Mind Your Brain
By Candace Gantt
In this podcast, we will hear from clinical experts, research authorities, and TBI survivors on a variety of topics in order to provide tips and resources that can help to promote a healthy and fulfilling life post injury.
For more information about Mind Your Brain, visit mindyourbrainfoundation.org or check us out on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter: @mybfoundation
Mind Your BrainMay 06, 2022
Season 2 Episode 25 - Part 2 Mary Margaret Scharf
Part 1 introduces Mary Margaret Scharf, a retired attorney, a mother of 2 beautiful girls and a survivor of the most brutal type of brain injury… delivered by the hands of her then husband. This merciless attack reveals the intersection of domestic violence and traumatic brain injury.
In Part 2 of my interview with Mary Margaret we talk about her recovery; physcially, cognitively and emotionally. This amazing woman is brave, self confident, intelligent and positive beyond measure. Mary Margaret's two daughters stand proud next to her creating a strong family bond.
Season 2 Episode 24 - Part 1 with Mary Margaret Scharf
You have heard many amazing recovery stores over the past 2 years on this podcast and am honored to bring you another example of powerful determination and in this story..survival instincts . Together, Mary Margaret Scharf and I, are going to bring awareness to the intersection of brain injury and domestic violence.
Mary Margaret Scharf a retired attorney, a mother of 2 beautiful girls and a survivor of the most brutal type of brain injury… delivered by the hands of her then husband. Her marriage was in the news twice, first in the New York Times marriage announcement section on Mary 4, 1997 and then on the ABC news on February 5, 2015. The title of the ABC news report was EX-Wife Recalls Flashlight Attack That Nearly Killed Her.
In Part 1 we talk about her traumatic brain injury followed by Part 2 : How this amazing role model for mothers, professionals and survivors is doing now.
Season 2 Episode 23 - Maureen O'Neil Brown
Meet Maureen O'Neil Brown, Cognitive Consultant! Maureen is a registered, licensed Occupational Therapist with over 20 years of experience working with individuals and their families to return to meaningful activity following cognitive injury or illness. Maureen works collaboratively with clients and their team to problem solve, educate, and create individualized plans based upon the specific goals of individuals and their families.
I asked Maureen what the role of a Cognitive Consultant is and the difference between the responsibilies of a Consultant and that of a Social Worker. We went on to talk about working with persons with a brain injury develop a "Personal Resource Page". She is a wealth of knowledge and offers tools and tips that are valuable to everyday life. Join us!
Season 2 Episode 22 - Blake and Davison Chapman, a yound life changed by a traumatic brain injury
Davison was born with a heart defect, then his Dad had leukemia and heart failure and survivred both, then Davison and his Mom were hit by a truck 3 years ago that resulted in Davison's TBI. This is a lot to handle for a young life. But survive he did, and is a fantastic young man with many dreams to fulfill.
It was an absolute pleaure to talk with Davison and his Mom, Blake. Davison had his Mom fill in the blanks when I asked him about the horrific accident that was caused by a truck, full force, in a school crosswalk. They talk about Davison's occupational, physical, cognative and emotional therapies. And most importantly, I asked him about his return to high school and his dreams to be a teacher like his Mom and his application to Longwood College. I know you will agree, he is one fine gentleman.
Season 2 Episode 21 - Social Security Disability Revealed
This is a must listen to podcast for brain injury survivors that struggles with getting benefits from the Social Security Administration!
Spencer Bishins has a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and a law degree from Florida State University. After law school, he worked in the private sector for two years prior to joining the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 2010. He worked at the Appeals Council for almost four years, reviewing thousands of disability decisions for compliance with SSA’s complex rules and procedures. He then worked at the hearing level for seven years, where he drafted almost 2,000 decisions for SSA Administrative Law Judges. After working for SSA for more than 10 years, he wanted to help demystify the complicated disability system. His first book, Social Security Disability Revealed: Why it’s so hard to access benefits and what you can do about it, explores the obstacles that disability claimants face as they try to access benefits.
After interviewing Spencer I bought 3 copies of his book for social workers at the Philadlephia VA Hospital, Good Shephard and Success Rehabilitation Centers. This book is a must read for anyone who applies for benefits.
Season 2 Episode 19 - Hear about the 2022 Brain Injury Assoication of Pennsylvania conference... from attendees
Candace joined the amazing Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania (BIAPA) conference on June 28th and interviewed 4 participants: a survivor, a caregiver, a presenter and exhibitor. Each were asked "Why should survivors and their families go to a brain injury conference". Everyone agreed... you will find a loving community, learn about services and hear powerful speakers that will help in your journey to recovery. Look for a Brain Injury Association or Mind Your Brain conference in your area and know you are not alone!
Season 2 Episode 20 - What is Craniosacral Therapy (CST)?
Listen to Maureen Miller talk about Craniosacral therapy (CST) and it's application for relieveing chronic pain. CST is a gentle hands-on technique that uses a light touch to examine membranes and movement of the fluids in and around the central nervous system. Relieving tension in the central nervous system promotes a feeling of well-being by eliminating pain and boosting health and immunity. Learn what studies show about the central nervious system and recovery.
