Dr. Stephen McKenna is a founding member of the Stanford Partnership for Spinal Cord Injury and Repair. He is currently the Chief of the Rehabilitation Trauma Center; as well as, the site director of the Advanced SCI Medicine Fellowship at SCVMC.

As a Neurocritical Care physician, Dr. McKenna specializes in ventilator-dependent Spinal Cord and Traumatic Brain Injury, as well as neuromuscular diseases. He has led first-in-human clinical trials ranging from vaccines for HIV to stem cell-derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cell-based therapies for SCI. Dr. McKenna is Chairman of the Respiratory Section of the International Standards to Document Autonomic Function after SCI (ISAFSCI) and co-chair of the American Spinal Cord Injury Association (ASIA) Research Education Subcommittee.

Clinical Focus:
Spinal Cord Injury
Traumatic Brain Injury
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS)
Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis
Neuromyelitis Optica (Devic disease)

Professional Education:
Board Certification: Neurocritical Care, UCNS (2008)
Board Certification: Internal Medicine, ABIM (2005)
Internship & Residency: Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (2002,2005)
Medical Education: Stanford University School of Medicine (2002)

Book Chapter:
Shah A, Shem K, McKenna SL, Berlly M. Management of Respiratory Failure in Spinal Cord Injury. Spinal Cord Medicine (Hardcover) by Steven, M.D. Kirshblum (Editor) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011

Selected Publications:
Exploration of surgical blood pressure management & expected motor recovery in individuals with traumatic SCI.
Ehsanian R, et al, McKenna SL.
Spinal Cord. 2020 Mar;58(3):377-386. PMID: 31649323

A Novel Pharyngeal Clearance Maneuver for Initial Tracheostomy Tube Cuff Deflation in High Cervical Tetraplegia.
Ehsanian R, et al, McKenna S.
Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Sep;98(9):835-838. PMID: 30973517

Burden of Care Implications & Association of Intracranial Hypertension with Extremely Severe Post-traumatic Amnesia After TBI: A 5-Year Retrospective Longitudinal Study.
Quach NT, et al
Front Neurol. 2019 Jan 29;10:34. PMID: 30761071

Venous Thromboembolism is Associated with Lack of Vitamin D Supplementation in Patients with SCI & Low Vitamin D Levels.
Ehsanian R, et al
PM R. 2019 Feb;11(2):125-134. PMID: 30300766

Pulmonary outcomes following specialized respiratory management for acute cervical SCI: a retrospective analysis.
Zakrasek EC, et al, McKenna SL
Spinal Cord, 2017; Feb 21. PMID: 28220822

Dose Response Effect of Exposure to Hypotension on Expected Neurological Recovery in Individuals with Traumatic SCI.
Reza, E., et al, McKenna, S.
2016: DOI:

Combined SCI & TBI: recovery of forelimb function after unilateral cervical SCI is retarded by contralateral traumatic brain injury (TBI), & ipsilateral TBI balances the effects of SCI on paw placement.
Inoue T, et al.
2013 Oct 248: 136-47. PMID: 23770071

Functional electrical stimulation in SCI respiratory care.
R Jarosz, et al, S McKenna
2012:Vol. 18, No. 4, 315-321. PMID: 23459661

Impact of mean arterial blood pressure during the first seven days post SCI.
J Cohn, et al
2010: DOI:

Successful Pregnancy & Delivery in a C1 ASIA A spinal cord injured Woman: The Role of Coordinated Care Between PM&R & Obstetrics Services: A Case Report.
Lin C, et al
2010: DOI:

The impact of project closure on HIV incidence and mortality in a cohort of couples in Lusaka, Zambia.
Stephenson R, et al
2008 Jul;20(6):683-91. PMID: 18576170

Rapid HIV testing & counseling for voluntary testing centers in Africa.
McKenna SL et al
1997 Sep;11 Suppl 1:S103-10. PMID: 9376093