ADVANCING RESEARCH, IMPROVING EDUCATION

National Center for the
Dissemination of Disability Research

Webcast 8
Inclusion of Minorities in Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation and Outcomes Research: Special Issues

August 22, 2007, 2:00 PM CDT

About the Webcast

This presentation began with an overall introduction to the work of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Community Integration of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). This was followed by a general overview of the importance of health disparities research and the need for cultural competence in conducting research in the area of TBI. The majority of the presentation focused on special issues involved in conducting research with diverse racial/ethnic populations. Topics covered include obtaining informed consent, building rapport, retaining participants in longitudinal and clinical trials studies, and sensitivity of outcome measures. A recent clinical trial conducted by Center staff was discussed to illustrate these concepts. Additionally, an ongoing project on diversity in community integration needs was discussed to highlight the need for sensitive outcome measures.

The RRTC on Community Integration of Persons with TBI includes the mission that all persons with TBI, including traditionally underserved populations, have access to information, resources, and services that maximize participation in their communities and that treating professionals have the necessary information to meet the needs of persons with TBI. In keeping with this mission, a major goal of the Center is to assess and identify community integration needs among traditionally underserved populations, including members of racial/ethnic minority groups and those living in rural areas. Center staff have a 15-year long history of conducting survey research and randomized clinical trials with diverse populations and of producing dissemination materials to meet the needs of persons from diverse racial/ethnic, educational, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Recently, the Center has begun to expand its expertise through collaboration with the Center for Minority Health at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. This collaboration will integrate state of the art knowledge regarding health disparities research with research on community integration of persons with TBI. Further information on the Center, operated by The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) and Baylor College of Medicine, can be reviewed at www.tbicommunity.org.

About the Presenters

Angelle M. Sander, PhD is Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director of the Brain Injury Research Center at Memorial Hermann|TIRR in Houston, Texas. She has a 10-year history of federal funding in the area of traumatic brain injury and stroke outcomes research. She has an established program of research in the areas of family adjustment to TBI, the role of the family environment in outcome, and assessment and treatment of substance abuse. She has also been Principal Investigator on an NIH subcontract investigating health disparities in persons with stroke. She has an extensive publication history in the area of TBI outcomes research and has presented both nationally and internationally. Her past and current program of research includes racial/ethnic diversity in outcomes, and she has 10 years of experience in conducting research and clinical work with diverse populations. Dr. Sander is the Project Co-Director for the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Integration of Persons with TBI.

Margaret A. Struchen, PhD is a clinical neuropsychologist and Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director of the Brain Injury Research Center at Memorial Hermann|TIRR. She is Project Co-Director for the NIDRR-funded RRTC on Community Integration of Persons with TBI. Dr. Struchen's program of research includes social communication abilities following TBI and evaluation of interventions to address social communication and emotional adjustment issues. She has previously served as Principal Investigator of a NIDRR Field-Initiated grant on Assessment of Social Communication Abilities following Traumatic Brain Injury, and as Co-Investigator for the NIDRR funded RRTC on Rehabilitation Interventions Following TBI. Much of her research has been conducted with racially/ethnically diverse populations. Dr. Struchen has presented and published in the areas of social communication abilities following TBI, on interventions for individuals for mild TBI, on efficacy of post-acute community re-entry programs, and on outcomes following TBI. Dr. Struchen also serves as Past-President and Board Member of the Brain Injury Association of Texas.

Allison Clark, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in rehabilitation research on the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Integration of Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury. Dr. Clark completed her doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology (Clinical Neuropsychology Specialty) at the University of Houston and her dissertation examined functional outcome following frontal lobe lesions in persons with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Her clinical and research experience has emphasized rehabilitation, and she has had experience in the inpatient, outpatient, and post-acute holistic treatment program settings. Dr. Clark has had considerable experience involving grant-funded projects and clinical trials. She has served as a research assistant on NIDRR-field initiated and CDC grants investigating cognitive functioning in older adults with TBI, and currently serves on the RRTC as the study coordinator and therapist for a randomized clinical trial involving a brief intervention for substance abuse and as an on-call therapist for a randomized clinical trial of a social peer mentoring program. Her current clinical and research work is being conducted primarily with racial/ethnic minority groups, and she has extensive experience with recruitment and consent issues in this population. Dr. Clark has presented at numerous national and regional conferences, and has a strong interest in depression, awareness, and the impact of cognition on response to rehabilitation interventions.

Gina Evans, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. Her fellowship is being sponsored by a NIDRR-funded Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training grant. Dr. Evans completed her Doctorate in Counseling Psychology (Ph.D.) with a specialization in multicultural and women's health issues and a Master's degree (M.A.) in counselor education from Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. Her primary research interests include chronic disease management among underserved populations and health disparities in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Dr. Evans is completing her independent project exploring the utility of a brief culturally appropriate disease self-management intervention among ethnic minority stroke patients in an acute care setting. She is also working on research teams involving health beliefs and service utilization among minority stroke patients, as well as ethnic diversity in outcomes for persons with TBI. She has a joint appointment as a Kellogg Scholar, with the Center for Minority Health at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. This program prepares minority scientists for careers and leadership roles in health disparities and health policy. In her role at the Center for Minority Health, she is working with the Eliminating Disparities in Clinical Trials initiative to enhance the usage of culturally appropriate disease self-management interventions and assisting with efforts to enact policies that increase recruitment and retention of ethnic minority participants in clinical trial research.


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This webcast is supported through the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR), which is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) in the U.S. Department of Education, and is supported in part by ILRU. The opinions and views expressed are those of the presenters and no endorsement by the funding agency should be inferred.

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