The Center for Functional Assessment Research (CFAR)

CFAR is the academic research entity within UDSMR, a division of UB Foundation Activities, Inc., a nonprofit whose mission is to support The State University of New York at Buffalo in Amherst, New York.

CFAR’s purpose and objectives are:

  • To establish, maintain, and disseminate uniformity of instruments that document levels of patient disability and function and to track outcomes of medical rehabilitation using state-of-the-art technology.
  • To maintain the world’s leading outcomes database for all phases of medical rehabilitation to be used for benchmark reporting and quality improvement/patient care delivery efforts.
  • To establish and maintain the leading system for functional assessment research related to severity, disability, and the measurement of outcomes for persons with disability and/or chronic health conditions.
  • To develop reliable, valid, and relevant tools for clinical assessment and functional outcomes of postacute care.

CFAR has research projects with numerous investigators from academic institutions, government agencies, hospitals, and care delivery facilities, as well as not-for-profit-organizations within the US and internationally.

CFAR researchers strive to strengthen current research collaborations and to identify new partnerships consistent with the overall mission and focus of the organization.


The Center for Functional Assessment Research (CFAR) was established to study the use of functional assessment in the clinical epidemiology of medical rehabilitation. Recruited from Brown University in 1983, Carl V. Granger, MD, was appointed director of CFAR. At that same time, a national task force to investigate outcomes and costs of inpatient medical rehabilitation was established with support from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ACRM/AAPM&R). As cochair of the task force, Dr. Granger, working with Byron Hamilton, MD, submitted and obtained a proof of concept grant from the US Department of Education’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to develop a standardized instrument in order to measure patient function and the outcomes of inpatient rehabilitation in a uniform way.

The work done pursuant to the grant resulted in the first iteration of the FIM® instrument. Demographic, diagnostic, and other variables were added to form the Uniform Data Set for Medical Rehabilitation. The FIM® instrument is an easy-to-use assessment tool that allows trained personnel to assign a numerical value—the FIM® rating—to a patient’s level of function in eighteen physical and mental tasks that represent basic activities of daily life.

As a result of this work, in 1987, Uniform Data System for Medical Rehabilitation (UDSMR) was founded as a data-processing and reporting service for the twenty-five pilot rehabilitation facilities that used the FIM® instrument to track patient functional status and rehabilitation outcomes. Today, over 1,400 facilities in the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden, Australia, and Italy have agreements with UDSMR and contribute data to the repository, which includes more than fifteen million patient assessments.

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