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House Hearing Examines Traumatic Brain Injury Prevention and Treatment

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), subcommittee chairman

Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), subcommittee chairman

Washington, DC
Monday, March 19, 2012

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health looked at Federal, State and private efforts to prevent and treat traumatic brain injury and the disabilities they cause, Monday afternoon. 

The federal government has been involved in this issue directly since passing the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act of 1996, which encouraged research and innovative programs to increase awareness.

Several amendments to the Act have passed since then, aimed at educating the public and ensuring best treatment practices for injured individuals.

Traumatic brain injuries occur when an external force injures the brain and every year, 1.7 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC has found that falls are the leading cause these injuries, especially for children under 4 and adults 75 and older. Car accidents are the leading cause of traumatic brain injury-related deaths.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) spent about $400 million in Fiscal Year 2011 on programs to understand, prevent and reduce the incidence of traumatic brain injuries and the hearing will discuss the impact of their efforts.

The HHS Federal Traumatic Brain Injury Program helps State and local agencies develop resources for victims and their families to have "accessible, available, acceptable and appropriate services and supports."

Witnesses include: Bonnie Strickland, Director of Services for Children with Special Health Care Needs at the Health Resources and Services Administration; William Ditto, Director of the New Jersey TBI Division at the New Jersey Department of Health; Flaura Winston, Scientific Director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; and Mark J. Ashley, President of the Centre for Neuro Skills.

Updated: Monday, March 19, 2012 at 4:58pm (ET)

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