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ISU traumatic brain injury study featured in national newsletter

May 24, 2017
Scarlett O. Smith, Career Path Intern

POCATELLO - The Idaho State University Institute of Rural Health has been recognized nationally for research looking at brain injuries in Idaho in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living’s April 2017 newsletter.

In 2014, the Institute of Rural Health received $1 million to screen Idahoans for traumatic brain injury and renew efforts to establish a statewide trust fund to increase access to rehabilitation and other services.

“We are excited to receive this recognition,” said Principal Investigator Russell Spearman, a senior research associate in the Institute of Rural Health office at ISU-Meridian. “Our traumatic brain injury project team has worked diligently to screen almost 500 individuals for brain injury. Many of the individuals we screened had no health insurance. We were successful in being able to develop a referral process for individuals who screen likely for traumatic brain injury. I'm also very grateful that we were able to secure a small grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation to assist people with co-pays to primary care providers.”           

The newsletter also discusses the progress the institute has made with conducting a statewide assessment of needs and resources for those with a traumatic brain injury. The Institute of Rural Health sent out a questionnaire to help shape the future of traumatic brain injury services in Idaho. They asked individuals what services and supports they needed and if they were available in their community. The results of those questionnaires will allow the institute to work toward filling gaps in services based on individual needs. Furthermore, it helped the researchers understand which programs needed more support and which programs were successful.

“In essence, the responses will help us identify where the greatest needs are in Idaho and prioritize those needs via an action plan for the state,” Spearman said.