Methods of a multisite randomized clinical trial of supported employment among veterans with spinal cord injury

Lisa Ottomanelli, Lance Goetz, Charles McGeough, Alina Suris, Jennifer Sippel, Patricia Sinnott, Todd H. Wagner, Daisha J. Cipher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This article compares the methods of a randomized multisite clinical trial of evidence-based supported employment with conventional vocational rehabilitation among veterans with spinal cord injury (SCI). The primary hypothesis is that, compared with conventional vocational rehabilitation (i.e., standard care), evidence-based supported employment will significantly improve competitive employment outcomes and general rehabilitation outcomes. The secondary hypothesis is that evidence-based supported employment in SCI will be more cost-effective than standard care. The current article describes the clinical trial and presents baseline data. The present sample includes 301 veterans with SCI, which includes paraplegia (50%), high tetraplegia (32%), and low tetraplegia (18%). Baseline data indicate that 65% of this sample of employment-seeking veterans with SCI had never been employed postinjury, despite the fact that nearly half (41%) had received some type of prior vocational rehabilitation. These rates of unemployment for veterans with SCI are consistent with the rates reported for community samples of persons with SCI. Forthcoming outcome data will provide much needed insights into the best practices for helping these veterans restore vocational goals and improve overall quality of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)919-930
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Rehabilitation Research and Development
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2009


  • Department of veterans affairs
  • Employment
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Multicenter trial
  • Persons with disabilities
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Rehabilitation
  • Research design
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Supported employment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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