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  Children's National to lead national Mild Traumatic Brain Injury effort
August 20, 2009

Sarah Jane Brain Foundation Names Gerard Gioia, PhD, as National Leader

For immediate release: June 11, 2009

 Gerard Gioia, PhD, Division Chief, Neuropsychology
  Gerard Gioia, PhD, Division Chief, Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology
WASHINGTON, DC – Children’s National Medical Center was named the national lead center on mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) by the Sarah Jane Brain Project (SJBP), a national organization focused on the prevention and treatment of acquired brain injury in children. Gerard Gioia, PhD, pediatric concussion expert and division chief of Neuropsychology at Children’s National, will lead the nationwide effort to raise awareness and improve treatment of mild TBI, commonly called concussion, as part of a larger national initiative that addresses many aspects of acquired brain injury, the leading cause of death and disability among children, adolescents, and young adults.

“Consequences of childhood brain injury can be severe and life lasting,” said Dr. Gioia. “Children’s National is honored to be selected by the Sarah Jane Brain Project and to be recognized as a comprehensive resource for families with children suffering from brain injuries.”

Concussions make up between 80 and 90 percent of all brain injuries in the United States. The number of emergency department visits for mild TBI is more than 1,000,000 each year. These injuries can be caused by motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls, being struck by an object, and violence or assault.

As the national lead center for concussion, Children’s National will spearhead the effort to implement a plan that will:

  • Establish a mild TBI-specific curriculum based training program for clinical staff
  • Emphasize proper diagnosis at the earliest point of identification
  • Focus on individualized treatment, thereby improving recovery and reducing adverse outcomes
  • Create a nationwide plan to implement the 2008 International Concussion in Sport Group recommendations for sport-related TBI in youth
  • Employ concussion toolkits to educate everyone involved in the care of a child
  • Improve communication between emergency departments, primary care physicians, schools, and sports programs to ensure that all can properly identify and diagnose concussions
  • Use research to better understand the effects of injury on the developing brain  

The SJBP was founded in 2007 by Patrick Donahue, whose 5-year-old daughter suffered from a traumatic brain injury. In January of 2009 the SJBP began developing a national pediatric acquired brain injury plan for children and young adults with brain injuries. The plan consists of guidelines that will standardize the assessment and follow-up treatment of TBI. The foundation has selected 52 centers across the nation—one in each state plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico—to allow children to receive comprehensive and integrated care regardless of where they live.

Contact Paula Darte or Jennifer Leischer, 202-476-4500. 


About Children’s National Medical Center
Children's National Medical Center, located in Washington, DC, is a proven leader in the development of innovative new treatments for childhood illness and injury. Children’s has been serving the nation's children for more than 135 years. Children’s National is proudly ranked among the best pediatric hospitals in America by US News & World Report and the Leapfrog Group. For more information, visit Children’s Research Institute, the academic arm of Children’s National Medical Center, encompasses the translational, clinical, and community research efforts of the institution. Learn more about our research programs at

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