United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) was founded in 1948 by Leonard and Isabelle Weinstein Goldenson and by Jack and Ethel Hausman, because there was inadequate health care available to the thousands of babies and children with birth defects.
In 1955, the same founding families of UCP created the UCP Research and Educational Foundation, Inc.
Its mission was three-fold: to fund research (for cure, care and best practices), to advocate for more Federal support for research relevant to developmental disabilities, and to foster superb educational programs in medical schools (so that the next generation of children with developmental impairments would have knowledgeable doctors, nurses and therapists prepared to care for them.)
In its 50 year history, UCPREF was instrumental in contributing to the elimination of two major causes of cerebral palsy: German measles and maternal – fetal blood type incompatibility. While these discoveries were significant, the number of new cases of cerebral palsy has increased 25% over the last decade; there are and estimated 10,000 new cases of cerebral palsy each year.
Although the causes of developmental disorders have changed, and our ability to care for and improve the lives and longevity has improved dramatically, research is more important than ever, and the UCPREF mission remains the same.
The mission of UCPREF is to provide “hope through research” to the entire community of people who care about cerebral palsy and developmental disabilities.
UCPREF provides financial support to rigorously reviewed, scientifically important research relevant to cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. UCPREF also provides medical expertise to the UCP local chapters and UCPA. UCPREF serves as a resource for the international public, clinicians and policy-makers about best health care practices, prevention and curative strategies for cerebral palsy.
UCPREF is also focusing its attention on research directed at issues of early diagnosis, mechanisms of nervous system injury and repair, neurological rehabilitation, orthopedic rehabilitation and engineering solutions.
There are over 1 million children and adults in the USA with cerebral palsy and related developmental disabilities, more clinical and basic biomedical research is urgently needed for improving neurological functions, preventing medical complications, and optimizing quality of life in these individuals from infancy through adulthood.