Season 2 Episode 18 - Speech Language Pathologist vs Speech Therapist
What is the difference between a Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) and a Speech Therapist? You should know when selecting a rehabilitation specialist. Katya Bowen, M.S., CCC-SLP, CBIS is a speech language pathologist and certified brain injury specialist in Western Massachusetts. She has worked in the clinical setting for 20 years, treating patients with acquired and traumatic brain injury. Katya has worked in both the outpatient and acute care settings and tell us today what role a Pathologist and Therapist play in your recovery journey. I asked the same questions you do... "Isnt' speech just sounds, voice pitch and even swallowing? Who can help me get back to work and play?"
Berkshire Health Systems - Berkshire Medical Center Katya Bowen https://www.mbsimp.com/clinicians.cfm
Season 2 Episode 17 - Dr. Keith Robinson talks about goal driven coping skills and behavior activation after a TBI
Listen to Dr. Keith Robinson talk about the flawed outcome predictability scales when working with brain injury survivors. He goes on to share information about behavior activation, as it relates to depression, PTSD and and everyday life functioning.
Dr. Robinson a specialist in neurological rehabilitation. He is an Associate Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Chief of Rehabilitation at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia.
Season 2 Episode 16 - Did you lose your identity Stacia Bissell?
Stacia has a Masters in Education and is a brain injury coach, educator, public speaker and survivor. She specializes in helping others find personal and professional growth relating to brain injury. Passionate about education, Stacia spent much of her career as a secondary math teacher until taking on roles in administration and academic coaching. In 2011, she became a licensed middle and high school principal with aspirations of running her own school, however, a bicycle accident that same year left her with a traumatic brain injury and her career as a public school educator came to an end.
Stacia talks about how she lost her identity, friends, family and her job and then learned how to build a ladder to get out of that dark hole.
Season 2 Episode 15 - Dr. Claire McGrath describes the difference between a Neuropsychologist and Rehabilitation Psychologist
Dr Claire McGrath spells out the roles of a Neurophychologist, who performs testing and development of a recovery Road Map, and a Rehabilitation Phychologist who focuses on helping the brain injury survivor cope with the emotional, social and physical changes after a brain injury. I loved the idea that the Neurophychologist's evaluation gives survivors a benchmark so they can qualitatively see their improvement over time. The evaluation also gives their care team a comprehensive look at the areas that need attention creating focused rehabilitation plans.
The greatest message here is that Dr. McGrath (and her team at Bancroft) believes suvivors should be proud of their hard work, grit and determination, it inspires them. "Opportunites for growth comes from those low points".
Season 2 Episode 14 - Horticultural Therapy with Gwenn Fried
Horticultural Therapy is no garden variety help, these activites promote physical, cognitive, social and emotional recovery from a brain injury. One of the nations 1st horticultural therapy programs began at NYU's Langone Rusk Rehabilitation Center in the 1970s. LIsten to Gween talk about what you can do to use this "home grown" tool to improve your recovery in a peaceful atmosphere. Join your local arboretum and make some new friends she recommends.
Season 2 - Episode 13: Dr. Sydney Hinds talks about what he learned as a Neurology Consultant for 11 Concussion Care Centers in Afghanistan
After Sydney R. Hinds graduated from West Point he went on to dedicate 30 years of military medical service. He received his M.D. from the University of Connecticut Health Center and was re-commissioned as an Army Captain.
Dr. Sydney R. Hinds, COL (retired) completed his neurology internship and residency at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the National Naval Medical Center . He was a staff neurologist and then chief of neurology at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
While deployed to Afghanistan, Col. Hinds served as the theater neurology consultant and oversaw standardization of concussion care at 11 concussion care centers which included MRI utilization. Performing site visits allowed him to ensure that staff had appropriate training, education, and resources. He reviewed cases, shared best practices, promoted in-theater TBI research, worked with theater providers to identify and close gaps inpatient care, and provided valuable information which shaped DoD TBI policy.
Listen to Dr. Hinds as he describes how his experience treating brain injury survivors in combat applies to stateside recovery services.
Season 2 Episode 8- Retired Navy Seal Commander turned Mindful Meditation teacher
Jon Macaskill is a retired Navy SEAL Commander turned mindfulness and meditation teacher and co-host of the Men Talking Mindfulness podcast. He says mindfulness and meditation are life saving practices - as he feels they saved his - and now it’s his duty and obligation to share these practices with as many people as will listen. He was born in South Africa and moved with his parents and 4 siblings to the US when he was 7. He grew up in Ruston, Louisiana where he was an avid track and cross cournty runner. After graduating high school, he served briefly as an enlisted sailor in the Navy before receiving an appointment to the US Naval Academy. Jon has served in Iraq, Afgananistan, off the coast of Somalia, and in Panama.
Listen to Jon tell how Mindful Mediation, recommended by the Navy, led him out of despair and discouragement into a passion for helping people and organizations become the best versions of themselves through mindfulness.
