Learning from Trauma: Battling Brain Injury for Soldiers and Civilians

When people write about Alisa Gean-Gersh, MD, they use phrases like “acknowledged global expert,” and “world-class neuroradiologist.” The work that draws such praise is her look at traumatic brain injury (TBI) from its sources in bombings and battle.

Dr. Gean’s single-author text, Brain Injury: Applications from War and Terrorism, pulls together her decades of interest in TBI, and her dedication to men and women who have been injured in the line of duty.  The books includes information and research gathered from nearly 30 years studying civilian TBI and five intensive years studying TBI sustained from combat, terrorism, and natural disasters.

Although TBI is often a hidden injury, it is of epidemic proportions affecting millions of Americans. TBI is the “signature injury” of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, where Dr. Gean has spent time volunteering. It is critical that TBI be recognized as a major public health problem, no matter where it results from: war trauma, terrorism, natural disaster or in the civilian setting.

Like all of us, Dr. Gean would prefer a more peaceful world. But as long as that peace is elusive, she says, “May the lessons from my experiences be shared to improve the care for the victims.”

Her expertise in civilian and combat TBI has also led Dr. Gean to consult on head injuries for the National Football League.

UCSF Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging has cultivated the knowledge, skills, and highly focused talents of an extraordinary team of clinicians, researchers, and teachers. Each doctor is a seasoned expert, thoughtful scientist, and caring professional – as well as a specialist in multiple fields of innovative medical practices. 

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