Allen W. Brown, M.D., studies the process of providing medical rehabilitation care to individuals after their brain function has been altered by injury or disease. The long-term goal of Dr. Brown's research is to improve participation in roles meaningful to these individuals through testing of rehabilitation models of care in the real world. Dr. Brown's research team works within the communities of the Upper Midwest to study population-based epidemiology of brain injury, new technology interventions to provide brain rehabilitation services to individuals remotely, and design community-based randomized pragmatic clinical trials of complex behavioral interventions to improve quality of life after brain injury.
- Epidemiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Dr. Brown and colleagues have established a population-based cohort of individuals with TBI using the resources of the Rochester Epidemiology Project. A recently funded analysis will expand this cohort and follow it over time to see whether these individuals develop Alzheimer's disease or related disorders when compared with a matched control group.
- Providing brain rehabilitation services remotely. Dr. Brown and collaborators are testing the use of in-home motion sensing and communication technology (ReAbility) to provide brain rehabilitation services to individuals with impairment due to stroke, with care remotely directed and monitored by clinicians.
- Community-based randomized pragmatic clinical trials. Dr. Brown is project director of Mayo Clinic's Traumatic Brain Injury Model System Center. The goal of the current trial is to test a model of care that delivers specialized brain rehabilitation resources to patients and providers in underserved locations. The trial is occurring in Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota and South Dakota among three health systems and two state departments of health. Web-based electronic technology is being used to improve system capacity, care access and outcomes with no face-to-face patient contact.
Significance to patient care
Population-based epidemiology allows providers to estimate health care needs over time. Using this knowledge, Dr. Brown's team designs community-based clinical trials to address these needs so that the results can be immediately applied to clinical care in the real world, because the clinical intervention was tested in the communities in which it will be used. Research collaborators are community organizations, state agencies, private companies and local providers who are involved in both the design and implementation of the research, making the process translational.