Maj. Jaime Pons-Valerio, U.S. Air Force
DVBIC Site Director
The Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) Clinic where DVBIC operates is the sole Air Force-based TBI facility. It was started in a room at the hospital in 2009, staffed by one physician and a nurse. The clinic has since grown to a staff of 14. In February 2012, the clinic moved into a new outpatient wing of the hospital. The new clinic facility was designed to provide a quiet, low-stimulation environment for TBI patients. It contains state-of-the-art diagnostic and rehabilitative equipment, including one of only two clinical driving simulators in Alaska.
The mTBI Clinic works closely with other hospital departments to provide diagnostic services and care to a population of more than 12,000 active-duty service members, in addition to dependents and retirees. In 2015, the clinic treated 235 new patients. Currently, an average of 20 new patients per month receive diagnostic services at the clinic. Approximately 20 percent of those patients consequently receive care directly from clinic providers.
Services provided directly by the clinic include medical evaluation by a physician or nurse practitioner, nurse case management, pain management, speech therapy, occupational therapy, acupuncture, behavioral health counseling and education.
At the JBER mTBI Clinic, the patient is our mission. Our patients’ physical, psychological, occupational and social well-being is our highest priority. Traditional medical therapies such as medication management, occupational therapy, speech therapy and psychotherapy are complemented with acupuncture, restorative yoga, massage chairs and educational consultation for a holistic approach. Our dedicated medical providers and administrative and support staff work cooperatively to maintain an encouraging, healing environment, with the ultimate goal of returning the service member to maximum personal and professional function.
The DVBIC regional education coordinator provides service members, veterans, family members, health care providers and community members with the latest information about TBI.
Education and outreach activities include:
- Awareness briefs to commanders and line leaders, Family Resource Groups, active-duty service members, veterans special interest groups, and medical providers
- TBI Basics for chaplains and other ancillary and support personnel
- Social media and other public TBI awareness campaigns
- An education class for newly diagnosed mTBI service members
- One-on-one education consultations with patients and spouses
- Facilitating provider trainings
- Coordinating with community-based organizations and support groups