You are here >>://Mission & History
Mission & History 2018-03-29T16:33:25+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), 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.

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.
Donate to United Spinal today! spacer Join, membership is free spacer Sign up for our newsletter spacer Free Disability Publications from United Spinal spacer

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.