Advancing TBI Care for Veterans: Updates from the Polytrauma System of Care

DVBIC Webinar Series: Hot Topics in Traumatic Brain Injury

This webinar was held on June 19, 2013 from 1 PM to 2:30 PM EDT.


The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Polytrauma System of Care provides comprehensive, high quality, interdisciplinary rehabilitation. Teams of providers plan and administer an individually tailored rehabilitation plan to maximize recovery and functional independence. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) care is available throughout the entire Polytrauma System of Care, which includes five Rehabilitation Centers, five Transitional Rehabilitation Programs, 23 Network Sites, 87 Support Clinic Teams and 39 points of contact.

The speakers will describe the types of care available in the VA Polytrauma System and how to access rehabilitation programs. They will highlight special VA projects and programs that promote improved access and quality for veterans diagnosed with TBI. Finally, they will present research findings and recommendations to enhance quality in future program development.


Alison Cernich
Alison Cernich
, Ph.D., ABPP
Board Certified in Clinical Neuropsychology
Acting Deputy Director for Veterans Affairs for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI (DCoE)

Alison Cernich, Ph.D., is a board certified neuropsychologist, who serves as the acting deputy director for Veterans Affairs for DCoE. She received her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University, completed a pre-doctoral research fellowship in rehabilitation outcomes measurement at the Kessler Medical Rehabilitation Research & Education Corp. — funded by the National Institutes of Disability and Rehabilitation Research — and a post-doctoral fellowship in cognitive neurosciences at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, D.C. She was previously the director of neuropsychology and director of the Polytrauma Support Clinical Team at the VA Maryland Health Care System. She is an assistant professor of neurology and psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She is the lead or contributing author on multiple peer-reviewed articles and conference presentations, with a specific emphasis on TBI and computerized neuropsychological assessment.

Treven Pickett
Treven Pickett
, PsyD, ABPP
Board Certified in Rehabilitation Psychology
Acting VA Senior Liaison for TBI for the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI (DCoE)

Treven Pickett, PsyD, ABPP, is a neuropsychologist and board certified rehabilitation psychologist. Dr. Pickett has served as the associate chief and supervisory psychologist for the Mental Health Service at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center in Richmond, Va., since February 2008. In this position, his responsibilities have included the supervision of the Psychology Section, Homeless Program and Compensated Work Therapy programs. Dr. Pickett was the training director for a rehabilitation psychology fellowship (2007-2010), and he continues to co-direct a Mental Illness Research and Clinical Center psychology fellowship program. His clinical involvements in the VA system have ranged from those as a neuropsychologist in the Polytrauma System of Care to psychological assessment and intervention services for veterans with a spectrum of mental health conditions. Dr. Pickett is the principal investigator on studies investigating the neurocognitive sequelae of TBI and PTSD through the VISN 6 Mental Illness Research and Education Clinical Center and DVBIC-Richmond.


Joel Scholten
, M.D.
Associate Chief of Staff, Rehabilitation Services, Washington DC VA Medical Center
Special Projects Director, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, VA Central Office

Joel Scholten, M.D., received his medical degree at the University of South Dakota and completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) at Eastern Virginia Graduate School of Medicine. Dr. Scholten joined the VA in 1998 as the medical director of the Brain Injury Rehabilitation program at the Tampa VA before transferring to the Washington DC VA Medical Center to assume the role of associate chief of staff for rehabilitation services. Dr. Scholten also works in the VA Central Office within the PM&R Program Office as the national director of special projects. His research interests include TBI, polytrauma and pain. Dr. Scholten is an associate clinical professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. He is also the clinical coordinator of the VA’s Polytrauma/Blast-Related Injuries QUERI.

Continuing Education (CE)

Registration opens June 10. Those desiring CE credit must have registered for the webinar by June 16, 11:59 p.m.

DVBIC’s awarding of continuing education (CE) credit is limited in scope to health care providers who actively provide psychological health and TBI care to U.S. active-duty service members, reservists, National Guardsmen, military veterans and/or their families.

Contracted companies are responsible for their employee development and training. Contractors should review their respective scope of work (SOW) or personnel qualification guidelines to ensure they meet minimum requirements. The authority for training of contractors is at the discretion of the chief contracting official. Currently, only those contractors with SOWs or with commensurate contract language are permitted in this training.

