Forty years ago, right before I was born, my dad was in an auto accident resulting in a TBI.  I grew up hearing about what a nice person he used to be, which I found odd, because he was usually still a pretty nice person.  I knew he had “brain damage,” as he called it.  Of course, this was usually said by way of consolation, and to my dad's credit, he himself never made such excuses for his behavior, and have many fond memories of his affectionate and loving heart.

I grew up in Utah.  There was no BI Community (or much of a mental health support system at all), but there was plenty of stigma towards those with mental health issues.  My dad found this appalling and became what he calls a mental health consumer advocate and anti-stigma activist.  I frequently participated in events he supported or organized.  This environment enriched my experience (though at the time I didn’t necessarily see it as such) by giving me a unique perspective about community psychology and preparing me to help individuals with BI (and/or other mental health issues).  

One of the things my dad struggled with the most was his anger.  His inability to control it was the basis of his long-fought SSI Disability claim (which he eventually one).  The psychosocial conflicts indicative of many families with BI members were common in our family.  He and my mother divorced, remarried and divorced again when I was in my early teens.   

I think it was these experiences that motivated me to  intensively studied neuroscience since 1996 (my original career goal was to become a neuroscientist), with a keen eye on the relationship between brain change and behavior change.

Some related projects.

  • Residential Advocate
    Dec 2005 to Jul 2007
    Worked one on one in a men's homeless shelter where I constantly interacted with individuals with brain injuries and other mental health issues.
  • Research, Clerical & Administrative Assistant
    Jan 2004 to Apr 2005
    Principle researcher, clerk and administrative assistant for the Creative Industries Studies Program.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury Research
    2000 to 2001
    My entire senior year as an undergraduate I was part of a Community Psychology Capstone project where I assisted Oregon Health & Sciences Uiniversity’s Traumatic Brain Injury Research Team finalize a study on rehabilitation services efficacy in Oregon for adults with traumatic brain injury. I was assigned the task of coding Community Resource Advocate case management notes and was supervised by a traumatic brain injury community resource advocate.
  • Assisted Living Specialist
    Apr 1995 to Apr 1996
    Life skills training for teen and adult autistic populations.  MANDT Certified.
  • Counselor & Activity Specialist: 1990 to 1994: Worked closely with special education populations.
  • Victim Offender Mediator (During graduate school, 2002-2003)
  • Community Mediator (During graduate school, 2002, 2003)  
  • Some Relevant Under Graduate Courses: Physiological Psychology, Community Psychology, Discourse Ethics, Mind & Brain, Mind & Society, Learning, Personal & Social Adjustment, Developmental Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, Interpersonal Communication, Small Group Communication
  • Care Attendant ('90-'91): Worked Closely with Dementia Patients
  • Peer Tutor: (90): History Of Civilization

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brain injury feels like a last breath the pain and panic is intense and noone sees it, were left for dead.

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