VA’s annual Brain Trust summit offers platform for innovations in brain health and head trauma


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Winners of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) Innovation Demo Day competition share their victory with VA Senior Adviser Matthew Collier during Day 2 of VA’s Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion summit held May 17-18 in Boston. Winners are, from left, Max Randall of Daptly; KC Beard of Daptly; Steve Devick of King-Devick Technologies; VA’s Collier; Jason Roncoroni of Save A Warrior; and Jake Clark of Save A Warrior. The winners will have the potential opportunity to implement and deploy their innovations with VA. (VA photo/Robert Turtil)


From a software platform for traumatic brain injury to a virtual reality device that assists Veterans with behavioral health issues, 15 competitors pitched a diversity of ideas during demo day at the Brain Trust: Pathways to InnoVAtion summit, hosted by VA on May 18 in Boston.

The annual two-day event assembled more than 350 invited participants from the federal government, private industry, professional sports, medical research, caregivers and Veteran communities to collaborate and advance discussions around the prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and concussion.

IMAGE: Retired Army Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, CEO of Optum Military and Veterans Group, welcomes competitors to Innovation Demo Day on Day 2.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, CEO of Optum Military and Veterans Group, welcomes competitors to Innovation Demo Day on Day 2. Optum served as host of the event.

“We have an unbelievable opportunity to accelerate the speed of change,” said retired Army Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, CEO of Optum Military and Veterans Group, to the 15 industry and academic innovators who had come to pitch their ideas on TBI and head trauma to a panel of judges. “Today, the impossible gets challenged.”

After reviewing a series of short presentations from competitors, the judges selected three winners: The Daptly Display, a gesture and voice-controlled assistant for the home or office; Save a Warrior: A peer-to-peer, archetypal approach for healing combat trauma and moral injury; and Recovery Acceleration Program for mild TBI by King-Devick Technologies. The winners will have the potential opportunity to implement and deploy their innovations with VA.

“We feel incredibly honored to be selected as a winner of the VA Innovation awards, which will further our opportunity to provide services to our Veterans,” said Steve Devick, CEO of King-Devick Technologies, who explained how his project would help Veterans impacted by TBI. “The King-Devick technologies innovations are related to the fact that eye movements and vision are responsible for approximately 55 percent of brain function.

“As a result, implementing our recovery acceleration program by involving these pathways leads to faster concussions and TBI recovery when used with standard remediation. Additionally, caregivers can measure defects in eye movements, which may lead to dosage changes in chronic degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease. ”

During the event, VA officials announced key partnerships with several influential organizations, including: Amazon, which donated 100 Echo devices with Alexa voice service to VA’s Assistive Technology Labs to help meet the needs of Veterans; Cohen Veterans Bioscience, which is coordinating efforts with VA to integrate data across dozens of labs to facilitate breakthroughs in trauma-related disorders; Booz Allen Hamilton; Comcast; Concussion Legacy Foundation; GE; IBM; Infinite Hero Foundation; Johnson & Johnson; Optum; Outward Bound; PenFed Foundation, Philips; the Warrior Care Network and the National Institutes of Health, which is co-hosting a ‘State of the Science’ workshop in 2018 that will focus on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy and other neurodegenerative diseases.


Paula A. Paige is a public affairs officer in VA’s Office of Media Relations. Prior to joining VA, she was a public affairs officer at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. Paula is an award-winning journalist, who worked in various leadership roles at the Star-Ledger Newspaper in New Jersey, the Stamford Advocate in Connecticut and Newsday in New York. She is also an Air Force Veteran with more than 26 years of service, including active duty, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve.

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Comments

  1. Essay writer    

    Wish there were more of these events where such great minds meet often.This is really amazing and thanks for sharing this

  2. Flora Brewer    

    As the spouse of a deceased 23 yr. vet, I have been waiting over 2 yrs. on an appeal. My pray is that people that are waiting on an appeal will not be held hostage for 1 yr, 2 yrs. or ever for an appeal. When anyone can walk in and receive food stamp, welfare, or any other social benefit, it is a shame that spouses should have to wait over 2 yrs. for an appeal! The benefit should have never been denied and I am suffering because a civilian doctor put on the death certificate that my husband died of pneumonia. He had been a patient in the VA hospital for 3 yrs. with dementia and prostate cancer. Something is very wrong with the system. Flora Brewer

  3. James Reid    

    It was an honor to be there and to be one of the judges of the innovation pitches. Bottom line is the Veteran is a winner when you have all these great minds trying to fix brain health. There is more to do, join us to push harder!

  4. adolfo tomas angeles    

    Great veterans. programs & plans.Thanks & success, Sir/Mom:

  5. Angel M Solivan    

    I have an appeal since 2009 and didn’t have an a response as today. I need orientation on what I have to do, I joint the VFW but I didn’t have any help. Everyrhing as fall was done by my self and the help of the Veterans Affairs from Miami Fl.

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