Secretary Bob McDonald at the TBI conf

Secretary Bob McDonald at the VA TBI Summit

VA Secretary Bob McDonald opened and closed the VA Traumatic Brain Injury State-of-the-Art Research Summit in Washington , D.C., Aug. 24-25. The summit featured two days of speakers and discussions among 200 of the top researchers and caregivers involved in the treatment and care of TBI.

VA’s Office of Research and Development sponsored the conference to advance the knowledge base for TBI, often referred to as the signature injury of modern warfare.

The primary goal of the two-day summit was to identify what is known and determine was needs to be known about TBI, from the basic science to diagnosis, evidence-based treatment, acute management and long-term rehabilitation for Veterans with TBI.

DoD TBI expert Dr. Geoff Ling, a retired Army colonel, gave a rousing opening speech that encouraged the rest of the medical universe to join VA and DOD in the efforts.

“VA and the DoD, together a partners, taking care of the finest young Americans that we have, really have to take leadership, have to take ownership, because somebody has to lead the way. Let it be us,” Ling told the crowd.

Pam Payeur of Maine's Wounded Warrior Program

Pam Payeur of Maine’s Wounded Warrior Program

To create the best possible chance of interaction, collaboration and meaningful interventions necessary to improve Veterans’ health care, VA assembled a prestigious committee that shaped the structure and scientific research content of the meeting, with an end goal of increasing understanding of underlying mechanisms of the long-term consequences of TBI and treatment.

Conference attendees consisted of leaders in TBI research and care across federal agencies, academia and other stakeholders. One of the speakers was Pam Payeur, founder and executive director of the Wounded Heroes Program of Maine.  She said the networking and knowledge base provided by the SOTA Summit will greatly improve the already successful work her team does on behalf of wounded Veterans.

“What truly makes the difference is the passion,” Payeur said.  “If you have your mission clear … and you never forget who you’re doing what you’re doing for and why you’re doing it, then you will be around to serve them because you’re doing everything for the right reason.”

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Published on Sep. 10, 2015

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  1. Aaron Williams September 17, 2015 at 10:44 pm

    I filed an appeal hearing with the bva for a video conference hearing and its been about 7 months and i have not been scheduled for a video hearing yet. Does anyone know how long it will be before i get my hearing??

  2. Michael Ciamarra September 17, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    Great post! Appreciate the VA’s innovative research, diagnostics, and evidence-based treatments of TBI. As a volunteer, I have utilized cognitive rehabilitation interventions at the Birmingham, AL VAMC and previously at the Tuscaloosa, AL VAMC using the great mind sport of chess. There is so much to be done in this field of treatment. Further studies and practicing of classic mind sports such as chess in regards to TBI needs to be reviewed and tested. Some further information on chess employed as rehab:

    Michael Ciamarra – Alabama

  3. VA VERITAS September 14, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Why cant i get a new Level II screening?

    If i get documentation from a doctor that says i have TBI, but hes not a member of the 4 types of specialists the VA recognizes as qualified to DX the issues, then i wont have a case for C&P. Yet if i was screened by a non medical professional for LEVEL II screening, that is enough to say i cant even get another shot at it, and have to pay out of pocket to actually get a diagnosis outside the VA system.

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