This interview is with a panel of three Rusk leaders: Dr. Tamara Bushnik, Dr. Brian Im, and Michelle Smith.
Dr. Tamara Bushnik is an Associate Professor and Director of Inter-Hospital Research and Knowledge Translation at Rusk Rehabilitation. She is is the Project Director of the current RuskTraumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) at NYU. She has over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts since joining the project. She has been the Chair of the TBIMS Knowledge Translation Committee since 1999 and has led the selection of topics for the popular traumatic brain injury Fact Sheets and end-of-grant-cycle special issues/sections highlighting TBIMS research.
Dr. Brian Im is the director of brain injury rehabilitation at Rusk where he treats both inpatients and outpatients in the brain injury rehabilitation program. He is heavily involved in program development and academic medicine. He is the program director for the ACGME accredited brain injury medicine fellowship at NYU School of Medicine, has an active role in TBI research, and in the TBIMS projects. His research focus of interest is in studying the health care disparities and differences that exist in TBI care for different populations.
Michelle Smith is an Assistant Research Scientist where she manages day-to-day activities of studies, including the TBIMS National Database. She has a professional background and interests in health communications with the goal of providing vital information to patients to help improve their health through increasing health literacy. Prior to her current role, she managed the development and implementation of research studies to improve health in the underserved community of Harlem by developing and maintaining a website and a randomized-controlled trial to reduce hypertension.
During the interview, the three discuss: treatment of older patients who sustained a traumatic brain injury; interventions necessary when patients' health literacy levels are low; addressing patients’ treatment preferences when they have different beliefs about the nature of health problems; and how patients' level of emotional functioning can affect treatment outcomes.