Dr. Robert Grossman Tribute

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on October 11, 2021 # News

Dr. Grossman in the labThe Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation was saddened to learn of the death of Robert George Grossman, MD, on Oct 7, at the age of 88.

Dr. Grossman, a renowned neurosurgeon, played a significant role in two key programs associated with the Reeve Foundation.

In 1995, he was one of the first members to join the Consortium Advisory Panel (CAP), a component of the International Research Consortium on Spinal Cord Injury. In that role, which he held until 2015, he regularly conferred with the network’s scientists, always emphasizing the patient as the endpoint of their research.

“Bob understood basic science, human physiology, and how the brain and spinal cord work better than anybody,” says Susan Howley, former head of research at the Reeve Foundation.

“He was able to inject into the discussions among basic scientists the realities of the human condition. In the lab, you make a nice, neat injury, and everything's rather well-contained and controlled. Well, the injury site in a human being is like a war zone. It's not a nice, neat, discreet injury. Bob was able to help these basic scientists bridge that difference.”

Dr. Grossman at Cambridge UniversityDr. Grossman had participated in large scale traumatic brain injury and stroke clinical trials, many of which were funded by the NIH, and none of which were successful. “Bob had always felt that these trials never stood a chance because the appropriate infrastructure and expertise were not in place to support trials that would give meaningful data,” says Howley.

His experience inspired him to found the North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN) for spinal cord injury. Under Dr. Grossman’s guidance and leadership as Principal Investigator, the Reeve Foundation established a network of NACTN centers and secured funding from the Department of Defense. NACTN’s mission is to advance the quality of care and quality of life of people with spinal cord injury through clinical trials of new therapies that provide strong evidence of safety and effectiveness.

“The Reeve Foundation is grateful for all the years of Dr. Grossman’s dedication and contributions to the field of spinal cord treatment, research, and care for those who live with the injury,” says Maggie Goldberg, President and CEO of the Foundation.

Not only was Dr. Grossman an extraordinary and forward-thinking scientist, but he was a wonderful person as well. “He was a singular individual in that he had a grace and humility that I personally have not seen in a lot of people who occupy positions of power and influence,” says Howley.

He will be missed.

Dr. Robert George Grossman's Obituary

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