The Journey Conference

The Journey Conference

Thank you for attending The Journey Conference!

Thursday, November 1, 2018
Physicians Conference Center at INOVA Fairfax
3300 Gallows Road
Falls Church, VA

The Journey Conference is an annual conference hosted by Brain Injury Services for survivors, family members, and professionals in the brain injury community. At the conference, you'll attend sessions where local experts in the field of rehabilitation discuss practical strategies survivors can use in real life. Attending Journey is a great way for you to connect with other survivors and be educated on community resources available to you and your family as you work to find your “new normal.” 

The Journey Conference is the only conference in Northern Virginia that is designed and dedicated to survivors of brain injuries and their families.

The Journey Conference Schedule

  • 8:45 AM -- Registration and Visit Exhibits
  • 9:30 AM -- Welcome and Registration
  • 9:45 AM -- "It's a Family Affair: Brain Injury Impact on Families"

    Traumatic brain injuries can have a profound effect on those individuals suffering from both mild and severe injuries; survivors suffer a range of challenges during recovery and ongoingly as they strive to re-engage and design their post-injury life.

    Family relationships to a person recovering from TBI change in unpredictable ways – as unpredictably as TBI recovery. Family members experiencing the sudden shift from a known and familiar role (husband, daughter, sibling, girlfriend, parent) to that of a caregiver with new and difficult expectations can be overwhelmed first by fear, exhaustion, confusion, and grief. Caregivers strive to maintain a brave face while managing the responsibilities of a household and the care of the injured person and are met with an unfamiliar and sometimes unpleasant relationship, caregiving role, and future.

    But family caregivers are survivors, and they often discover previously unrealized strengths. This presentation describes the experience of the family members of TBI survivors, and how some find hope and new joys in the midst of the new world of caregiving.

  • Speakers: Christopher P. Michetti, MD, FACS, FCCM and Anna Bradford Newcomb, Ph.D., LCSW

    Dr. Christopher Michetti is a Trauma Surgery, General Surgery, and Critical Care physician board certified in both General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. He brings 18 years of clinical experience to Inova and Inova Trauma Center. He has a special interest in the management of surgical patients who need complex postoperative management, particularly in the intensive care unit; complex abdominal wall hernias and abdominal wall reconstruction; abdominal surgery in general, and organ donation.

    Dr. Michetti is the Associate Chief of Trauma & Acute Care Surgery at Inova, and is an Associate Professor of Surgery for the Virginia Commonwealth University, Inova Campus. He is the current President of the American Trauma Society, and Vice Chair of the District of Columbia chapter of the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Washington Regional Transplant Community, and the Organ Donation and Transplantation Alliance’s Donor Management Leadership Council.

    Anna Bradford worked as a trauma and emergency department clinical social worker at Inova Fairfax Hospital (1994 – 2011) and started a trauma support group in 1995, Rebuild, which developed into a program that included groups for orthopedic survivors, TBI, SCI, family members, parents of TBI, and provided education to trauma providers about the experience of injury and recovery. Based on the Rebuild model, Anna partnered with the American Trauma Society to develop the Trauma Survivors Network (TSN), then served as the ATS TSN National Coordinator to develop training materials and support TSN development nationally.

    In 2012 Anna received a Ph.D. in Health Services Research from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, focusing her research on the family’s experience of trauma at the hospital and home. While at Johns Hopkins, Anna joined the Trauma Collaborative Care Study, training sites implementing the TSN in a multicenter trial of the program.

    Returning to Inova Fairfax Hospital as the trauma research manager, Anna has continued her research and program implementation to focus on projects that evaluate interventions addressing patient and family stress following trauma. She initiated and manages a communication curriculum and study for Inova’s Surgical Residency Program, integrating TSN volunteers as simulated patients and providing ongoing practice and evaluation of surgical residents’ patient/family-centered communication skills. She is working closely with Stanford University to facilitate their implementation of this program and is developing a parallel program for all trauma nurses and clinical technicians at Inova Fairfax.

  • 10:45 AM -- Break and Visit Exhibits
  • 11:15 AM -- "Positive Empowerment Through Recovery"

    Amy Hobbs and Wayne Malick of A & W Mentor & Peer Support come to us with over eight years of personal experience with TBI and four strokes between them.

  • Speakers: A&W Mentor and Peer Support Amy Hobbs and Wayne Malick

    Amy Hobbs and Wayne Malick's lifelong ability to face and overcome challenges with positivity and a sense of humor enables them to meet the ongoing struggles of brain injury. Through a shared belief in helping others, Amy and Wayne have mentored and empowered others in their recovery process.

  • 12:15 PM Lunch
  • 1:15 PM -- "Hope and Health through the Healing Arts"

    This talk will help survivors and families understand ways to promote post-injury functioning and wellness.  Participants will learn about trauma and the brain, and literature-informed recovery strategies.  A summary of the healing arts in medical settings will be presented, with specific focus on the healing arts for Traumatic Brain Injury.  Participants will be introduced to a few example activities designed to help regulate physiological reactions to stress, gain control of day-to-day routines, and increase meaning, purpose and positive interpersonal connections.

  • Speaker: Holly Matto, Ph.D., LCSW-C

    Dr. Matto (Ph.D., University of Maryland; MSW, University of Michigan) is an Associate Professor in the College of Health and Human Services Department of Social Work at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her research experience and practice interests lie at the intersections between neuroscience and social work, and she has over 15 years of work in the field of addiction science.  She is currently working with colleagues on the development of a wearable device to manage stimulus cues and reduce drug relapse by detecting neurophysiological reactivity and delivering a device-activated personalized real-time intervention.

  • 2:15 PM -- Break and Visit Exhibits
  • 2:30 PM -- "The Journey Toward Worry Free Living: A Mindfulness-Based Approach"

    This interactive workshop is designed to help participants to learn through practice, proven methods that help to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.  We hope you will come and enjoy this relaxing workshop to end your day at Journey.

  • Speakers: Joy Koeppen, LCSW and Shira Rothberg, LSW

    Joy Koeppen, LCSW, CBIS is the Licensed Clinical Therapist at BIS.  Joy’s passion for working with individuals with disabilities and their families began when she worked for Brain Injury Services as a Case Manager from 2000-2003.  After 12 years away from BIS working in private practice, a psychiatric hospital and the public school system, Joy returned to BIS in October of 2015 in her current role providing counseling exclusively to individuals with brain injury and their families.  Joy has been trained in the use of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), clinical mindfulness techniques and cognitive behavioral therapy and is constantly adding to her repertoire of clinical experience and knowledge.  

    Shira Rothberg, LSW is the Trauma Survivors Network (TSN) Coordinator at Inova Fairfax Hospital. Shira earned her MSW from the University of Maryland and spent the last six years as a medical social worker. She focused her career on helping people experiencing medical/health crises and providing support for individuals and families. After four years as a dialysis social worker, Shira came to Inova’s Trauma Center. Through individual counseling, support groups, peer visitation, and community presentations, Inova’s TSN promotes education around the impact of traumatic injuries among individuals and those who care for them.

Email Lisa McCarthy at with any questions about attendance, sponsorship opportunities, or day of logistics.

Thank you to our Sponsors

Pictures from the 2018 Journey Conference

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