Season 2 Episode 12 - Neuorplasticity and the Pyramid of Neuro-Rehabilitation
Listen to Dr. Emily Kalambaheti ( Doctor K) talk about "neuroplasicity" which she describes as a fancy way to say the brain learns. She is a "student of neuroscience" and tells us how there is no ceiling or plateau, you just need to pause in your recovery and find a teatment that is better suited for you. Learning never ends. Dr. K describes to us the importance of our Autonomic system and how it is foundational/ building blocks to a successful outcome. This interview is rich with information that will encourge you NOT to give up.
Season 2 Episode 11 - From Fighting for Breath to Fighting for Life
Jennifer Robinson received her Bachelor of Arts from Haverford College and her law degree from Villanova School of Law. She holds certifications in Event Planning, Non-Profit Management, Social Media Marketing, Diversity & Inclusion, Hospitality & Tourism and Conflict Resolution. She is also a certified virtual presenter. Jennifer lives outside Philadelphia, PA with her husband Walter and their two rescue dogs, Jake and Lilly. She is a Tedx Talks presenter
AND a Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor.
Jennifer tells us about her recovery struggles with complete honesty and transparency. She learned to recognize growth opportutnities and to distance herself from the negaitive voices all around her. The most powerful question Candace asked her was "How did you find joy again?".
TEDx Speaker: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=VdiO5eA-uX0
Season 2 Episolde 10 - Mattie Cummins LCSW, How to disarm the power of anxiety after a brain injury
Today's guest is Mattie Cummins. Mattie is the host of the weekly video show 'Calming the Chaos' where she breaks apart the myths and stigma surrounding mental illness and supports survivors with brain, body, and faith-based strategies to move forward and thrive. We talked about positive intentional self talk and visulaization. She is a powerful speaker and will leave you with coping strategies to disarm the power of your anxiety.
She has over 20 years of experience working with people with varying neurological issues and specializes in the grief/loss process, adjustments to life changes, and coping with anxiety.
Through brain education, assessing function, and helping people understand how their own personal “stuff” affects their relationships and their lives, she empowers people to find their new normal and make it their own!
To see a description of our entire library of podcasts visit: https://www.mindyourbrainfoundation.org/podcast/
and send us ideas about future topics you would like us to cover at info@MindYourBrainFoundation.org
Season 2 Episode 9 - Dr. Haresh Sampathkumar talks about sexuality after a brain injury
Dr. Haresh Sampathkumar is the co-founder of JH Rehabilitation, in Chennai, India. He completed his medical training at Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute and completed a one-year Internal Medicine Internship in 2014 at Unity Health System, Rochester, NY and three years of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation training in 2017 at New York Medical College/Metropolitan Hospital Center, New York. He then completed a one-year fellowship in Brain Injury Medicine in 2018 at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston/TIRR Memorial Hermann, Houston, Texas (ranked within the top 5 best rehabilitation hospital in the U.S.).
Dr. Sampathkumar tells us how and why our sexuality changes after a brain injury and how to bring up this topic up with your physician.
Season 2 Episode 7 - Brain Injury Awarenss Day in Harrisburg PA
Season 2 Episode 6 Scott Dilman - Transition from rehabilitation into healthy activities in everyday life
Learn more about Fitness Trainers at https://fitnesstrainersinc.com/
and The Fighting Back Scholarship program https://www.fightingbacksp.org/
Season 2 Episode 5 - Dizziness improved with habitual exercise with Sabrina Mele
Sabrina Mele, PT, DPT received her Doctorate of Physical Therapy from University of Sciences in Philadelphia in 2010 and received her promotion to Advanced Physical Therapist from Good Shepherd Penn Partners, the formal rehabilitation provider for Penn Medicine, where she currently works with both patients with vestibular and neurologic dysfunction. Sabrina became LSVT BIG certified in January 2013 and PWR! trained for people with Parkinson’s Disease in August 2017 and Balance Wear by Motion Therapeutics certified in March 2018. She also completed the APTA’s Competency Based Course at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Sabrina is a teaching assistant for both the University of the Sciences, Philadelphia, PA and Neumann University, Aston, PA where she teaches students in the laboratory component of the Neuromuscular tract.
Listen to the answers of these important questions :
How many brain injury survivors face dizziness post injury...and what do our listeners do about it? What exercises can our listeners do right here, right now to overcome dizziness? What is the messge you would give brain injury survivor if they are discouraged by their slow recovery?
Season 2 Episode 4 - COVID Brain Fog with Dr. Ben Abramoff
Join us today for my COVID Brain Fog discussion with Dr. Ben Abramoff who is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Director of the Post-COVID Assessment and Recovery Clinic at the Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Abramoff received his BS in Life Science Communication from Cornell University, his MS in Health and Rehabilitation- Specialization in Health Education from Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitative Services, and his Medical Degree from Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Feeling “spacy” or confused, feeling fatigued, thinking more slowly than usual, and needing more time to complete simple tasks...does this sound like a brain injury? Yes, and it is brain fog too. Dr. Abramoff shares with us this new Post -COVID medical concentration and what the Penn Clinic does to help these patients.
