July 13, 2011
Christian Basi, BasiC@missouri.edu, 573-882-4430
COLUMBIA, Mo. – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.7 million people suffer traumatic brain injuries each year. Stephanie Reid-Arndt, chair and assistant professor of health psychology in the University of Missouri School of Health Professions, has launched The Brain Injury Guide and Resources at http:// braininjuryeducation.com/ to provide a resource for people to understand traumatic brain injuries.
“Brain injuries aren’t visible like other injuries, and often, people with brain injuries can be misunderstood,” Reid-Arndt said. “Direct results of a traumatic brain injury (TBI) include cognitive difficulties, changes in behavior or difficulty managing anger that are direct results of the brain injuries. Unfortunately, these symptoms are often misconstrued as willfully uncooperative behavior.”
Developed through a collaboration with the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, the website is designed specifically for people who, in their professional lives, may come in contact with people who have suffered brain trauma (e.g. police officers, social workers, military professionals). These professionals may not have expertise handling situations that may occur when they encounter someone who has experienced a brain injury. Ultimately, Reid-Arndt believes family members of people with head injuries may be the biggest users of the site.
“The idea isn’t to make people experts, but to give them a solid starting point to improve the way they interact with people with brain injuries,” Reid-Arndt said.
Topics in the guide include understanding brain injuries, concussions and what behaviors to expect. The website also features videos of MU health professionals working with people with brain injuries. These brain injury experts discuss head-injury related topics such as brain functioning and behavior as well as brain injury in veterans and children.
Those who use the website can increase their knowledge of TBI, a condition that affects thousands of people of all ages across the state of Missouri each year, Reid-Arndt said. At the end of each section, quizzes are available for users to test their new knowledge and receive printable certificates to acknowledge completion of the course. Funding for this project is provided, in part, by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau.
“The Department of Health and Senior Services recognizes the significant life-changing events and consequential public health impact that occurs as the result of a TBI,” said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We are pleased to have collaborated with the university to provide an online training for professionals and caregivers. Through an accessible and comprehensive training, it is our hope to improve the lives of those affected by TBI.”