We reach across institutions and departments to bring together experts from Seattle Children’s, the University of Washington, Harborview Medical Center, the Harborview Injury Prevention Research Center, the Seattle Sports Concussion Program and other top institutions. Our team includes:


Frederick Rivara, MD, MPH

Frederick Rivara concussion collaborativeDr. Frederick Rivara leads the Collaborative. He is the Seattle Children’s Guild Endowed Chair in Pediatric Research and is vice chair of the Department of Pediatrics. He is an internationally-recognized expert in pediatric injury research and his landmark studies – including one that showed helmets could prevent 85% of head injuries stemming from bike crashes – played a key role in dramatically increasing helmet and seatbelt use. He co-edited the 2014 Institute of Medicine report on sports-related concussion in youth and is editor-in-chief of JAMA Pediatrics.

Jalal Andre, MD

Jalal Andre concussionDr. Jalal B. Andre is director of neurological magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and MRI safety officer at Harborview Medical Center, and a University of Washington assistant professor of radiology, with expertise in neuroradiology.

His research interests include the clinical application of advanced MRI techniques in assessing brain vessel abnormalities and traumatic brain injury. Andre’s focus involves measuring brain perfusion (blood flow) using arterial spin labeling, an MRI technique that can noninvasively measure blood delivery to the brain and requires no IV access, injectable substance or radiation.

Andre is using this technique to better understand vasospasm, a type of temporary vessel narrowing that can occur in patients with aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (i.e., a brain bleed). He is also exploring the application of this non-invasive technique to evaluate concussion, and sports-related traumatic brain injury in adolescents.

Samuel Browd, MD, PhD, FACS, FAANS, FAAP

Samuel Browd concussionDr. Samuel R. Browd is a board-certified pediatric neurosurgeon appointed as associate professor of neurological surgery at the University of Washington and attending neurosurgeon at Seattle Children’s Hospital. He is the medical director of Seattle Children’s Sports Concussion Program and currently serves as an unaffiliated neurologic consultant to the National Football League and an independent neurologic consultant to the Seattle Seahawks.

Browd was appointed as a University of Washington Presidential Entrepreneurial Fellow in 2013 and has founded three angel/venture–funded medical technology startups out of the University of Washington. Browd’s work in concussion has focused on materials science and engineering solutions. Browd’s innovations and collaborative efforts with the University of Washington Department of Mechanical Engineering have led to a new force-reducing football helmet which will be marketed under the name Vicis.

He also serves as co-investigator on several clinical outcomes studies on pediatric concussion.

Sara Chrisman, MD, MPH

Sara Chrisman concussionDr. Sara Chrisman is a pediatrician, an adolescent medicine specialist and an epidemiologist, and her research is centered around concussion. She has published multiple articles on concussion that explore concussion reporting behavior, the association between depression and concussion, and the effects of concussion legislation. Her current research is focused on understanding the mechanisms that result in concussive injury using the xPatch sensor and examining evidence for concussion treatment approaches. She is also the site principal investigator for a study jointly sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Department of Defense exploring concussion in varsity athletics.

David Coppel, PhD

David Coppel concussionDr. David Coppel is director of Neuropsychological Services and Research at the University of Washington Sports Concussion Program, and a UW professor in the Departments of Neurological Surgery; Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; and Psychology. He works as a clinical psychologist, clinical neuropsychologist and sport psychologist. He provides consultation regarding sports concussion to high school, college and professional sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks. He is also highly involved in evaluating sports concussion’s cognitive and emotional aspects, and in research on sports concussion recovery factors and the role of neurocognitive factors such as attention, concentration and focus in sports performance.

Coppel has spent the past 30 years specializing in clinical sport psychology and performance psychology, and has helped athletes, performers and coaches at the amateur, collegiate, Olympic and professional levels of competition. He has published papers on sport neuropsychology and sport psychology, covering topics including effects of coaching behaviors on athletes, performance enhancement techniques, relationship issues in athletes, psychological factors of exercise, the role of sports psychology in dealing with sport injury and recovery and the use of neuropsychological tests in sport concussion.

Richard G. Ellenbogen, MD, FACS

Richard Ellenbogen concussionDr. Richard G. Ellenbogen is co–executive director of Seattle Children’s Sports Concussion Program. He holds the Theodore S. Roberts Endowed Chair in Pediatric Neurological Surgery, is professor and chairman of the Department of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine and is an adjunct professor in the UW Departments of Radiology and Global Health. He is the co-chairman of the National Football League’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee. He was the organizer of the 2014 International Sports Concussion Research Consortium in New York City sponsored by the NFL, and he was a co-author of the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport at the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport in November 2012.

Seth Friedman, PhD

Seth Friedman concussionDr. Seth Friedman is a medical physicist at Seattle Children's Hospital. He runs the Radiology Clinical Research Imaging Core, a campus-wide resource under the Center for Clinical and Translational Research.

Friedman was previously at the University of Washington in a research associate professor capacity within the Department of Radiology. His 1997 PhD was one of the first studies to demonstrate that magnetic resonance spectroscopy could be used to evaluate unseen tissue injury in head trauma and that the degree of change was associated to neuropsychological deficits and ultimate outcome.

Friedman’s recent work seeks to coordinate novel uses of imaging focused on a wide-range of neurological and systemic disease conditions (e.g., growth hormone releasing hormone treatment with aging, mitochondrial disease, thalassemia, facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), pyridoxine dependent epilepsy).

Friedman’s current National Institutes of Health–funded work examines inhibitory neurotransmitter changes in pediatric concussion and a multi-site study of FSHD integrating MRI and blood/tissue-based measures.

