UW News

June 25, 2009

Harborview named lead center for brain injury project in state

Harborview Medical Center in Seattle has been named the State Lead Center for Washington as part of a national network of health care institutions in one of the largest collaborative efforts in the history of pediatric medicine.

The 51 other institutions in conjunction with Harborview will work together to address the number one cause of death and disability for injured children and young adults in the United States, which is brain injury resulting from either inflicted or non-inflicted trauma.

“Traumatic brain injury is the leading killer of injured children and we are honored to be selected as a Sara Jane Foundation Lead Center,” said Dr. Monica Vavilala, UW associate professor of anesthesiology and pediatrics, and associate director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

“Harborview Medical Center is a Level I adult and pediatric trauma center and a leader in clinical care, education and research and being a part of this national effort to prevent traumatic brain injury and reduce harm from traumatic brain injury will allow us the opportunity to advance science and improve the quality of life of these injured children.”

In January, 60 leading pediatric researchers and clinicians met in New York City and drafted the first-ever National Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI) Plan, which called for the development of a national system of collaboration to address the issue. The Sarah Jane Brain Project held an open application period in March for children’s hospitals, research universities and other healthcare organizations to apply to be a State Lead Center to spearhead implementation of the National PABI Plan. An expert selection committee reviewed the applications and selected one institution in every state to forward the plan.

Harborview Medical Center was selected as the State Lead Center for Washington, which the Sarah Jane Brain Project’s National Advisory Board announced in Washington, D.C. on June 5.

“We are excited to have Harborview Medical Center as the Lead Center for Washington, and as part of this national network of health care institutions in the country committed to improving care and outcomes for children with traumatic brain injury,” stated SJBP founder Patrick Donohue.

Donohue founded the SJBP in October 2007 after his daughter Sarah Jane was shaken by her baby nurse, causing a severe brain injury. The National PABI Plan is estimated to cost $125 million annually to implement across the country and will address each of the seven categories of care for each aspect of brain injury treatment — prevention, acute care, rehabilitation, adult transition, rural/tele-health, mild traumatic brain injury, and the virtual center.