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Coalition for Recovery and Innovation in Traumatic Brain Injury Care Across the Lifespan (CRITICAL)



Project Summary

With over 5 million Americans living with traumatic brain injury (TBI)-related disability, TBI represents a major public health issue. TBI is now recognized as a chronic condition, with life-long health implications. Individuals with TBI have more health issues than the general population and greater need for effective health promotion to prevent secondary conditions. However, most TBI-related research is focused on identifying new knowledge regarding basic science. Insufficient time and resources have been allocated to exploring strategies aimed at assisting TBI survivors and their caregivers to negotiate long-term recovery. Improving patient outcomes and supporting long-term recovery demands the collaboration of scientists, clinicians, and those living with and caring for those with TBI.

The proposed project will advance patient-centered outcomes for adults living with moderate to severe TBI through building a national coalition of patient and stakeholder partners. We will work with the Coalition for Recovery and Innovation in Traumatic Brain Injury Care Across the Lifespan (CRITICAL) to develop resources for empowering individuals with cognitive impairments to collaborate on research. Second, the CRITICAL will lead the formation of a new patient-centered research agenda. The project location will be the University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO.

The project objectives are:

  1. to establish the CRITICAL and develop their capacity to collaborate on clinical effectiveness research;
  2. develop strategies and resources for engaging individuals with cognitive impairments in research; and
  3. develop a national research agenda for improving the lives of those living with moderate to severe TBI.

Project activities will include:

  • three in-person coalition meetings;
  • qualitative interviews;
  • trainings for all partners;
  • an online survey;
  • systematic review of research gaps;
  • web-site development; and
  • dissemination of project results via website, social media, presentations, and manuscripts.

The outcomes of this effort will be:

  1. A patient and stakeholder advisory committee to steer patient-centered TBI outcomes research
  2. Resources and strategies for engaging those with moderate to severe TBI and associated cognitive impairments in Community Based Participatory Research
  3. A research agenda for multi-systems clinical effectiveness research for improving TBI outcomes across the lifespan

Our patient engagement plan is founded on a commitment to:

  • equal partnership,
  • shared decision-making,
  • mutual learning, and
  • trust among all patient and stakeholder partners.

The purpose of this proposal is to advance the interests and needs of patients in the formation of a new research agenda and pursuit of funding for a comparative effectiveness research project. The CRITICAL will also identify methods for empowering individuals with moderate to severe TBI and cognitive impairment to collaborate as equal partners in research.


  • Valuing patient and caregiver perspectives
  • Recommendations for the research agenda will be based on the input of patients and caregivers
  • Shared responsibility
  • We will work together to develop the Coalition’s products
  • Mutual respect and equality
  • Every partner is treated with respect and as an equal
  • Learning from each other
  • Every partner has valuable knowledge to contribute

Patient-centered Outcomes Research (PCOR)

Helps people and their caregivers communicate and make informed healthcare decisions, allowing their voices to be heard in assessing the value of healthcare options.

PCOR answers patient-centered questions, such as:

  • “Given my personal characteristics, conditions, and preferences, what should I expect will happen to me?”
  • “What are my options, and what are the potential benefits and harms of those options?”
  • “What can I do to improve the outcomes that are most important to me?”
  • “How can clinicians and the care delivery systems they work in help me make the best decisions about my health and health care?”

Reference: PCORI (Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute) Methodology Committee. 2013. “The PCORI Methodology Report.”

Patient Partner Training

The following training slides are for patient partners. The training support participation on the CRITICAL through providing background information. The training includes four brief sections that cover: an introduction to the CRITICAL; the role of advisory committees in patient-centered research; orientation to research and patient-centered outcomes methods; and a description of the process CRITICAL will follow to develop a patient-centered research agenda. In addition, there are four handouts that provide extra information related to the training.

Patient Partner Training Modules

Module 1: Introduction to CRITICAL

Module 2: Orientation to the Role of an Advisory Coalition

Module 3: Orientation to Research

Module 4: Developing a Research Agenda

Module 5: Formulating Research Questions

An Introduction to CRITICAL

Download the Introduction to CRITICAL (PDF)

Supporting documents:


Training for other stakeholder partners

Free CME courses are available ona wide variety of PCORI topics. We encourange any of our stakeholder partners to browse the PCORI training website linked below to find a training that fits our interests and knowledge level related to PCOR:

Additionally, we recommend the following three CME course for CRITICAL healthcare professionals. These courses cover topics most directly relevant to the work of CRITICAL:


CRITICAL Membership Agreement/Memorandum of Understanding

Workshop agendas and minutes

Workshop 1 Agenda​

Workshop 2 Agenda​

CRITICAL Workshop 1 Meeting Minutes

CRITICAL Workshop 2 Meeting Minutes

Relevant Literature

Will be coming soon

Research Agenda

Will be coming soon


This website was funded through a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (3908-UCD).

The views, statements, and opinions presented in this website are solely the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), its Board of Governors or Methodology Committee.

The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) is an independent, nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 2010. Its mission is to fund research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence-based information needed to make better-informed healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to continually seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.

This website has lots of information concerning the background of TBI, the symptoms associated with TBI, resources for caregivers, self-guided courses for health professionals, and resources for military personnel living with TBI
The Journey Home
This website is organized by the Air Force Center of Excellence for Medical Multimedia. The information is presented in a series of videos that detail the background of TBI, has personal stories of people affected by TBI, and information for caregivers of those people with TBI.
There is a program called “The Caregiver’s Journey” which is designed to provide caregivers a guide as to what they should expect/how they should approach living with someone that has experienced TBI.
Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC)
Geared toward a military population, the DVBIC is a great place to start exploring TBI information. There is one tab on the website with the intent of education on TBI in the military population.
This website would be ideal for someone in the military that has suffered a TBI and is trying to figure out what their next career/life move would be.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
The CDC website is a quick, effective stop for information regarding TBI. There are sections that deal with living with TBI for patients, and the people that interact with TBI patients. There are links for caregivers, health providers, and patients. This website is simple, there is not a ton of extraneous information here, however, there is good inclusion and explanation of the basics of TBI.