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Music, family outreach headline upcoming Science Café dealing with head injuries

By Paul Bello, National Museum of Health and Medicine

SILVER SPRING, Md. - With the new school year fast approaching, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) and National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) are teaming up to offer families a fun-filled forum where they can learn how to minimize the risk of concussion, as well as how to recognize symptoms of a traumatic brain injury. The presentation, "Your Head Matters: Wear a Helmet," takes place during NMHM's monthly Medical Museum Science Café, Tuesday, Aug. 25 from 6-7 p.m. in Silver Spring, Maryland.

The free evening program promises to be informative, entertaining and unique, as Washington-based singer/songwriter Marsha Goodman-Wood will also be on hand to perform original songs that educate children about safety. Wood's academic background is in cognitive neuroscience and her latest album, Gravity Vacation, includes a song entitled "Wear a Helmet," a tribute to a high school friend who was injured in an accident.

"We want to reach school age kids, as well as parents, and feel her (Wood) songs are a perfect complement to the night's theme," said Pamela Sjolinder, regional education coordinator for DVBIC. "Our goal for presentations like this is to talk to parents and kids on a level where kids can understand the material. Most of all, we want this to be fun for everyone involved."

DVBIC will have a table of information available, such as its parent guides detailing what to do when a child suffers a concussion or when to send children back to school following an injury. These guides also offer tips on how to stay off the computer and how to cut back on physical education. The Shannon Maxwell books, "Big Boss Brain" and "My Dad is Invincible," written especially for children of military parents who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, will also be available for families to take at the program.

Sjolinder, who briefs all the youth sports teams at Fort Belvoir and who has worked this summer with its youth soccer and basketball camps, will also have a table where she will provide a hands-on demonstration on how to properly wear a bicycle helmet. She will be joined by her colleague, Sherray Holland, a physician's assistant and fellow educator at DVBIC, who has worked at a concussion care center helping youth athletes. She will make a presentation that highlights the organization's new educational initiative, "A Head for the Future," which has additional information about concussions and prevention tips.

"Parents don't always know what to do with their child after a concussion. School teachers or athletic coaches understand the symptoms, but not so much the parents," Sjolinder said. "One thing I try to do is ask them questions because most don't know what to ask. A presentation like this definitely helps mom and dad."

NMHM's Medical Museum Science Cafés are a regular series of informal talks that connect the mission of the Department of Defense museum with the public. NMHM was founded as the Army Medical Museum in 1862 and moved to its new location in Silver Spring, Md. in 2012. For more information on this program or other NMHM activities, please visit www.medicalmuseum.mil.

 

Caption: Pamela Sjolinder, an educator with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), discusses the importance of wearing a sports helmet to a middle school student during Brain Awareness Week, which was held at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Silver Spring, Md. March 16-20, 2015.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released
Caption: Pamela Sjolinder, an educator with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), discusses the importance of wearing a sports helmet with a middle school student during Brain Awareness Week, which was held at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Silver Spring, Md. March 16-20, 2015.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)
Caption: Pamela Sjolinder, an educator with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC), shows middle school students what a brain bleed looks like while using a plastinated brain specimen during Brain Awareness Week, which was held at the National Museum of Health and Medicine (NMHM) in Silver Spring, Md. March 16-20, 2015.

(National Museum of Health and Medicine photo by Matthew Breitbart / Released)