Season 2 Episode 3 - Donnie Hart: a survivor story Hungry 4 Hope
Donnie is a former professional wrestler and collegiate football player, who in 2014 after the tragic mysterious death of his brother saw his dream turn into a nightmare as his mental health deteriorated and he found himself in a dark place that led him to losing it all and being locked up facing life in prison. But against all odds, rock bottom became the concrete launching pad for him to take his life back. Listen to this heart wrenching story that brought Donnie to a place of hope for others that suffer from darkness and despair after a brain injury.
You can follow Donnie Hart on Facebook at “Hungry 4 Hope Podcast and Nonprofit”, Instagram: @hungry4hope_ and listen to us on Apple Podcast,iheart radio and Spotify under Hungry 4 Hope Podcast
Season 2 Episode 2 - The Phsychological effect of Trauma on Recovery
Listen to the wise words of Dr. Therese S. Richmond PhD, RN, FAAN, Andrea B. Laporte Professor of Nursing and Associate Dean for Research & Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania. She describes how her nursing career intersects with the brain injury community, which then leads us into a discussion about how the psychological effect of trauma impacts recovery. The highlight of the interview comes with sugestions on "what can brain injury survivors do themselves to improve (quality) their outcomes?"
Penn Injury Science Center www.penninjuryscience.org
Season 2 Episode 1 - Exploring Acupuncture treatment
Dr. Bavishi Assistant Professor - Clinical for Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and College of Medicine describes to us the possible role Acupuncture plays in recovery from a brain injury. It is a traditional Chinese practice primarily used to treat chronic pain but has proven efficacy in relieving anxiety, depression, and insomnia in tramatic brain injury survivors. Learn about the facts of this treatment; how long does it take, does it hurt, how often do you need to have this procedure done?
Episode 51 - One Tough Mudder
This podcast is one amazing story about Ian Panter's journey back from the edge of death and the community that rallied behind him.
Ian drove to Pennsylvania with his friend Clint to race in an 8 hour - overnight Tough Mudder from midnight-8am Saturday/Sunday. This was not his first rodeo as they say, it was one of around 20 events including a 24hr Tough Mudder in 2017 that he completed in. He ran the course Saturday morning and was on the way back to his AirBnb as a passenger in the car when they were T-boned, on his side, by a car going 86 mph in a 35 mile per hour zone.
Here is what his freind Dan posted on June 5, 2017 2 weeks from the accident: Update on Ian Panter:
Long road ahead but practice makes progress.
Since my last update, Ian has said a few clear words when responding "yes, no, alright, hospital". He is eating mushy meals so hopefully he can get that pesky feeding tube thing out of his nose (he HATES that). PT held him up yesterday and he did put some weight on his legs. We will know more today but if he continues to progress, we are looking at transporting home in about 1-3 days. Unfortunately he will not be able to have visitors for a while but we are reading him your messages and cards.
Episode 50 - A Furry Form of Therapy
Nicole Rudderow is a clinical psychotherapist at Blossom Counseling and Wellness LLC, a private practice that offers a variety of counseling services to clients of all ages. Nicole is also an active member of Comfort Caring Canine "CCC", a non-profit and completely volunteer run therapy dog organization based in southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware area. With her expertise in mental health, Nicole offers a unique perspective when volunteering with her therapy dog Paisley as well as using Animal Assisted Therapies (AAT) in her practice.
For a little puppy love go to the Comfort Caring Canine website and see the sweet dogs that bring joy to many in our community. If you belong to a Support Group I would suggest you make a reservation for a dog to come see you! https://www.comfortcaringcanines.org
Episode 49: Symptom Management and Pacing
Today our guest is Matthew Bernardo. Matt has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with various neurological conditions, with a specialty in visual, vestibular, and perceptual rehabilitation. He has presented to various healthcare professionals and students on the topic of vision rehab, TBI, and how concussion and TBI can impact a person’s ability to engage in daily activities. Matthew graduated from Thomas Jefferson University with a master’s degree in occupational therapy and is currently working on his doctorate from the same institution. He has 11 years of experience in physical rehabilitation and has worked across the spectrum of care, including acute care, inpatient, home heath, and outpatient rehabilitation. Matt is currently working at the Drucker Brain Injury Center at Moss Rehab in an outpatient center.
You will hear about fuctional vision rehabilitation and vision disturbances from Matt and how to pace yourself to achieve the greatest benefit from the time you spend with a therapist.
Episode 48: Supporting Students with Brain Injuries with Dr. David Thomas
Today we are talking with Dr. David J. Thomas. Dr. Thomas has been at West Chester University since the beginning of 2020 and has been in the field of disability advocacy and support for more than a decade. Before coming to West Chester and alongside his disability work, he was a member of the English faculties at Temple University, University of the Arts, Virginia Wesleyan University, Old Dominion University and City University of Seattle.
He holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education, an M.A. in Applied Linguistics, and a B.A. in Dramaturgy from Old Dominion University in his hometown of Norfolk, VA. He completed additional graduate work at the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute at Stanford University and the Institute on Disability at Temple University.
Today Dr. Thomas tells us about the services his office provides to college students: he works with students and their instructors directly to provide an optimal environment to further their education despite any limitations they may have. His dedication to the disabled student is truly admirable!
Episode 47: The Long Journey to Recovery After a Misdiagnosis (Part 2 of Ep 34) with Patrick Berton
In episode 34, we talked to Pattiann Berton from Impacted Inc. about the brain injury her son sustained while playing football. Today her son, Patrick, will tell us about his story of tragedy, survival, and resilience. Where is Patrick today and how has he found light in the darkest of his days? Find out in episode 47 of our podcast series.
Episode 46: The Story of a College Athlete Both On and Off the Ice - Madison Beauregard
In today's episode, we speak to Madison Beauregard, a college student who suffered from multiple concussions in 2018 when she was playing collegiate ice hockey. Listen as she shares her story, and the changes and adjustments she had to make during such a young age. She will also tell us about the significant progress in her recovery including the internship she is currently doing with the Mind Your Brain Foundation.
Episode 45: Eye Tracking with Patti Andrich
Today we will hear from Patti Andrich from the Board of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA). She will discuss optimal visual rehabilitation services that can improve the quality of life of patients affected by physical or cognitive disabilities after brain injury.
For more information about NORA, visit: www.noravisionrehab.org
Patti is an internationally honored occupational, vision therapist, researcher, and author. She is known worldwide for her success in treating children and adults with sensory and motor processing disorders. Patti received her master’s degree from The Ohio State University College of Education and her occupational therapy degree from the Cleveland State University Department of Health Sciences. Additionally, Patti holds certifications in vision therapy, auditory processing, primitive reflex integration, and neurofeedback. Patti received her certification in vision therapy through the College of Optometrists in Vision Development. Patti serves on several advisory boards relating to vision in the United States and in Asia. She is also a member of The Optometric Extension Program, and an Advisory Member to the Board of the Neuro-Optometric Rehabilitation Association (NORA), an interdisciplinary group of professionals dedicated to providing patients who have physical or cognitive disabilities as a result of an acquired brain injury with optimal visual rehabilitation services to improve their quality of life. Patti Andrich is the founder of the Reflex Foundations Program, a neuro-sensory motor program that helps adults and children integrate active primitive reflexes and gain postural stability. Patti specializes in improving the lives of individuals with attention, behavioral, coordination, visual, auditory, anxiety, vestibular and/or emotional regulation challenges. Patti was named, Vision Therapist of the Year 2020, by the international organization, College of Optometrists in Vision Development.
Episode 44: Virtual Reality Recovery Options with Matthew Barrett
Learn about the Virtual Reality (VR) Program being implemented at Success Rehabilitation in Quakertown, Pennsylvania, from Cognitive Technology Specialist, Matthew Barrett. The goal of this VR program is to combine cognitive therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy skills to provide clientele with a full-body experience within a safe environment.
In this interview, Matthew will tell us about how this new technology works, what kind of therapies can be offered, and what the future holds.
Matthew Barrett is a CBIS and Technology Specialist at Success Rehabilitation Inc (SRI). He has worked at SRI for over ten years working as a Cognitive Technology Therapist and recently began exploring the implications of Virtual Reality (VR) within Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Rehabilitation.
Episode 43: Customized Outcome Therapy and Prosthetics with Dr. Sally Foster-Chang
The Institute for Cognitive Prosthetics (ICP) offers a telehealth modality of cognitive rehabilitation that creates an active relationship between the patient, the therapist and technology. In episode 43, we hear from Dr. Sally Foster-Chang, Chief Medical Officer for ICP, to learn about how this computer technology rehabilitation works and how it is customized to support patient outcomes.
For more information about ICP, visit: https://brain-rehab.com/
Dr. Foster-Chang has over 35 years of experience in occupational health (OH) and primary care. A clinical nurse practitioner, she worked nationally with the VA as an administrator of the OH electronic medical record, developed a comprehensive national clinical OH orientation program and served as a virtual consultant with the National Occupational and Environmental Medicine consult group. She has published articles and book chapters on various topics. She holds a BA in Human Biology (Stanford University), BSN (UCSF), a masters in Primary Care (University of Pennsylvania) and a Doctorate in Nursing Practice (Thomas Jefferson University). She is a certified adult nurse practitioner, a COHN-S, a CME and holds a post master’s certificate in teaching from the University of Pennsylvania. For the past year, she has functioned as the Chief Medical Officer for The Institute for Cognitive Prosthetics, an organization dedicated to the use of telehealth in brain injury rehabilitation.
Episode 42: From Tragedy to Triumph with Trisha Meili
In 1989, Trisha Meili was viciously attacked, leaving her with extensive injuries, 80 percent blood loss and a severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). Doctors didn’t think she would survive, but Trisha did more than survive – she thrived. In this episode, we will hear Trisha’s heart wrenching story and the three factors that kept her motivated through her long recovery: support, hope, and inspiration.
