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A dedication to knowledge

She uses her brain power to fight brain injury.

Every successful team needs an expert – the smartest person when it comes to the task at hand.

The Avengers had scientific genius Tony Stark – Ironman.

Fantastic Four had astrophysicist Reed Richards – Mister Fantastic.

In DC comics Batgirl is one of the smartest, most educated people on the team, just like Dr. Jeanne Hoffman is for BIAWA.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington has brain injury researcher extraordinaire Jeanne Hoffman.

A professor at University of Washington School of Medicine in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Dr. Hoffman has devoted her career to understanding how to better help those with traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury and improve their chances of living full lives. She’s been closely aligned with BIAWA for more than a decade, including being a former board member.

“I guess you could say that I’m the person who brings the science to the table,” Jeanne said. “There is so much information out there, but a lot of misinformation, too. I’m the one who can say, ‘This is what we know, and this is what we don’t know.’”

Dr. Hoffman was drawn to her research during her graduate school work in psychology. Specifically, she began a deep dive into answering the question: “How do we intervene and make it better?” for TBI survivors.

Dr. Hoffman’s decades of research has focused on how brain injury survivors meet the challenges of pain and loss of physical and cognitive abilities and onset of depression. The goal is to develop a better understanding of how brain injury impacts survivors and use that knowledge to improve care.

“In TBI there is a huge area of misunderstanding,” she said. “It’s like the more you know, you then realize the more you don’t know.”

One of the most important aspects of helping TBI survivors is identifying and acknowledging the condition in the first place. Too often, Jeanne said, delays in treatment compound the problems the survivor is experiencing.

“We still have a problem with people who may focus on the injury alone, but don’t realize how complicated a brain injury can be,” she said. “TBI is a silent disability.”

Ultimately, getting survivors sufficient support and treatment is what Jeanne and the BIAWA are after.

“There is a lot to be learned. Brains are super complicated.”

Fortunately, BIAWA has a smart Super Hero on the team.”


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