Coordination Among DoD TBI Research Efforts in the National Capital Area

The DOD has invested in TBI and PTSD research through several organizations with research programs that synergize with the CNRM research plans. The Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) is a national effort that has a significant component in the national capital area, including the nascent National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) on the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center campus. The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) has been a major contributor to medical care, clinical research, and educational programs for TBI among the military forces since 1992 and became the operational component of the DCoE in 2007.

A different focus on TBI research relevant to warfighters is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). The DARPA program is evaluating the physics of blast forces associated with TBI and polytrauma to determine components that are causally associated with neurologic injury.

As the CNRM research plans were developed in working groups, each CNRM group included one or more faculty member who is also involved with the DCoE and could help in discussions of relative synergy of efforts between each organization. Future discussions are planned for DCoE and NICoE leadership to continue to consider the respective roles of each organization and opportunities for beneficial interactions. As with the DCoE efforts, the CNRM working groups included several faculty members who are also involved with DARPA funded projects. CNRM efforts will be evaluating the pathology observed in several non-explosive TBI models and should gain from sharing results with the DARPA program that uses additional models to recreate explosive blast forces.