Boston Childrens named Massachusetts Lead Center for Prevention of Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury

June 4, 2009

Boston, Mass. -- Children's Hospital Boston has been named the National Lead Center for the Prevention of Pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (PABI) and the Massachusetts Lead Center for PABI by the Sarah Jane Brain Project (SJBP), a national organization focused on the prevention and treatment of acquired brain injury in children. In an announcement being made in Washington, DC on Friday, Children's will be recognized by the SJBP and will become a part of the SJBP nationwide effort to collaboratively address the problem of acquired brain injury, the leading cause of death and disability among children, adolescents and young adults.

"Pediatric brain injury requires extensive treatment and rehabilitation, yet has the potential to be avoided and its effects lessened," says Mark Proctor, MD, director of the Children's Brain Injury Program. "Children's is proud to be recognized by the Sarah Jane Brain Project and to be part of this incredible initiative that is bringing much needed attention to such a significant health issue."

An estimated 5.3 million people--2 percent of the US population--live with sustained disabilities from traumatic brain injury, and about 4,000 new cases happen every day. The unprecedented collaborative from SBJP seeks to implement a network across the country that will address all aspects of care for brain injury treatment including prevention, rehabilitation, acute care and adult transition.

Dr. Proctor and David Mooney, MD, MPH, director of the Trauma Program at Children's, have been instrumental in the development of the SJBP collaboration. This past January they joined over 60 of the nation's top pediatric brain injury experts in New York City and drafted the first-ever National PABI Plan, which calls for the development of a national system of collaboration to address the issue. The Children's Brain Injury Program has served as the model for the plan to be adopted widely by the SJBP.

"The Children's brain injury and trauma programs are exemplary, and it is truly an honor to have Children's be part of this initiative and serve as the Massachusetts Lead Center and the National Center for Prevention," says Sarah Jane founder Patrick Donohue.

Donohue started the SJBP in October 2007 after his daughter Sarah Jane was shaken by her baby nurse causing a severe brain injury. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), PABI is the number one cause of morbidity and mortality for children and youth. In 2008, the WHO also reported that there were twice as many children who suffered a brain injury than those who received stitches.

Pediatric traumatic brain injury also causes an extreme financial burden. According to the Center for Disease Control, the estimated annual cost to treat brain injury patients is more than $12 billion. This figure does not include the significant financial impact of those children and adolescents, who because of their PABI will never be able to contribute financially or otherwise to society as adults, nor does it include lost productivity of the injured's parents and family. The national announcement will be made at a press conference on Capitol Hill in Washington DC at 11 a.m. on Friday June 5, Sarah Jane's fourth birthday.

Jamie Newton

Children's Hospital Boston is home to the world's largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center, where its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. More than 500 scientists, including eight members of the National Academy of Sciences, 11 members of the Institute of Medicine and 12 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute comprise Children's research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Children's Hospital Boston today is a 397-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care grounded in the values of excellence in patient care and sensitivity to the complex needs and diversity of children and families. Children's also is the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. For more information about the hospital and its research visit: