IN THE UNITED STATES, the federal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act became law in 1996 (Pub L No. 104-166) and has been reauthorized in 2000, 2008, and 2014, marking 20 years as the only federal program dedicated solely to addressing the needs of individuals who have incurred a TBI and their family members. From the beginning, the TBI Act included funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to implement projects to reduce the incidence of TBI.* CDC's focus on TBI has been centered at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. The TBI Act authorized CDC to conduct TBI surveillance, which resulted in state and national estimates of the incidence of TBI.1–3 However, a public health approach to disease and injury is not limited to surveillance and primary prevention (ie, reducing incidence) but includes both mitigation of the severity of the injury (secondary prevention) and reduction of the impact on quality of life (tertiary prevention). In the pursuit of secondary and tertiary prevention, CDC has partnered with the brain injury rehabilitation community to implement this broader public health approach.
This issue of the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation (JHTR) includes a section edited by colleagues from the Traumatic Brain Injury Team at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at CDC. This is the second collection of articles in JHTR contributed by CDC—the first published exactly 10 years ago. Jean Langlois (Orman) and Richard Sattin concluded the Preface to the first issue saying, “Continued efforts to share knowledge, expertise, ideas, and insights, and to leverage scarce resources, will help move all of us closer to the ultimate goals: the prevention of TBI and an improved quality of life for people with brain injuries and their families.”4(p188) Then, like today, resources remain scarce given the enormity and importance of the task. Then, like today, CDC has used strategic collaborations to deploy a broad-based public health approach to both prevent TBI and improve the quality of life of the injured and their families.
The Bell et al5 preface to the current issue enumerates the 4 pillars of the strategic plan for TBI recently adopted by CDC. The brain injury rehabilitation community will be especially encouraged to see pillar 4: “Promoting healthy lifestyles and improving health outcomes for persons living with TBI” (first page of Preface, this issue). While surveillance remains the cornerstone of the public health model, using the knowledge gained to reduce both incidence and burden of injury is the intended outcome and goal of the CDC TBI Team. JHTR is pleased to again provide a forum for the dissemination of scholarly works from our colleagues at CDC. The Editors applaud their emphasis on translating what we know about TBI into measures to decrease the burden of injury on individuals, families, and the society.
John D. Corrigan, PhD, ABPP
1. Faul M, Xu L, Wald MM, Coronado VG. Traumatic Brain Injury in the United States: Emergency Department Visits, Hospitalizations and Deaths 2002–2006. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control; 2010.
2. Langlois JA, Kegler SR, Butler JA, et al. Traumatic brain injury-related hospital discharges. Results from a 14-state surveillance system, 1997. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2003;52(4):1–20.
3. Coronado VG, Thomas KE, Sattin RW, Johnson RL. The CDC traumatic brain injury surveillance system: characteristics of persons aged 65 years and older hospitalized with a TBI. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2005;20(3):215–228.
4. Langlois JA, Sattin RW. Traumatic brain injury in the United States: research and programs of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2005;20(3):187–188.
5. Bell JM, Taylor CA, Breiding MJ. Preface. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2015;30(3).
* Pub L No. 104-166, §393a (A) (July 29, 1996).