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UNC To Establish New TBI Treatment Program With Funding From Gary Sinise

MatthewGfellerCenter
UNC Chapel Hill
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At the Matthew Gfeller Center, UNC-Chapel Hill researchers study the causes and effects of Traumatic Brain Injury

UNC Chapel Hill has received a $12.5 million gift to start a clinical treatment program for veterans and first responders with traumatic brain injuries.

The new program, called THRIVE — Transforming Health and Resilience in Veterans — builds on the university’s expertise in concussion and head injuries from sports. It will offer access to treatment at sites across the state.

The money came from a foundation started by Actor Gary Sinise, a long-time advocate for troops and veterans.

Traumatic brain injury — or TBI — is a signature injury of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, in part because improvised bombs were so common. Many troops survived blasts, but shock waves caused a TBI. More than 400,000 veterans have been diagnosed with TBIs since the year 2000.

When veterans come in to the program, they will undergo a wellness exam, and then a team of physicians, neuropsychologists, athletic trainers, physical therapists, social workers and counselors will design care plan for each veteran.

Dr. Shawn Kane, the THRIVE Program’s chief medical officer and associate professor in the department of family medicine at UNC, spent 27 years as a physician in the U.S. Army.

"It is important for us to leverage our expertise and health care resources to assist our veterans who may have developed long-term, complex physical and neurological health issues from combat-related exposures in service to our nation," he said.

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