News Release

Kessler Foundation scientists study impact of cultural diversity in brain injury research

More research needed to reduce health disparities and improve outcomes among minorities with brain injury

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Kessler Foundation

Anthony Lequerica, Ph.D., Kessler Foundation

image: Dr. Lequerica is a research scientist in traumatic brain injury research at Kessler Foundation. He is a co-investigator of the Northern NJ TBI System and assistant professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. view more 

Credit: Kessler Foundation

West Orange, NJ. August 27, 2014. Kessler Foundation scientists examined the implications for cultural diversity and cultural competence in brain injury research and rehabilitation. The article by Anthony Lequerica, PhD, and Denise Krch, PhD: Issues of cultural diversity in acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation (doi:10.3233/NRE-141079) was published by Neurorehabilitation. Drs. Lequerica and Krch are research scientists in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research at Kessler Foundation and co-investigators for the Northern New Jersey TBI Model System.

Cultural sensitivity is an important consideration for professionals in brain injury research and rehabilitation. With the growth in minority populations, more minorities are being included in the patient population with acquired brain injury. Moreover, their risk for brain injury is higher, as is the likelihood for poorer outcomes. Studies show that among minorities who receive rehabilitation after brain injury, health disparities persist and affect long-term outcomes. Growth in research in disability and rehabilitation is improving our understanding of the impact of culture on rehabilitation outcomes.

"While translating research to evidence-based treatments is an important pathway, clinical practice can also identify issues that need to be addressed through research," said Dr. Lequerica. "As our culture diversifies, providing effective care depends on acquiring the skills to deal with cultural factors that relate to ethnicity, religion, language, sexual orientation and religion. Raising cultural awareness among researchers and clinicians is essential to developing patient-centered interventions that reduce health disparities and improve outcomes for all patients with brain injury. We also need more studies that examine the interactions of complex cultural factors with individuals, providers and the environment."


Dr. Lequerica's postdoctoral fellowship was funded by an Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program sponsored by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. He also received a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award through the National Institutes of Health to continue his training in rehabilitation research.

Relevant articles:

Lequerica A, et al. The Community Integration Questionnaire: factor structure across racial/ethnic groups in persons with traumatic brain injury. J Head Trauma Rehabil. 2013;28(6):E14-22.

Ketchum J, Getachew MA, Krch D, Baños JH, Kolakowsky-Hayner SA, Lequerica A, Jamison L., Arango-Lasprilla JC. Early predictors of employment outcomes 1 year post traumatic brain injury in a population of Hispanic individuals, NeuroRehabilitation 2012; 30(1):13-22.

Ketchum JM, Getachew A, Krch D, Kolakowsky-Hayner SA, Baños JH, Lequerica A, Wright J, Arango-Lasprilla JC. Characteristics associated with satisfaction with life 1 year post traumatic brain injury in a population of Hispanic individuals, NeuroRehabilitation 2012; 30(1):23-33.

Perrin PB, Krch D, Sutter M, Snipes DJ, Arango-Lasprilla JC, Kolakowsky-Hayner SA, Wright J, & Lequerica A. Racial/ethnic disparities in mental health over the first two years after traumatic brain injury: A model systems study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil in press.

About TBI Research at Kessler Foundation

Nancy Chiaravalloti, PhD, is director of TBI Research and Neuropsychology & Neuroscience Research. Dr. Chiaravalloti is project director of the Northern New Jersey TBI System (NNJTBIS), a collaborative effort of Kessler Foundation, Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation, and local hospitals. John DeLuca, PhD is co-project director. NNJTBIS is one of 16 federally funded model systems that form a national comprehensive system of care, research, education and dissemination aimed at improving quality of life for people with TBI. NNJTBIS is supported by grant #H133A120030 from NIDRR. In addition to NIDRR and NIH, TBI research is funded by the New Jersey Commission on Brain Injury Research, the Department of Veterans Affairs and Children's Specialized Hospital. Kessler Foundation researchers have faculty appointments in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

About Kessler Foundation

Kessler Foundation, a major nonprofit organization in the field of disability, is a global leader in rehabilitation research that seeks to improve cognition, mobility and long-term outcomes, including employment, for people with neurological disabilities caused by diseases and injuries of the brain and spinal cord. Kessler Foundation leads the nation in funding innovative programs that expand opportunities for employment for people with disabilities. For more information, visit
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