This webinar has been approved for the following:

  • 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
  • 1.5 Credits by the American Psychological Association
  • 1.5 Nursing contact hours as a co-provider with the American Nurses Credentialing Center
  • 1.75 CE Contact hours for Physical Therapist and Assistant approved by the State of Illinois
  • 1.75 CE Contact hours for Occupational Therapist and Assistant approved by the State of Illinois
  • 1.5 CEHs for Social Work approved by the Missouri Division of Professional Registration Committee for Social Work

Please read the full accreditation information. It is the responsibility of participants to understand their board’s continuing education requirements.

Additional Resources

  1. Boone, K. B. (2007). Assessment of Feigned Cognitive Impairment. New York: The Guilford Press.
  2. Bush, S., Ruff, R., Troster, A., Barth, J., Koffler, S., Pliskin, N. et al (2005).  NAN position paper: Symptom validity assessment: Practice issues and medical necessity.  Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 20, 419-426. 
  3. Carone, D. A., Iverson, G. L., & Bush, S. S. (2010). A model to approaching and providing feedback to patients regarding invalid test performance in clinical neuropsychological evaluations. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 24(5), 759-778.
  4. Heilbronner, R. L., Sweet, J. J., Morgan, J. E., Larrabee, G. J., Millis, S. R. & Conference Participants.  (2009). American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology consensus conference statement on the neuropsychological assessment of effort, response bias, and malingering.  The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 12, 1093-1129.
  5. Imwinkelreid, E. J. (1993). The Daubert Decision on the Admissability of Scientific Evidence: The Supreme Court Chooses the Right Piece for All the Evidentiary Puzzles.  Journal of Civil Rights and Economic Development, 9, 1-32.
  6. Larrabee, G. J. (2002).  Detection of malingering using atypical performance patterns of standard neuropsychological tests.  The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 17, 410-425. 
  7. Larrabee, G. J. (2008). Aggregation across multiple indicators improves the detection of malingering: Relationship to likelihood ratios. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 22(4), 666-679.
  8. Larrabee, G. J. (June 28, 2012). Performance validity, symptom validity, and malingering. Talk presented at Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg.
  9. Lezak, M. D., Howieson, D. B., Bigler, E. D., & Tadnel, D. (2012). Neuropsychological Assessment, Fifth Edition. New York: Oxford University Press.
  10. Mittenberg, W., Patton, C., Canyock, E., & Condit, D.  (2002). Base rates of malingering and symptom exaggeration.  Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 24, 1094-1102.
  11. Slick, D. J., Sherman, E. M. S., & Iverson, G. L. (1999). Diagnostic criteria for malingered neurocognitive dysfunction: Proposed standards for clinical practice and research. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 13(4), 545-561


If you have any questions, please email

Read more about additional online education opportunities.

Previous Webinars

Apr. 17, 2013 - Acute Severe TBI: Lessons Learned and Prospects for Future Treatment
Speaker: Donald W. Marion, MD, MSc., Senior Clinical Consultant, Clinical Affairs, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
To read an overview of the webinar and view the presentation click here

March 20, 2013 - Intimacy: Sex, Drugs and TBI
Speaker:  Sally P. Cummings, Ed.D., FNP, Concussion Care Clinic, Department of Brain Injury Care, Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC
To read an overview of the webinar and view the presentation click here

Feb. 20, 2013 - Overview of Imaging for TBI from Current Standards to Advanced Techniques
Speaker: LTC Gerald York, M.D., Director of Research, Radiology, Co-Site Director, DVBIC - San Antonio Military Medical Center, TX
To read an overview of the webinar and view the presentation click here

Jan. 16, 2013 - Post-traumatic Headaches in the Military Population: Initial Management and Alternate Approaches 
Speakers: Dr. Marc S. Husid & Dr. John L. Rigg, Neuroscience and Rehabilitation Center, Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, GA
Continuing education credits can be obtained until Feb. 13, 2013 for those who preregistered for, and participated in, the webinar.
To read an overview of the webinar and view the presentation click here

Nov. 28, 2012 The Battle Within:  TBI, PTSD and Violence Risk
Speaker:  Dr. Cynthia Boyd, DVBIC-NMC, San Diego
Continuing education credits can be obtained until Dec. 28, 2012 for those who preregistered for, and participated in, the webinar.
To read an overview of the webinar and view the presentation click here