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Physicians Update


Physicians Update

Spring 2012

Dr. David Hovda’s Mission: Helping the Brain to Recover

A little more than two years after David A. Hovda, Ph.D., was told by U.S. military officials during a briefing that injuries such as concussion and mild traumatic brain injury were not a serious concern he was honored for his contributions to caring for the nation's wounded warriors. 

Specifically, Dr. Hovda, director of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center, received the U.S. Army's 2011 Strength of the Nation Award for his research that led to a system for the diagnosis and recovery of traumatic brain injury on the battlefield. Dr. Hovda's efforts have helped hundreds of military men and women at war receive treatment for
mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).

He was instrumental in alerting the Department of Defense to the setbacks soldiers can suffer from repeated blows to the head and injury to the brain. He assembled and led a panel of experts that advised on establishing frontline medical installations designed to treat potential TBI injuries. Dr. Hovda also led a mission to Afghanistan to ensure proper implementation of the new facilities and protocols, among other tasks.

Dr. Hovda, who has devoted most of his career to understanding the mechanisms of recovery of brain function, was also a key figure in establishing the National Intrepid Center of Excellence in Bethesda, Maryland, a medical facility built with private funds for military service men and women with traumatic brain injury and mental health issues. Dr. Hovda's efforts to understand and treat TBI have now become part of Operation Mend, a partnership between UCLA Health and the military to help treat U.S. personnel severely wounded during service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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