Understanding Brain Trauma

Now What?

Air Date: 07/27/2017

Advances in brain and neuro-science have resulted in a much deeper understanding of brain trauma. Injuries to the brain can have a broad range of impacts on the lives of those who experience them. The physical, emotional, and cognitive effects may last a short time, or remain throughout a person's life. And they can occur at any age. The average age of stroke victims in the U.S. is 45 years old. The signature injury of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is brain trauma caused by RPG's (rocket propelled grenades) and IED's (improvised explosive devices). Concussions sustained in car accidents, falls and sports activities also have also come to the forefront as significant contributors to the population affected by brain trauma.

Panel of Experts

Doctor Anna Fisher
Dr. Anna Fisher, Host

Dr. Anna Fisher serves as the Hillcrest Health Services health, quality, and nursing services education expert. She is responsible for the implementation of educational and quality improvement programs following the identification of clinical needs, competency exams, and supporting the need for high quality of care for diverse business lines that include assisted living, memory support, adult day services, home health care, palliative, hospice, post-acute, and skilled nursing care. 

Dr. Fisher is also an adjunct professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at Bellevue University and teaches in the Masters-Health Administration Program. She was awarded the prestigious Maenner Award for Professorship of the Year in 2012. In 2015, she received the APEX Award for Excellence in Health & Medical Writing by Nursing2015, for an article she co-authored entitled, "Best Practices for Engaging Patients with Dementia."

Dr. Fisher is co-producer of the Connects series, Now What?, about elder care and dementia. The program series received a 2014 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Silver Award in the Service to Community category and a 2012 Nebraska Broadcasters Association Bronze Award of Excellence in the category of Service to Community.

Dr. Fisher is currently President of the Consortium of Dementia Alternatives and Vice President of the Montessori International School of the Plains. She is a certified dementia practitioner, licensed nurse, and holds an undergraduate degree in human resources, graduate degree in business management, and a doctorate in health administration.

Dr. William Thorell

Dr. William Thorell, M.D.is an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Medical Director of the Cerebrovascular Surgery Program. He is board certified in neurological surgery by The American Board of Neurological Surgery. His expertise combines two disciplines, namely neurosurgery and interventional neuroradiology.  Having specialized in endovascular neurosurgery, Dr. Thorell offers patients a minimally invasive approach for the treatment of neurovascular diseases.

Other clinical areas of special interest to Dr. Thorell are normal pressure hydrocephalus and Chiari malformation. Dr. Thorell has been instrumental in forming an inter-disciplinary stroke team, the Nebraska Stroke Center, right here at the University of Nebraska Medical Center/Nebraska Medical Center.  Dr. Thorell is a native of Denver, Colorado.

Dr. Thorell graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln with distinction.  He earned his medical degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center with highest distinction, where he also completed his internship, residency, and served as Chief Resident.  He accomplished a two-year fellowship in endovascular neurosurgery at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.

Nichole Cooks

Nichole Cooks, BSN RN, has been one of the Stroke Coordinators at Nebraska Medicine for two and a half years and has been a part of Omaha’s Stroke initiative as a stroke coordinator for over eight years.  Nichole takes pride in working with all the different hospital and transport systems in Omaha and the surrounding area to improve stroke care. She facilitates outreach to many community areas to increase the knowledge of how serious a stroke is and the importance of calling 911 at the first signs of any trouble. Learn more about the many signs of stroke, risk factors involved, and why it is important to act immediately when responding to a stroke by visiting https://www.strokeawareness.com/.

Chris Stewart

Chris Stewart is a Resource Facilitator for Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska - a statewide, nonprofit organization. She works with individuals of all ages who have experienced a brain injury, including concussions, offering short-term and long-term assistance to help reach their goals.  Chris has a Bachelor's in Education which has proven beneficial in teaching and learning from individuals and family caregivers for more than 20 years. 

BIA-NE recently facilitated the development of Disability Organizations Together Serve or DOTS, an educational collaborative connecting the dots or organizations serving people with disabilities.  The model for DOTS was Midlands Eldercare Network.  Chris has been a member of MEN for more than 15 years.

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