During this interview, Trisha Meili speaks about her involvement with the Achilles International Organization: a running, walking and wheeling program for people with all types of disabilities. To learn more about Achilles International, visit: www.achillesinternational.org
Episode 41: The Silver Lining of COVID-19: Telemedicine with Nicholas Hope
Today we will hear from Nicholas Hope, who is currently doing a research fellowship with the Mind Your Brain Foundation. In this interview, he will share the research he is conducting on ways of providing resources to patients and caregivers following brain injury and how it will improve recovery.
Nicholas Hope is a 4th year doctoral student at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic medicine studying clinical psychology with a specific focus in neuropsychology. He has worked in a wide range of settings including academic medical centers, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient brain injury programs, and private institutions. He is passionate about diagnosing and assisting patients who have sustained brain injuries to be their most successful selves. His research with the Mind Your Brain Foundation has looked at ways of providing resources to patients and caregivers following injury, with a specific focus on various levels of care and needs and hopes to build off of these resources in the future.
Episode 40: Soothe Your Soul: The Benefits of Meditation with Meaghan Wright
Have you tried meditation as a tool for improving cognition? In episode 40 of our series, we talk to Meaghan Wright from NeuroRestorative about the benefits of meditation and mindfulness after a brain injury. We will learn about how it can improve cognition and what research says about it changing our overall brain structure.
In addition to providing us with a 5 minute guided meditation, Meaghan will wrap up with recommendations on resources and applications we can use.
Meaghan Wright has been working in the field of neurological impairment for over thirty years, serving in a variety of roles as a cognitive rehabilitation therapist (CRT), clinical case manager, and administrator. She has worked with interdisciplinary teams in community-based services serving individuals in their home, work, and school settings, as well as in medical and neurobehavioral group home settings. She is certified as a Brain Injury Specialist Trainer by the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists and has been affiliated with the Society of Cognitive Rehabilitation. She has presented nationally and statewide on such topics as: Overcoming Cognitive Dysfunction for Vocational Success; Removing Barriers to Successful Community Integration; Intimacy and Relationships after BI; and Exploring Meditation and Mindfulness-Techniques and Resources for Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy. Meaghan also has served on the Montgomery County, PA Brain Steps team since 2011. Brain Steps has been recognized by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as a national model for educational consultation in acquired brain injury services, supporting students and school teams in the development and implementation of services. Meaghan’s special area of interest is in helping individuals learn ways to deal with stress, and to develop greater awareness of their capabilities.
Episode 39: Finding Your Identity After TBI with Colleen Baratka
Today we will hear from Colleen Baratka, who was in clinical practice for over 30 years before she suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2015. After her recovery, Colleen began co-leading a TBI support group and now works part time for a private practice where she works with her clients on psychodrama as a form of therapy.
In this episode, we will hear about Colleen's story, learn about psychodrama, and the adaptations she has made post injury and post pandemic.
For more information about the TBI support group, email: email@example.com
Colleen Baratka, MA TEP is a Fellow of the American Society of Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama and winner of the Hannah Weiner Award for a lifetime of service. Beginning her career as a Special Education teacher which led her use of creative arts to teach special needs and disenfranchised children, Colleen graduated from NYU’s Drama Therapy program and has been in clinical practice for over 30 years. Beginning her clinical work in addiction and family prevention, Colleen had the opportunity to create Psychodrama and Trauma programming at two psychiatric hospitals . She has served as the psychodrama trainer for the Caron Foundation’s Family Education Program and would later integrate this work into her Renfrew experience running multiple family groups of up to about 100 people. Colleen is published on the topics of trauma and eating disorders and had been guest lecturing at many local universities, organizations and treatment centers. In August 2015 while walking out of PT for a concussion, Colleen was struck by a car and suffered another more severe TBI. It was then that she began co-leading a TBI group with her colleague Deborah Karner in late 2017. Most recently Colleen has begun a study into traumatic brain injuries and trauma, and the role spontaneity plays in recovery. She is also now working towards becoming a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.
Episode 38: A Personal Perspective from a TBI Blogger - Michelle Munt
In December of 2014, Michelle Munt was involved in a car accident while driving to work which caused a diffuse axonal brain injury that was not properly diagnosed for over a year. The traumatic brain injury (TBI) left Michelle with speech difficulties, emotional regulation problems, and memory loss, all of which she faced while her mother passed away and father was diagnosed with Alzheimers. During this time, she was also her father's legal guardian.
In this emotional and honest discussion, Michelle will tell us about her perspective as both a TBI survivor and caregiver for her father.
Michelle will also tell us about her work today as a freelance blogger in Britain and the support and advocacy she provides to the TBI community.
To learn more about Michelle Munt, visit her on Instagram: @michelle_munt and read her blogs: www.jumbledbrain.com
Episode 37: Long Term Disability Insurance with Ethan F. Abramowitz
Today we will hear from Ethan F. Abramowitz, a nationally recognized disability insurance attorney and a partner at Seltzer & Associates. During this episode, he will give us an overview of the disability insurance claims process, and the difference between private policies and ones that are provided by an employer as part of the benefits package. Mr. Abramowitz will also tell us how to find someone to help us through this process.
