Halifax Health Neuropsychologist Invited to Make Presentation At TQIP Meeting in California

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. – (October 9, 2018) – Eugene Rankin, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and clinical researcher for both the Halifax Health Level II Trauma Center and Halifax Health|Brooks Rehabilitation - Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation, was invited to present his co-authored research findings entitled –  Comprehensive Brain Injury Agitation Management in the Critical Care Setting Facilitates Improved Length of Stay: A Multidisciplinary Neurobehavioral Approach – at the Trauma Quality Improvement Program 2018 Scientific Meeting and Training sponsored by the American College of Surgeons in Anaheim, California on November 17, 2018.  The research findings were accepted by the organization’s Scientific Program Committee as an oral presentation during the international conference.

“The American College of Surgeons Trauma Quality Improvement Program (ACS TQIP®) works to elevate the quality of care for trauma patients, including here at Halifax Health, the area’s only Level II trauma center in Volusia and Flagler counties,” Dr. Rankin explains.  He adds, “TQIP accomplishes its work by collecting data from trauma centers across the nation, providing feedback about a program’s performance, and identifying institutional characteristics that the trauma center staff can implement to improve patient outcomes.  The program uses risk-adjusted benchmarking to provide the hospital with accurate national comparisons.  TQIP also provides education and training to help trauma center staff improve the quality of data and accurately interpret benchmark reports.”

This co-authored research project presents a comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to agitation management of persons with severe traumatic brain injury in the critical care setting.  Agitation following severe traumatic brain injury is a frequent component of recovery, often characterized by restlessness, impulsivity, excessive movements and repetitive behaviors.  The study examined consecutively admitted brain injury patients to Halifax Health’s trauma center over a six-month period.  Each patient’s level of agitation was accurately measured throughout their stay in the intensive care unit, and both environmental and drug treatments were used to manage agitation. 

Agitation was treated successfully in these patients, and most importantly, the average length of stay for these patients was significantly reduced to a stay similar to brain injury patients whose recovery was not complicated by agitation.  Agitation measurement of the type used in this investigation was a first in the intensive care unit setting, as was the coordinated and deliberate use of specific medications and combination of medications used to treat agitation, tailored to prevent adverse side-effects or delay recovery following brain injury.

Hired in 2016 to develop clinical and research programs within the Halifax Health and Brooks Rehabilitation - Center for Inpatient Rehabilitation systems, Dr. Rankin is board certified in clinical neuropsychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology.  He is a graduate of St. Louis University, receiving his doctoral degree in clinical psychology in 1992.  Dr. Rankin completed his residency at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1994.  He has more than 30 years of clinical experience, with clinical expertise in traumatic brain injury, psychometrics, and neurodegenerative disorders.  He has also served as program surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities from 1999 to 2003.  He has authored or coauthored 13 peer reviewed articles and book chapters and 15 published abstracts in neuropsychology, and has made more than 30 scientific presentations.

Co-authors Slobodan Jazarevic, M.D., medical director of Halifax Health’s trauma program, and Halifax Health trauma surgeon Rona Altaras, M.D., will also be in attendance at the November conference. 

Dr. Slobodan Jazarevic is the trauma medical director for Halifax Health and the chief executive officer of Global Trauma Systems, LLC.  He specializes in general, acute care and vascular surgeries.  He is a graduate of the University of Zagreb in Croatia and later went on to complete residencies at the Lankenau Hospital at Jefferson University in Philadelphia, followed by Vanderbilt University in Nashville.  He is board certified with the American Board of Surgical Critical Care, as well as the American Board of Surgery.  Native to Yugoslavia, Dr. Jazarevic immigrated to the United States and served with the U.S. Army.  He retired to the rank of colonel and is fluent in seven different languages.  He has participated in 29 various presentations, lectures, and scientific papers.

Halifax Health trauma surgeon Dr. Rona E. Altaras is a graduate of the Medical University of Graz in Austria and completed residencies with North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System in New York and Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania.  He has more than 20 years of experience.   

Additional co-authors of the research include Halifax Health Trauma Analyst Meghan Thomas and Halifax Health Trauma Quality Improvement Coordinator April Quimby.

Halifax Health

Recognized by The Joint Commission as a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures, Halifax Health serves Volusia and Flagler counties, providing a continuum of healthcare services through a network of organizations including a tertiary hospital, community hospital, freestanding emergency department, an urgent care, psychiatric services, a cancer treatment center with five outreach locations, the area’s largest hospice, a center for inpatient rehabilitation, outpatient rehabilitation clinics, primary care walk-in clinics, a walk-in clinic specializing in women’s health, a pediatric care community clinic, three children’s medical practices, a home healthcare agency, and an exclusive provider organization.  Halifax Health offers the area’s only Level II Trauma Center, Comprehensive Stroke Center, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Emergency Department, Child and Adolescent Behavioral Services, complete Neurosurgical Services, OB Emergency Department and Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for babies born as early as 28 weeks.  For more information, visit halifaxhealth.org.

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