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National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships

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Center for Compassionate Care Innovation

It’s Brain Injury Awareness Month—Learn how VA has the expertise to help Veterans with TBI

Brain Injury Awareness month, observed each March, helps people understand how to prevent traumatic brain injury (TBI) and how to improve the well-being of people living with TBI. There are efforts related to TBI happening throughout the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) all year round. The VHA National Center for Healthcare Advancement and Partnerships (HAP)  explores emerging, safe, ethical therapies for TBI and other conditions.

Christine Eickhoff, health systems specialist for HAP, explained that TBI is a unique condition that offers many opportunities for innovative treatments. There is no one course of rehabilitation that is optimal for everyone with TBI, and treatment could involve many different strategies used in combination.

“We’re still understanding the brain. It’s a complex organ. Brain injuries can result in long-lasting complex co-occurring symptoms,” Ms. Eickhoff said. “An acute brain injury can evolve into really complex health issues that require a lot of different strategies to support symptom relief and rehabilitation.”

One of the innovations for TBI that HAP supports is the light-emitting diode treatment collaboration at the VA Boston Healthcare System. Some Veterans have said how beneficial LED has been, and Ms. Eickhoff said that she’s optimistic about LED’s future.

“The evidence base for LED is growing, and that will help facilitate access and opportunities for more Veterans to engage in this treatment,” she said.

Nongovernmental partnerships, like those supported by HAP, help Veterans with TBI too. Such Veterans, Ms. Eickhoff explained, benefit from support of the social determinants of health (SDOH)—the conditions in the environments where they live, learn, work, and age. Many HAP partnerships offer support of positive SDOH like education, employment, or social engagement.

Within the partnership between VHA and Salesforce, Inc., for example, new modules are being built on Salesforce’s Trailhead platform to add to the Salesforce Military skill development and certification training program that educates Veterans and their support networks about VA benefits and suicide prevention strategies.

“We’re putting that information in a simple, engaging format that can be helpful for people with TBI if they have trouble focusing. Veterans with mood or concentration problems could potentially benefit from self-paced digital learning programs, which Salesforce provides in addition to new career opportunities,” Ms. Eickhoff said.

VHA partnerships with Y-USA and Americans for the Arts also offer Veterans opportunities to be engaged in their community, which can be helpful following a TBI incident as well.

“We really have the expertise to help Veterans with TBI specifically,” Ms. Eickhoff said of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a whole. “Not only does VA understand the population really well, but also we’re an easier point of access to care for Veterans with TBI. The LED program is a great example of how VA is designing innovative solutions for all Veterans, including those in rural areas. We want to make it easier for Veterans everywhere who are diagnosed with TBI to get access to effective and revolutionary treatment.”

To learn more about submitting a healthcare advancement proposal, visit:

To learn more about HAP’s partnership work or discuss a partnership of your own, visit: 

External Link Disclaimer: This page contains links that will take you outside of the Department of Veterans Affairs website. VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked websites.

Posted March 15, 2021