UNE Graduate Students in Health Professions Learn From Brain Injury Experts

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The University of New England has partnered with the Michael T. Goulet Traumatic Brain Injury and Epilepsy Foundation for the 10th annual Interprofessional Educational Collaborative (IPEC) Spring Symposium that will bring together graduate students in all of UNE’s health professions to explore neuroscience discoveries and clinical practice. The daylong event will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2012 and will be held on the Portland and Biddeford campuses. The event is not open to the public.

The University of New England has partnered with the Michael T. Goulet Traumatic Brain Injury and Epilepsy Foundation for the 10th annual Interprofessional Educational Collaborative (IPEC) Spring Symposium that will bring together graduate students in all of UNE’s health professions to explore neuroscience discoveries and clinical practice. The daylong event will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2012 and will be held on the Portland and Biddeford campuses. The event is not open to the public.

The symposium has been organized around a case study on Michael Goulet who endured a traumatic brain injury as a result of a snowmobile injury on February 15, 2003. He underwent brain surgery, and survived. Recovery included weeks in a coma, months of intensive rehabilitation, and years of further medical care. Subsequent to his recovery Michael developed a seizure disorder, and at the age of 13 he suffered from his first Grand Mal seizure two years post recovery. He had daily episodes of seizure activity from then on, despite continued care and medical treatment. In October 2010, Michael passed away from complications from his last Grand Mal seizure.

Michael Goulet’s father, Brad Goulet, mother, Lynda LeBlanc and sister, Danielle Goulet will participate in a roundtable discussion in the morning during the symposium. The panel will also include David B. Seder, MD, Director of Neurocritical Care at Maine Medical Center, Dr. Howard M Kunin, DPSY; PSYD New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland, and Noel Poirer, RN, of the Intensive Care Unit at Maine Medical Center.

The morning panel will be moderated by UNE Associate Provost for Research and Scholarship Edward Bilsky who will also deliver the keynote address on, “Coordinated Brain Care: How Neuroscience Discoveries and International Practices Can Improve Patient and Population Health.”

In the afternoon, students will participate in breakout sessions including one by Dora Mills, UNE’s vice president of Clinical Affairs on, “What’s Public Health Got to Do With It.”
Afternoon breakout sessions:

  •     What's Public Health Got To Do With It? (Dora Mills, MD, MPH, FAAP): A review of the public health evidence on the topic of snowmobile injuries and discussion of the risks and benefits of various public policy options. Students will become familiar with a public health approach to this topic and the public policy options available.
  •     Blood Brain Barrier Dysfunction in Migraine (Colin Willis, Ph.D.): Migraine is one of the world’s most disabling diseases with serious social and economic consequences, yet the cause(s) remains poorly understood. Further, overuse of triptan based medication used to treat chronic migraine can induce medication overuse headaches so representing a clinically challenging problem. We propose prolonged exposure to triptan medication may result in a transitory blood-brain barrier (BBB) dysfunction increasing the potential for migraine-like pain behaviors. This session covers Dr. Willis’ research into migraine, regulation of BBB integrity and its effects on headache, and future directions.
  •     When Neuroscience Comes Home: Translating Science to Caregiving and Daily Routine (Tesha Imperati, Director of Programs and Services, Connecticut Family Support Network and Karen Zrenda, Family Resource Program Coordinator, Yale-New Haven Children's Hospital): Living with and caring for a person with a neurological disorder or injury requires knowledge, skills and advocacy in all domains of daily routine. Participants in this session will learn to recognize family caregivers as key members of the interprofessional team. Session presenters will review the translation of neuroscience to home, school, work, recreation, spiritual worlds and the often confusing bureaucracy of health care and social services.
  •     The Science of Caring: How neuroscience research inspires hope for recovering mothers and their infants (Jennifer Morton, DNP, MPH, RN and Shelley Cohen Konrad, Ph.D., LCSW): This workshop will discuss the role of brain plasticity and the power of caring relationships to strengthen attachments between developing infants and their recovering mothers. The socio ecological model serves as a guiding framework to understand this phenomenon and informs community-based interventions that seek to improve maternal/child health and well-being.
  •     Health Care Benefits of Walking Meditation Using the Labryrinth (Cally Gurley, MLIS, Joe Wolfberg, M.S., Karen L. Houseknecht, B.S., M.S., Ph.D.): Brain imaging studies have shown that the practice of meditation alters brain function. To walk a labyrinth is to meditate, and such a practice can have healing properties for patients. Meditation reduces pain, speeds the mind's return after distraction and can provide mental, physical and emotional balance in addition to fine tuning control over attention, facilitating sleep and improving critical cognitive skills. UNE has installed a labyrinth behind the Art Gallery on the Portland campus.
  •     Clear Window of Opportunity: Neuroplasticity in Infancy and Early childhood (Eileen Ricci, PT, DPT, M.S., PCS): This session will explore the latest research and clinical applications of the amazing levels of plasticity of the nervous system in the early stages of human development.
  •     The HBO Addiction Project – Selected Case Studies (Christian Teter, PharmD, BCPP): Addiction is a chronic relapsing brain disease. Brain imaging shows that addiction severely alters brain areas critical to decision-making, learning and memory, and behavior control, which may help to explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction.
  •     Sensory Modulation Challenges in Veterans with PTSD and/or TBI (Judith G. Kimball, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA): The hyper-vigilance found in veterans with PTSD and/or TBI may be caused in part by Sensory Modulation Challenges, which are an over-interpretation by the brain of the seriousness of survival threats. The resulting behavioral and relationship issues can be explained and even self-treated.
  •     Your Brain on ART (Artist Brady Nickerson): Experience the healing power of art in this hands-on workshop. Participants will learn the technique for Process Art – an “innovative, intuitive, feelings” based art adventure which improves and enhances the physical, mental and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages. With paper and markers, this relaxation process calms neural activity in the brain and reduces stress and anxiety and allows the healing process to take place.

Representatives of the community will be available at the symposium to show students what resources that are available in the community: 211 Maine; Brain Injury Information Network; the Maine Department of Education's CITE Program; the Iris Network; State of Maine, Division For the Blind & Visually Impaired; NeuroRestorative; and Goodwill NeuroRehab Services at BaySide. Also, bicycle helmets have been donated to the event by Gorham Bike and Ski, Reynolds Motorsports and EMS.

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Susan Pierter
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