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Barrow Program Provides Treatment to Homeless Women with Brain Injuries Caused by Domestic Violence


The Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center has created a novel program to treat homeless women who have sustained a traumatic brain injury (TBI) as a result of domestic violence.

The life-changing program, which was created by Barrow after identifying a 3-way link between homelessness, domestic violence and TBI, provides victims with a full spectrum of medical care and helps them return to living a productive and healthy life.   

“This is a need that has been long overlooked,” says Javier Cárdenas, MD, medical director of the Barrow Concussion and Brain Injury Center at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. “Domestic violence is a very serious issue and it’s alarming that many of these victims have sustained a traumatic brain injury and have not received proper medical attention.”

The Barrow program, which has evaluated and treated more than 200 patients since it was formed  in 2012, teams with various shelters throughout the Valley to identify victims of domestic violence who may be suffering from a TBI. Each victim completes a health screening at the shelter and if they screen positively for a possible brain injury, they are referred to Barrow for evaluation.

Once at Barrow, Dr. Cárdenas and his team provide comprehensive medical care that includes diagnostic services, physical therapy, neuropsychology, social work, speech therapy, surgery and injury prevention education.

In addition to providing medical treatment, Barrow is conducting research to identify approximately how many women suffer a TBI as a result of domestic violence.

“There are no solid statistics that show how many individuals have sustained a TBI as a result of domestic violence,” says Dr. Cárdenas. “We are working to gather factual data so that we can further raise awareness of this under-recognized area and provide the proper medical care to help these victims.”

The program is funded through generous grants given to Barrow by the Diane and Bruce Halle Foundation and the Board of Visitors. - Barrow -

Please call 602.406.3319 to schedule interviews with Dr. Cárdenas.  

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