Northern Virginia, Quantico
Heechin Chae, M.D.
DVBIC Site Director
Heechin Chae was appointed site director of DVBIC at Fort Belvoir, Va., and chief of the Traumatic Brain Injury Department at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital in 2011. He will become the director of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence satellite at Fort Belvoir in 2013. Chae is board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation as well as pain medicine and has additional training for medical acupuncture. Prior to coming to Fort Belvoir, he spent almost 15 years at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in the Harvard Medical School system in Boston. He was involved in extensive research and teaching activities while treating patients with mild, moderate and severe TBI. After serving as medical director of the Brain Injury Program at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, he started a new TBI department at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. Chae has been recognized throughout his career with several awards, including the Teacher of the Year award, the Young Mentor Award from Harvard Medical School, and “Medical All-Star” by the Boston Red Sox. He received his medical school training at Virginia Commonwealth University and completed his physical medicine and rehabilitation residency at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital through the Harvard Medical School system.
The DVBIC team at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital TBI Department assists with the interdisciplinary evaluation of service members who are suspected of TBI. Once the evaluation process is completed, patients with TBI undergo interdisciplinary rehabilitation and treatment. The DVBIC staff, along with the rest of multidisciplinary staff in the TBI department, prides itself on the outstanding clinical care and teamwork that allows the teams to craft individualized treatment plans for each patient. The TBI clinic can manage the full spectrum of acquired brain injury (mild to severe). The clinic is led by the DVBIC site director, a physiatrist with extensive training in TBI evaluation and management. He leads two rehabilitation teams, each team consisting of a physician assistant/nurse practitioner, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, neuropsychologist, psychologist, therapeutic recreation specialist and care coordinator. The DVBIC component includes medical management, neuropsychology, family assessment, administration and education support.
Regional Education Outreach
Materials and classes are provided to patients, caregivers, family and children to provide a better understanding of TBI and their treatment at FBCH.
Classes, materials and resources are available, specific to family members, caregivers and children.
In-services are coordinated with military and non-military brain injury organizations, researchers, the Warrior Transition Battalion, specialists in alternative therapies, various hospital departments including internal medicine and optometry, and many others. In-services are attended by TBI staff at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, neurology, optometry/ophthalmology and Warrior Transition Unit. Grand Rounds at Fort Detrick and Walter Reed in Maryland and Brooke Army Medical Center in Texas are offered via video teleconference to staff when available.
TBI demonstrations, presentations, literature and fact sheets on TBI/sports concussions are provided to children, parents, teachers and coaches in the region. This outreach effort includes participating in various school events and initiating communication with public schools. Exhibits at health fairs, Yellow Ribbon events and small-to-large conferences also are included in this initiative. (Shown at left: Laura Wolf, a regional education coordinator at Fort Belvoir, talks to a soldier at Army Safety Day June 1, 2012, at Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall. U.S. Army Photo by Tina Vilca.)
Media goals include coverage of TBI at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital through local/garrison publications, trade publications, social media and traditional major outlets on a regular basis through the local public affairs officer.
Care coordination works with TBI patients who have received care at the clinic to survey current resources and our family outreach capabilities, and seek improvements by constantly tracking and tailoring programs for a patient-centered experience. Care coordinators ensure optimal communication between the treatment team, primary care manager, outside case managers and the referring provider.
Military Needs Assessment
This pilot program includes consultations with behavioral health, psychological health, TBI clinicians, the wounded warrior regiment, local National Guard bureaus and Reserve components within the area and other military branches. Also included in this assessment are the directors of the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital social work, case management, family advocacy, wounded warrior and child adolescent psychology programs.
On July 22, 2013, the the National Intrepid Center of Excellence Fort Belvoir satellite opened its doors to patient care. This new facility, also referred to as the Interpid Spirit One, will further support the interdisciplinary, holistic TBI treatment model established by the DVBIC site director at Fort Belvoir Community Hospital and offer continued care for wounded warriors and families with the full spectrum of mild to severe TBI.