New online tool connects Alaskans with traumatic brain injury to care

Screenshot of the new online tool that helps people locate resources for treating brain injuries. (Courtesy of Alaska Division of Public Health)

The Alaska Division of Public Health released a new online tool in March to help people with traumatic brain injuries find health care. The website has an interactive map with listings of providers all over the state who work with people who have brain injuries.

Daniella DeLozier, who works for the state division of public health, said there are many ways to tailor search results with the new tool. 

“You can look by region, you can look by health insurance type, and you can look by type of service that you’re looking for,” DeLozier said. “And then, you can favorite things and then send that list of favorites to you know, grandma, or to a client, a friend, or parent.”

The tool also allows people to access resources for veterans and to find providers accepting medicare and medicaid.

Alaska has the highest rate of traumatic brain injury in the country at twice the national average and the effects can be severe, including memory loss, mood swings, light sensitivity, and headaches. Many of those injuries come from people falling or car crashes. Some brain injuries are preventable, by wearing helmets or ice grips on shoes in the winter. 

DeLozier said all age groups are impacted by brain injuries but the division also hopes the tool will make it easier for students to return to school sooner. She said getting help for brain injuries as soon as possible helps prevent further injury. 

“Screening is actually considered prevention because once you have one head injury, you’re much more likely to then get another one and another one,” DeLozier said. 

The public health division collaborated with the University of Oregon and other organizations in Alaska to create the tool

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Rachel Cassandra covers health and wellness for Alaska Public Media. Reach her Read more about Rachel here.

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