Northern New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury System (NNJTBIS)

The Northern New Jersey Traumatic Brain Injury System (NNJTBIS) has previously been designated by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) as a TBI Model System and is proposing an innovative proposal to continue that distinction. The NNJTBIS serves the Northern and Central New Jersey catchment areas, an ethnically diverse 13 county region of 6.6 million persons. The NNJTBIS is a cooperative effort of the Kessler Foundation, the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation (KIR), and trauma centers from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – The University Hospital, Hackensack University Medical Center, Morristown Medical Center and St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center. KIR has been providing a comprehensive continuum of state-of-the-art rehabilitation care for persons with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) since 1980 and collaborates with the Kessler Foundation Research Center in the conduct of TBI research, including clinical trials and the analysis of standardized data.

Approximately 110 newly injured persons with traumatic brain injury are admitted each year to our system of care. We expect to enroll at least 60 patients per year who meet TBIMS national database criteria and meet or exceed benchmarks for TBIMS enrollment, missing data and follow-up rates. Consumer participation and input through consumer consultants, as well as the TBI Community Advisory Board has been integrated into the entire proposal from the onset of the planning process.

In this project, the NNJTBIS proposes a site-specific research study that addresses key issues outlined in the “Health and Function” section of the NIDRR Long Range Plan (2005-2009). This project will contribute to evidence-based rehabilitation interventions to improve the lives of individuals with TBI through:
• An innovative, double-blinded, randomized controlled trial of a cognitive rehabilitation intervention for processing speed deficits utilizing a proven methodology shown to be effective through multiple studies in the aging population;

This project has been subjected to initial pilot testing to assure the applicability and feasibility of the methodology. The evaluation of this project is guided by a multifaceted approach, which uses a highly quantifiable, objective means of evaluating progress. This will be supplemented by our Community Advisory Board, NNJTBIS Steering Committee and an external Scientific Advisory Board, which will provide feedback on a quarterly, annual and bi-annual basis, respectively. In addition, project management staff will meet internally on a regular basis to review data management and data quality issues and assure effective communication with KIR and staff from the trauma centers.

The NNJTBIS is also well poised to propose and contribute to collaborative modular projects, as we have previously demonstrated success as both the leader of such projects and a contributor to such projects during our previous funding cycle.

Finally, the NNJTBIS will continue to coordinate with the NIDRR-funded Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center to provide scientific results and information for dissemination to clinical and consumer audiences. To complement this, we will continue to develop our TBI website at, to include a variety of professional and consumer-oriented information related to TBI and grow our social media outreach through facebook and twitter. Additional methods of research dissemination include Kessler Foundation and KIR-hosted consumer and professional conferences, consumer newsletters, web-based activities, publications, and scientific presentations, all dissemination efforts that have been proven highly successful during past funding cycles.

Kessler Foundation Research Center

1199 Pleasant Valley Way
West Orange NJ 07052

Project Officer: Theresa San Agustin, M.D.
Project Number: H133A120030
Nancy Chiaravalloti Ph.D.
Project 324-8440
John DeLuca, Ph.D.
Project 324-3572
John O'Neil, Ph.D. 324-8387
Bruce Gans, M.D. 324-3657
Neil Jasey, M.D.
Co-Investigator, Medical 414-6748
Anthony Lequerica, Ph.D.
Cross Cultural Coordinator/ Data 324-3551
Karen Nolan, Ph.D.
Assistant Data 324-3544
Irene Ward, PT, DPT, NCS
Brain Injury Clinical Research 324-3678
Silvio Lavrador
Research 324-3538
Jeannie Lengenfelder Ph.D.
Dissemination 324-8446
Belinda Washington
Research 324-3528
Angela Smith
Research 324-8448
Andrea Gagliano, MS, CRC
Research 324-3591
Denise Vasquez
Research 324-3534
Dennis Tirri
Research 324-3546
Christian Lucca
Research 324-3547
Ameen DeGraffenreid
Research Assistant 243-6806