For more information about disability insurance and to find out how to contact Ethan Abramowitz from Seltzer & Associates, visit: https://www.seltzerlegal.com/attorneys/ethan-abramowitz/
Ethan F. Abramowitz is an Associate with Seltzer & Associates. Mr. Abramowitz concentrates his practice on the representation of impaired professionals, with a focus on disability insurance contracts, long-term disability plans, ERISA, employee benefits, and insurance bad faith.
Prior to joining Seltzer & Associates, Mr. Abramowitz was an Associate with Kirwan, Spellacy, and Danner, P.A., a full-service defense litigation firm representing insurance companies throughout the State of Florida. Mr. Abramowitz has an extensive background in the insurance claims process, including pre-suit investigations, advising claim specialists, and counseling insurance companies’ in-house counsel. Mr. Abramowitz has litigated a wide variety of insurance, liability, and class action matters. Moreover, Mr. Abramowitz has an extensive background conducting insurance fraud investigations, including multiple projects with the Special Investigation Units of the nation’s largest insurance companies.
Episode 36: Taking Back Control of Your Brain Health with Dr. Randel Swanson
In this episode, Dr. Randel Swanson, Physiatrist from the University of Pennsylvania, will explain why traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivors are at an increased risk of developing age related cognitive decline and what can be done to approach risk mitigation to deal with this issue. In addition, Dr. Swanson will provide evidence based research to find out more about how to maximize brain health.
Please see below for resources:
Dietary Guidelines, 2020-2025: https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/current-dietary-guidelines
Physical Activity Guidelines: https://health.gov/our-work/physical-activity/current-guidelines
Dr. Swanson is a board-certified Physiatrist, with sub-specialty certification in Brain Injury Medicine. Dr. Swanson’s clinical practice centers on the Neurological Rehabilitation of patients with Acquired Brain Injury, both at Penn and within the VA's Polytrauma/TBI System of Care. His goal is to assist patients in achieving optimal return of neurological function following all forms of Brain Injury (including Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), Anoxic Brain Injury, Cerebral Vascular Accidents (Stroke), Brain Tumors, Movement Disorders and Neurodegenerative Disorders) through a combination of clinical practice and scientific research. Dr. Swanson also runs a research laboratory within the VA's Center for Neurotrauma, Neurodegeneration and Restoration (CNNR), and is a member of Penn's Center for Brain Injury and Repair (CBIR).
Episode 35: Telehealth - Back To The Future with Bridget Lowery
In these challenging times of the pandemic, digital information and communication technologies to access health care services remotely, known as telehealth, has been rapidly growing. In this episode, Bridget Lowery from NeuroRestorative will tell us about this new delivery of cognitive rehab through telehealth. She will explain it's benefits and difficulties from the perspective of both a patient and provider, and how to get help from providers as telehealth continues to evolve.
Bridget Lowery has been working in the field of Cognitive Rehabilitation Therapy for over 35 years in both the acute rehabilitation hospital and home, and community based settings. She has been working as the Clinical Director at NeuroRestorative PA’s Main Line program for over 30 years, where her services are provided in the home of the person being served. She is certified as a Brain Injury Specialist Trainer. She serves on various boards and committees, including the state Brain Injury Coalition, the state’s Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board through the Department of Health, and she is the co-chair of the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association Brain Injury Committee.
If you need help with the application process, please see the resources below:
Mark Cola from NeuroRestorative, PA:
NeuroResource Facilitation Program: 866-412-4755
To apply for Medicaid, call: 1-866-550-4355
Episode 34: Selfless Love of a Resilient Mother with Pattiann Berton
In this episode we will hear from Pattiann Berton, a wife, former teacher, and a mother of four boys. After her eldest son, Patrick, sustained a brain injury while playing football, Pattiann was challenged with accepting the long term effects of a childhood injury. She will share her son's story and tell us how she learned to manage this new normal without giving up hope. She will also tell us about Impacted, Inc., an organization that her husband and she founded that is dedicated to spreading awareness, education, support and advocacy for children who suffer from the effects of concussions.
To learn about Impacted Inc., visit: https://impactedinc.org/about/
Episode 33: Finding Help for Hidden Heroes with Dr. Leah Blain
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at the University of Pennsylvania provides high quality mental health care for veterans, military members, and their families at no cost. In this episode, Dr. Leah Blain, the Clinic Director, will discuss the intersection of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and combating the stigma in the military community. Dr. Blain will conclude with an overview of all the resources available.
