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UH Manoa College of Education Center on Disability Studies named State Lead Center for Brain Injury Plan

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jennifer Parks, (808) 956-0416
College of Education
Posted: Jun 5, 2009

The College of Education Center on Disability Studies (CDS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been selected the State Lead Center of Excellence for Hawaiʻi. CDS will implement the National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury Plan (PABI Plan) developed by the National Advisory Board of The Sarah Jane Brain Foundation.

The 52 State Lead Centers national announcement was made today in Washington, D.C., on Capitol Hill.

CDS will serve as Hawaiʻi‘s regional coordinating center. Its initial work, as outlined by CDS Associate Director Jean Johnson, will concentrate on two areas— prevention and assessment/treatment of mild traumatic brain injury.

According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the World Health Organization, brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability for children and young adults in the U.S. The implementation of the PABI Plan marks the first time in medical history that this health issue has been addressed on a national scale, with the largest level of health-care collaboration involving high-level institutions.

"It is the only nationwide network dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation of a single disability," added Johnson.

The Sarah Jane Brain Project, started in October 2007 by Patrick Donohue, was named after Donohue‘s daughter. The 5-day-old infant was shaken by her baby nurse, resulting in three broken ribs and both collarbones, and severe brain injury. Sarah Jane, who turned 4 on June 5, still cannot walk, talk, crawl, or even sit up on her own.

PABIs include all traumatic causes plus brain injuries due to brain tumors, strokes, meningitis, insufficient oxygen, poisoning, ischemia, and substance abuse. Since most brains are not fully developed until age 25, many military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries are actually considered to have pediatric traumatic brain injuries.

Regardless of the many possible causes of brain injuries, the National PABI Plan will provide families access to a central resource for research, rehabilitation, and development. The mission of the Sara Jane Brain Project is to "develop a seamless, standardized, evidence-based system of care universally accessible for all children/young adults and their families regardless of where they live in the nation" (from the National PABI Plan).