Professor Helene Moriarty, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Diane & Robert Moritz Jr. Endowed Chair in Nursing Research at the Villanova University M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing, has been selected to serve on an ad hoc National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Committee on Accelerating Progress in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research and Care. Dr. Moriarty is also nurse scientist at the Corporal Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center, Philadelphia. The committee will conduct a study, sponsored by the Department of Defense, that will gather input from a wide range of public and private experts and stakeholders, ultimately for a report with recommendations that identifies barriers, outlines potential areas for collaboration, and provides a 10-year roadmap for advancing TBI research and clinical care. Issues for both military and civilian populations will be included.
In addition to its report and recommendations, the committee will design and host major public workshops to include all levels of government; the private sector; advocates for military and veteran health; and academic, clinical, patient advocate, philanthropy and funding agency representatives. Additionally, representatives from care systems, industry related to diagnostic tools, and therapeutic trials will participate. The workshops will cover TBI biomedical, translational, and clinical research; delivery of new TBI treatments; and improvement of the spectrum of systems of care for individuals with TBI.
Embracing a multitude of populations affected by TBI - and their goals- both the study and workshops will address key issues such as return to service, improving resumption of play and work for both civilian and military populations, and long-term sequelae in individuals involved in sports.
Recognized as an international nursing leader and expert in family science, Dr. Moriarty is a tireless champion for families, particularly for those of military veterans. She has dedicated her career to advancing the health and health care of veterans and their families. Her clinical research has led to novel insights and healthcare approaches for veterans with TBI and their families. Of note, Dr. Moriarty’s research is one of the first scientific efforts to engage family members as integral partners in the care of veterans with TBI and also address the health of those caregivers.
Her appointment to this NASEM TBI committee is one of several of Dr. Moriarty’s recent high-profile activities in her unwavering pursuit of quality care for military and veteran personnel and their families. In November, Dr. Moriarty received notification of a two-year grant funded by the Veterans Health Administration for nearly $230,000 for a feasibility study of behavioral activation for post-TBI depression. The grant will provide preliminary data for a future larger trial of behavioral activation. She and Laraine Winter, PhD, FCN senior research associate, are principal investigators on an R01 funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research at the National Institutes of Health. The five-year, $3.3 million grant funds their research project, “A Randomized Controlled Trial of an Innovative In-home Rehabilitation Program for Persons with TBI and Their Families: Home-based Occupational-therapy and Management of the Environment (HOME for Us)” to test an innovative rehabilitation approach that addresses critical gaps in services and research for both civilians and veterans with chronic TBI symptoms and their families.
NASEM is a private, nonprofit organization that “provides independent, objective advice to inform policy with evidence, spark progress and innovation, and confront challenging issues for the benefit of society,” according to nationalacademies.org. To do so, NASEM annually recruits distinguished experts from across the nation as volunteers who share their extensive experience and knowledge for policy reviews and other activities.