NEW CHAPTER for Pacific Rehabilitation Research Training Center, helping those with brain injury

Every year in Hawai`i, traumatic brain injury sends about 10,000 people to the emergency departments of hospitals statewide.

The Pacific Basin Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (PBRRTC) at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) works with the Developmental Disabilities Division of the Hawai`i State Department of Health (DOH) to help raise awareness about and assist those coping with traumatic brain injuries. The center is also partnering with DOH to create a registry for people who have suffered neurotrauma (which includes traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and stroke).

On August 9, 2013, PBRRTC celebrated its relocation to 677 Ala Moana (formerly named “The Gold Bond Building”). A Native Hawaiian blessing was performed, and guests were welcomed by JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges, MD, and the Dean’s Special Assistant Dr. Satoru Izutsu, who has helped oversee the program for decades. Our video includes highlights of the ceremony, and an interview with Dr. Robin Brandt, the program’s director.

The training center, founded nearly 30 years ago at the University of Hawai`i Mānoa medical school, also partners with the Hawai`i Department of Human Services vocational rehabilitation program to help disabled people find jobs. Specifically, the center assists by providing needs assessment, evaluating standards and indicators, and compiling other reports that help improve state programs.

The center acts as a clearinghouse for information, sharing regular updates with disabled people. Some recent examples include:

• Staying Active May Save Your Brain (Cleveland Clinic Health Hub)
• Brainline Videos about Persons with Traumatic Brain Injury
• Spinal Cord Injury Focus electronic newsletter
• ADA Legal Series [free] Webinar: “The Anatomy and Myth of the ADA Drive-by Lawsuit”
• New Manual based on Universal Design for Student Accommodation
• New York Roll New Logo for Access for People with Disabilities
• Military sharpens new tools to deal with brain injuries
• The Psychological Effects of Stroke
• Updated ADA National Network DISABILITY LAW Handbook available for download

The work of the PBRRTC, funded though grants from the Hawai`i State Legislature, produced the highly regarded “Ho`oikaika,” a peer mentoring project to help adults with traumatic brain injury learn to live with their disability (2008-2012). You can see the results of the peer-mentoring project at

The Director of the PBRRTC, Dr. Robin Brandt, is a UHM Alumna who has worked with PBRRTC since 1994, and became its leader in 2004. She holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy and a PhD in political science from UH-Mānoa.

Dr. Brandt may be reached at (808) 692-1370 or