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EDH neuropsychologist wins national community service award

By From page B1 | February 15, 2013

Catherine Broomand, PhD, ABPP-CN

CATHERINE BROOMAND

A neuropsychologist from El Dorado Hills won the 2012 David Lawrence Community Service award this month in recognition of her groundbreaking effort and passion to improve the health of young athletes, a press release state.

Catherine Broomand, Ph.D., 38, was one of 10 individuals from across the country to receive the award.

“I don’t feel this is my award,” Broomand said in the release. “This is an award for the whole MindGame group of providers who donate their time and enable this program to exist.”

After developing the first Youth Sports Concussion Program for Kaiser Permanente in 2009, the pediatric clinical neuropsychologist set her sights on another far-reaching goal: encourage other health care systems in the Sacramento area establish similar programs.

Nearly nine out of 10 concussions go undiagnosed. As Broomand treated young athletes for sports-related concussions, she knew that a large number of non-Kaiser Permanente members were also at risk.

Less than two years later, Broomand successfully helped launch the Sacramento Valley Concussion Care Consortium (since renamed MindGame) — a volunteer-based endeavor among four health care providers (Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Health, Mercy/Dignity Health, UC Davis Health System), and the Wells Fargo student insurance program. Its mission is to raise awareness about concussions and provide student athletes with increased access to computer-based testing and medical professionals.

Tens of thousands of young people in Greater Sacramento now have access to tools and treatment that can help prevent serious brain injuries.

The award, which is named for the former CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, recognizes Kaiser Permanente physicians and employees who exemplify outstanding community service.

Broomand was hired in 2005 to see pediatric patients with neurological diseases, disorders and injuries that affect brain function. She quickly developed interest in concussions at a time when very little research existed on the subject. She found herself sought by children and adolescents who had suffered head injuries in football, soccer, motocross, and other sports, the press release stated.  The program she directs at Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center consists of a protocol for treating concussions that relies in part on a cognitive computer test known as ImPACT. Used by NFL players, it also is taken by middle- and high-school students at the beginning of a sporting season. After a baseline is recorded, athletes retake the test following a head injury.

Broomand has become a leading expert in concussions in the Sacramento area and beyond. She recently was appointed to a mild traumatic brain injury workgroup with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to assist in developing national clinical guidelines for doctors’ offices and emergency departments. She is president of MindGame, a nonprofit organization. She has received numerous inquiries from schools and sporting organizations representing thousands of students that have expressed interest in improving their concussion education and awareness efforts.

“It was really critical to make a program like ours accessible to everyone, even in a competitive health care atmosphere, and despite the athletes’ insurance coverage,” Broomand said in the release. “We will make the biggest difference by coming together as a community.”

Patrick Ibarra

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