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$3M Awarded to Ohio State University for Traumatic Brain Injury Research

The Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center was awarded a five-year, $3 million grant by the National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to study the long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Ohio State’s “Ohio Regional TBI Model System” was one of 16 centers nationally that were funded to continue examine the initial recovery and lifelong changes that result from TBI.

TBI results from a blow to the head, the head hitting something or violent shaking, that is of sufficient force to disrupt normal functioning of the brain.  TBI’s range from very mild to life threatening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 2.8 million Americans each year receive medical care for a TBI. Most of these injuries are concussions or mild TBIs. In Ohio, more than 100,000 people annually are hospitalized or treated in Emergency Departments for a TBI.

The Ohio Regional TBI Model System was first funded in 1997 and will now be continuously funded as a Model Systems Center through 2022. Ohio State is the longest continuously funded TBI Model System in the country. Over the past 20 years OSU has recruited over 1,150 patients into the TBI Model Systems National Dataset that follows people from their injury throughout their lifespan. After discharge from rehabilitation, all patients are re-contacted periodically to determine how they are doing and if they have changed since their initial recovery. The National Dataset includes over 15,000 patients nationwide and has followed some as long as 25 years.  

Participants in the TBI Model Systems research program are recruited from the Brain Injury Unit at the OSU Wexner Medical Center in Columbus and the Rehabilitation Unit at St. Rita’s Medical Center in Lima, Ohio, which is part of the Mercy Health system. The Brain Injury Unit at Ohio State was established in 1983 and was one of the first programs in the state to be accredited for specialized brain injury rehabilitation. St. Rita’s Medical Center’s Rehabilitation Unit, established in 1986, is the primary provider of inpatient rehabilitation services for a 10-county region in northwest Ohio.  The addition of St. Rita’s to the Ohio Regional TBI Model System is new for this 5-year grant and will assure that research participants are representative of both metropolitan and rural communities.

The TBI Model Systems National Dataset is the most developed source of longitudinal information about recovery from TBI in the U.S. or internationally. The number of patients enrolled and the longevity of the data about them has led to multiple collaborations with other federal programs concerned about lifetime effects of TBI, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Defense. 

Jennifer Bogner, PhD, is the Principal Investigator (PI) of the Ohio Regional TBI Model System, John Corrigan, PhD, is the co-PI and Sheital Bavishi, DO, is the Medical Director. The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Team at Dodd Hall plays a pivotal role in supporting this research, as do the trauma services of the Wexner Medical Center, Ohio Health’s Grant Medical Center and Riverside Methodist Hospitals, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Mount Carmel Health System. 

The goals of the grant reflect priorities articulated this year by the 30-member advisory body composed of consumers and professionals in the brain injury field who collaborate on departmental programs. The Ohio Valley Center Advisory Council concluded that the most important activities to assist persons living with the effects of TBI are to:

  • investigate TBI as a chronic health condition;
  • improve access to community based services and supports that allow a person with TBI to live and thrive in the community;
  • train healthcare and social service professionals about the unique issues of TBI;  and
  • improve states’ capacity to address the public health burden of TBI.


More information on the TBI Model Systems program can be found at http://www.msktc.org/tbi. Please contact Monica Lichi, Program Director, Monica.Lichi@osumc.edu, 614-293-3802, with any questions.


This website has been funded with financial assistance from Grant #H133A120086 awarded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to the Ohio Valley Center for Brain Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation for the current funding period of 10/01/2012 - 09/30/2017.