• Trauma Spectrum Conference: Day One Highlights

    In his session “Psychological Health Effects of Deployment” on the first day of the Trauma Spectrum Conference, Dr. Stephen Cozza, professor at the Uniformed Services University, showed a picture drawn by a five-year-old boy whose father had lost both lower extremities while serving in combat. The son’s drawing “of a person” reflected the challenges a young child faces when a parent is seriously injured. The boy started his drawing at the feet and drew progressive sections upward as he approached the head, at times leaving limbs disconnected. The boy struggled with connecting all the parts of the body, revealing his anxiety with his father’s injury and a desire to master the process of healing, as well as a sense of body integrity.

    Dr. Cozza’s lecture at the conference was part of an all-encompassing, fundamental meeting to unveil and further research on polytrauma, recovery and reintegration of service members, veterans and their families. Day one of the conference covered a variety of topics surrounding polytrauma, including management of patients in theater and during transport, the impact of deployment on health care providers, comorbidities in spinal cord rehabilitation, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and burn rehabilitation.

  • Why Do it Alone? Get Support While You Transition
    U.S. Army photo

    DCoE provides inTransition, a voluntary program to assist service members moving between health care systems or providers while receiving behavioral health care. The purpose of the program is to provide continuity of care for service members who are transitioning – separating from the military, relocating or returning to civilian life. With the assistance of a transition support coach, the service member is provided with guidance, resources and tools in order to empower them to make healthy life choices during their transition.

    We’ve provided you with an example of the assistance provided to a service member through the inTransition program below. All identifying information has been removed to keep confidentiality of the service member.

    We began working with an Army service member diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) after he served multiple tours before being discharged. After weeks of corresponding with his inTransition coach, the service member informed his coach of his intention to quit treatment and discontinue prescribed medication, without consulting with his physician. Immediately, the coach advised him against this because of the possible risks.

  • DCoE Monthly Webinar Series: View New Schedule for 2011
    U.S. Army Spc. Alicia Greer, center, of 838th Military Police Company holds her sister, Madison Greer, left, and her nephew, Isaac Greer, during a welcome home ceremony in Marysville, OH, Aug. 13, 2010. Greer deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Sean Mathis)

    The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) recently completed the first year of its DCoE Monthly Webinar Series. The series is an ongoing, informational series, in which both government and non-governmental organizations present resources and best practices associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health care. The webinar provides an interactive environment where participants can ask questions of subject matter experts and comment on the issues presented.

    This year’s series addressed different topics, including, but not limited to, family support techniques, combating stigma, suicide prevention and reintegration programs. Speakers included representatives from the DoD Yellow Ribbon Program, Sesame Workshop, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and others. For a full synopsis on each of the 2010 webinars, click here.

  • DCoE, Brain Injury Professional Magazine Team Up for Special Issue
    PDF: Brain Injury Professional

    In collaboration with the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS), I am pleased to announce that DCoE served as guest editor and contributor to the NABIS October 2010 issue of Brain Injury Professional magazine, now available for download here.

    This special military-related issue showcases DCoE’s work and accomplishments in the field of brain injury to health care providers and researchers from around the country. DCoE subject matter experts contributed five articles on topics related to prevention, research and treatment of brain injuries. The articles addressed resilience related to traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the military; polytrauma rehabilitation and reintegration; the TBI Family Caregiver Curriculum; virtual reality assessment of cognitive functions and recurrent concussions in the military and sports.

    I am proud of this issue and would like to thank those who were a part of this project. Brain Injury Professional magazine is the official publication of the North American Brain Injury Society with readership of nearly 6,000 military and civilian health care professionals working in the brain injury field. To become a member of the society, please visit

  • Web-Based mild TBI Case Study Now Available to Civilian Health Care Professionals

    Recently, DCoE released the first web-based case study “Diagnosing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury” in a 12-case series to Department of Defense (DoD) health care personnel through the Military Health System (MHS) Learning Portal–MHS Learn. We are very excited to announce that the first case study is now available to civilian providers through the MHS Civilian Provider Education web page!

    The web-based case studies, brought to you by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, feature actual mild TBI cases. As a clinical practice guideline implementation tool, these case studies help health care professionals put into practice the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for the Management of Concussion/Mild TBI (2009), the Updated DoD Mild TBI Clinical Guidance (2008), ICD9 coding guidance for TBI and the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation. These documents and additional TBI information and resources can be found on the DCoE website.

  • National Resource Directory: A Valuable Link for Military Community
    U.S. Army photo

    This post is courtesy of the Disability Blog.

    Since Sept. 11, 2001, more than 2 million members of the U.S. Armed Forces have deployed across the globe. Overseas or stateside, these service members do not bear burdens alone; their loved ones share the challenges of reintegration to civilian life as well.

    As the need for transition resources grow, government agencies and grassroots organizations are expanding to support wounded warriors, service members, veterans and their families. These efforts by government agencies and non-profit organizations to support our wounded warriors, veterans and their families have created what the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen calls the “Sea of Goodwill.” The next step in assisting those who have served and sacrificed is to create a connection to those people, agencies and organizations available to help service members and veterans transition. The National Resource Directory provides that link.