Newswise — (NEW YORK, NY – February 2, 2017) Clinical neuropsychologist Kristen Dams-O’Connor, PhD, has been named Director of The Brain Injury Research Center (BIRC) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS). Dr. Dams-O’Connor, currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at ISMMS, will replace Wayne A. Gordon, PhD, the Jack Nash Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, who is stepping down from his position as Director of BIRC after nearly thirty years of remarkable leadership. Dr. Gordon will continue to be actively engaged in research, teaching and clinical care. He remains the principal investigator of the Injury Control Research Center of Mount Sinai and of the New York Traumatic Brain Injury Model System. Dr. Dams-O’Connor’s research focuses on improving the health, longevity, and quality of life for survivors of traumatic brain injury (TBI) by understanding factors associated with long-term health and functioning.

“We are grateful for Dr. Wayne Gordon’s leadership of the BIRC over the last three decades,” said Joseph E. Herrera, DO, Chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine for the Mount Sinai Health System. “The collective knowledge, expertise and experience that Kristen brings to the Rehabilitation Department will only strengthen the BIRC and reinforce Mount Sinai as a leader in this important field.

Dr. Dams-O’Connor’s research investigating long-term clinical and pathological outcomes associated with TBI is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She serves as Co-Project Director of the New York TBI Model System and Director of Research in The Mount Sinai Injury Control Research Center, a program funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since 2014, she has also served as Co-Director of the BIRC at Mount Sinai.

“This is a very exciting time for TBI research, as we are getting closer to answering some of the questions about long-term outcomes that matter most to people living with brain injury,” says Dr. Dams-O’Connor. “I look forward to leading a collaborative team that will make major contributions to this important area of work.”

Dr. Dams-O’Connor has an extensive background in clinical neuropsychology. She completed post-graduate training in advanced statistical and psychometric methods, and has expertise in the design and implementation of TBI clinical trials, measurement, and outcome research. She has built interdisciplinary collaborations with researchers across the United States and has led local and multi-center research projects. Her research is currently supported by federal grants from the NIH, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, and the CDC. Dr. Dams-O’Connor has authored more than 50 peer-reviewed scientific manuscripts and book chapters, and has presented her work nationally and internationally.

The Brain Injury Research Center at Mount Sinai is one of 16 Model Systems Centers across the United States funded by the National Institutes on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. The BIRC is also a CDC-funded Injury Control Research Center, which conducts research in all three core phases of injury control: prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation. Since 1987, the BIRC has conducted cutting-edge research aimed at improving the health and quality of life of individuals living with brain injury.

About the Mount Sinai Health SystemThe Mount Sinai Health System is an integrated health system committed to providing distinguished care, conducting transformative research, and advancing biomedical education. Structured around seven hospital campuses and a single medical school, the Health System has an extensive ambulatory network and a range of inpatient and outpatient services—from community-based facilities to tertiary and quaternary care.

The System includes approximately 7,100 primary and specialty care physicians; 12 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 140 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. Physicians are affiliated with the renowned Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, which is ranked among the highest in the nation in National Institutes of Health funding per investigator. The Mount Sinai Hospital is in the “Honor Roll” of best hospitals in America, ranked No. 15 nationally in the 2016-2017 “Best Hospitals” issue of U.S. News & World Report. The Mount Sinai Hospital is also ranked as one of the nation’s top 20 hospitals in Geriatrics, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Nephrology, Neurology/Neurosurgery, and Ear, Nose & Throat, and is in the top 50 in four other specialties. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 10 nationally for Ophthalmology, while Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, and Mount Sinai West are ranked regionally. Mount Sinai’s Kravis Children’s Hospital is ranked in seven out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report in "Best Children's Hospitals."

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