Highlights from the 2018 Massey TBI Grand Challenge

Earlier this month, MCIRCC hosted our third annual Massey TBI Grand Challenge. With a record-breaking attendance, thought-provoking presentations, and increased collaboration with the Dept. of Engineering, the event was a rousing success.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that 2.5 million children and adults sustain TBIs in the U.S. each year, making it a major cause of death and disability that can have severe and lasting effects on individuals, families, and communities. Thankfully, the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation is helping to develop solutions that can help limit the impact of TBI with their generous donation that funds Grand Challenge projects.

The event kicked off with our keynote speaker, Stephan Mayer, MD, a neurointensivist and the Chair of Neurology at the Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Mayer presented the current status of TBI diagnosis and treatment, and also what clinicians and researchers can look forward to in the not-so-distant future.

Later, Ltc. David Johnston presented on behalf of the Department of Defense’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program (CCCRP). DoD service members and families represent the largest U.S. population suffering from the impact of TBI. Ltc. Johnston shed light on the challenges for medics in the field, gaps that need to be filled in combat casualty care, and what drives DoD investment in TBI projects.

Attendees were reminded why innovating TBI care is so important when they heard from Liz Beckman, the mother of Massey EC3 patient, Jonathon Beckman. In 2016, Johnathon suffered a severe traumatic brain injury after falling nearly 12 feet and landing head first on the sidewalk in Ann Arbor. His mother shared an emotional story of Johnny's experience in the EC3, NICU, and his rehab at the hospital and at home. Her presentation provided a unique perspective as to why innovative solutions in TBI are so important to not only the patients, but to the family members who care for them. 

“[I want to thank] the Massey family for their generous contributions to the Emergency Critical Care Center and more. Their gifts mean so much to families like mine. The efficiency of that state-of-the-art unit is one of the reasons Johnny has a second chance at life,” said Liz Beckman.

Traumatic brain injury is one of highest priorities in public health and medicine due to its magnitude, cost, and severe consequences. Across the spectrum of care, it is one of the few conditions that has remained relatively stagnant in terms of innovation and improving outcomes. The goal of the Massey TBI Grand Challenge is to support innovative, high-impact projects that will make a significant difference at the bedside and in the field.

The next phase of the Grand Challenge will be reviewing project proposals. Select teams will be invited to pitch their idea at the Wolverine Den (MCIRCC’s Shark Tank) in the coming months.