To learn more about The Cohen Clinic at Penn or to schedule an appointment, visit: www.pennmedicine.org/veterans OR call 844-573-3146
Dr. Leah Blain is the Clinic Director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Penn, and her clinical work focuses on trauma-recovery and working with survivors of assault, abuse, and combat on issues including depression, guilt and shame, anger, dissociation, and PTSD. Dr. Blain earned her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, from the University of Missouri – St. Louis, where she conducted research in the effectiveness of Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) for PTSD. During her postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Maryland Healthcare System, she trained in Prolonged Exposure Therapy (PE); Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) for depression, anxiety and panic disorder, and chronic pain; and mindfulness-based interventions. She previously served veterans and military families as Director of Behavioral Health at Chase Brexton Health Care’s Columbia Center.
Episode 32: Sleep On It with Dr. Stephen Hampton
Have you experienced difficulties with sleeping after a brain injury? Today, we will hear from Dr. Stephen Hampton from Penn Medicine to learn about why sleep patterns can be disrupted after a brain injury and how we can improve the quality of sleep.
Stephen Hampton, MD is an Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Pennsylvania. His clinical practice focuses on the care of individuals with severe brain injury primarily in the acute hospital and inpatient rehabilitation settings. His responsibilities also include education of medical students, residents, and fellows. He completed medical school at the University of Texas Medical Center at Houston, residency and fellowship at Rutgers - New Jersey Medical School and joined the faculty at the University of Pennsylvania in 2017.
Episode 1: Coping Strategies with Dr. Janet Belitsky
In our first episode, Candace Gantt speaks with Dr. Janet Belitsky, Neuropsychologist at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital, to discuss coping strategies after TBI. Listen to her unveil tips and tools that can be used daily to help improve memory and emotional regulation. This podcast discusses strategies for both survivors and caregivers.
Dr. Belitsky has a doctorate in Clinical Psychology and has been practicing at Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital in Malvern, PA for 19 years. She has a specialty in Clinical Neuropsychology and medical disabilities.
Episode 31: Art as Therapy with Dr. Donna Radl
In this episode, we will learn about art therapy from Dr. Donna Radl, Co-Founder of Expressive Counseling Associates. As an art therapist, she discusses the benefits of art in improving cognitive functions, fostering self-esteem and self-awareness, and how it can reduce and resolve conflicts and distress. She will also provide us with tools we can practice at home to improve our mental health.
Dr. Donna Radl is the Clinical Director and Co-Founder of Expressive Counseling Associates in Malvern, Pennsylvania. Dr. Radl specializes in anxiety disorders, working with trauma patients of all ages, using Art Therapy as one of her therapeutic tools. More recently, Dr. Radl has integrated Art Therapy with traditional Psychotherapy to help patients with brain injuries express themselves non-verbally.
To learn more about Expressive Counseling Associates, visit: https://expressivecounselingassociates.com
Episode 30: Recovery After a Rodeo with Curtis Anderson
Today we hear from Curtis Anderson, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) survivor, advocate, and motivational speaker. As a former bull rider, he suffered from a TBI 18 years ago when riding a bull at the Ponoka Stampede in Canada. In the few seconds that the bull collided with his head, his life was forever changed. Since then, his life has been an ongoing process of recovery and resilience. Today, he speaks to children, parents, and those in this industry to advocate helmet use in the sport.
To learn more about Curtis Anderson, check out his Instagram: @curtisanderson6
Episode 29: Super Size Your Brain Health with Dr. Mijail Serruya
In this episode, we hear from Dr. Mijail Serruya, neuroscientist and neurologist from Thomas Jefferson University who helped to develop the Jefferson Comprehensive Concussion Center and the Brain Health Program in Integrative Medicine. He will provide us with tips on how we can take control of our recovery and maximize brain health.
Brain Injury Support and Rehabilitation: http://www.remed.com
Fox Rehab: https://www.foxrehab.org/
Dr. Mijail Serruya is a neuroscientist and a neurologist. He completed undergraduate, medical school and neuroscience graduate school training at Brown University followed by training in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently on the faculty at Thomas Jefferson University. He helped develop the Jefferson Comprehensive Concussion Center and the Executive Brain Health Program in Integrative Medicine. His research focuses on the development of wearable and implantable neurotechnology to help restore function in children and adults with neurological disease and injury.
Episode 28: Find Encouragement, Comfort, and Advice with Megan Moyer
Today we will hear from Megan Moyer who implemented the Penn Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group in 2017. In this interview, she will tell us about the purpose of the support group, the topic and format of the meetings, and why and how to attend.
To find out more about the Penn Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group, visit: https://www.pennmedicine.org/for-patients-and-visitors/find-a-program-or-service/neurology/traumatic-brain-injury/tbi-support-group
Megan Moyer, MSN, ACNP-BC (Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – Board Certified), CNRN (Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse) is a neuroscience nurse practitioner. She received her undergraduate degrees from Gwynedd Mercy University, Master’s in Nursing from Thomas Jefferson University and is a PhD candidate at Villanova University at the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. Megan formerly worked at Penn Medicine for 18 years in a variety of roles as a neuroscience nurse, a nurse practitioner in the Neurointensive care unit, and as a nurse practitioner within the traumatic brain injury clinical research initiative at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center at the University of Pennsylvania under the leadership of the primary investigator Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD, PhD. It was during this role that Megan implemented the Penn TBI support group in August 2017.