Stanley Herring, MD

Stanley Herring concussionDr. Stanley Herring is co–executive director of Seattle Children's Sports Concussion Program; medical director of sports, spine and orthopedic health for UW Medicine; and a University of Washington clinical professor in the Departments of Rehabilitation Medicine; Orthopedics and Sports Medicine; and Neurological Surgery.

He specializes in non-operative musculoskeletal and sports medicine, with a particular interest in sports concussion and spine disorders. Herring holds the Zackery Lystedt Sports Concussion Endowed Professorship, is a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners and serves as a member of the National Football League’s Head, Neck and Spine Committee.

Herring and Seattle Children’s Dr. Richard Ellenbogen helped co-author the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport at the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport in November 2012 and helped develop the Center for Disease Control’s Heads Up online concussion training course.

Herring also played a key role in enacting the the Zackery Lystedt Law – which requires young athletes who show concussion symptoms to be evaluated by a healthcare provider before they can return to play – in Washington state and helped pass similar legislation in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Robert Hilt, MD

Robert Hilt concussionDr. Robert Hilt is an associate professor of psychiatry in the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and at Seattle Children’s. He is a child psychiatrist and a former primary care pediatrician.

Hilt is the program director for the Partnership Access Line, a child mental health consultation service for primary care providers in Wyoming and Washington. He is also program director for the Medicaid Medication Second Opinion Programs of Wyoming and Washington, and MDT Consult Service in Wyoming. He is co-chair of the Committee on Collaboration with Medical Professions with the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and serves on the editorial boards for the journals Pediatric Annals and Psychiatric Annals.

Emily Kroshus, ScD, MPH

Emily Kroshus, ScD, MPHEmily Kroshus is a research assistant professor at the University of Washington in the Department of Pediatrics and Seattle Children’s Research Institute’s Center for Child Health, Behavior and Development. She obtained her doctoral degree in 2014 from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, with a concentration in health communication. Prior to coming to the University of Washington she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Sport Science Institute, where she worked on research and program development related to concussion and mental health in college sport. Her research interests include social and contextual determinants of health-related behaviors, including risk-taking and help-seeking, as well as intervention design and evaluation.

Christine Mac Donald, PhD

Christine Mac Donald concussionDr. Christine Mac Donald is an assistant professor in the University of Washington Department of Neurological Surgery. Her research focuses on advanced magnetic resonance methods for evaluating traumatic brain injury in the civilian and military populations.

For instance, diffuse axonal injury is thought to be a major contributor to cognitive dysfunction in patients following traumatic brain injury. However, it is difficult to diagnose antemortem and new diagnostic methods are needed. Diffusion tensor imaging has shown promise but has yet to be fully validated for its potential role as a diagnostic tool in evaluating brain injury. Resting-state functional MRI correlation analysis has also been proposed as a useful tool in the evaluation of brain functional connectivity. The basis of this method is that anatomically connected regions in the brain show correlated fluctuations in the blood oxygen level dependent signal. This work has given further insight into the structural and functional changes occurring following injury. In the future, these techniques may be able to better assist with the stratification of patients for therapeutic intervention, diagnosis of brain injury/concussion and prediction of injury impact on long-term outcome.

Cari McCarty, PhD

Cari McCarty concussionDr. Cari McCarty is a research associate professor in the University of Washington Department of Pediatrics, in both the Division of General Pediatrics and the Division of Adolescent Medicine. She is also an adjunct research associate professor in the UW’s Department of Psychology and a member of the Center for Child and Family Well-Being. McCarty serves as lead psychology faculty for the University of Washington Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health Program.

McCarty’s research is devoted to understanding and promoting behavioral health among adolescents. Her mission is to improve the emotional and behavioral health of children and adolescents through enhanced scientific understanding, promoting social-emotional competencies and disseminating evidence-based treatments.

Jeffrey G. Ojemann, MD

Jeffrey Ojemann concussionDr. Jeffrey Ojemann is a pediatric neurosurgeon and professor of neurological surgery at the University of Washington. He serves as division chief of neurosurgery at Seattle Children’s Hospital and holds the Richard G. Ellenbogen Chair in Pediatric Neurosurgery.

He received his medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis where he also trained in neurosurgery under Dr. Ralph Dacey and completed a pediatric fellowship under Dr. T.S. Park.

His practice includes general pediatric neurosurgery, pediatric epilepsy surgery and adult epilepsy surgery. His research focuses on cortical signals recorded in epilepsy patients, with a focus on using these signals for neuroprosthetic control, and on magnetic resonance research applications in pediatric neurosurgery. He provides mentorship for clinical and research training including residents, fellows, graduate students and K-awardees.

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, MD, MPH, PhD

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar concussionDr. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar is an assistant professor of epidemiology and adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics, and the director of Methods Core at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. His research is focused on injury prevention and safety promotion, especially among children. Since joining the University of Washington, his substantive areas of interest have included the study of causes, correlates and consequences of traumatic brain injury, violence, and crime–illness nexus. He provides methodologic expertise for a number of other investigations related to the epidemiology of falls, motor vehicle crashes, burns, drowning, poisoning and adverse events following immunization and medical procedures. Prior to joining the University of Washington, he served as the National Vaccine Safety Fellow of the Centers for Disease Control to specifically investigate neurologic injuries and adverse events following immunization.

Monica Vavilala, MD

Monica Vavilala concussionDr. Monica Vavilala is director of the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center; a University of Washington professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pediatrics; and a UW adjunct professor of neurological surgery and radiology. Her research interests include acute care and pathophysiology of traumatic brain injury (TBI), TBI outcomes and the development and implementation of TBI guidelines.

Douglas Zatzick, MD

Douglas Zatzick concussionDr. Douglas Zatzick is a professor in the University of Washington Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and a member of the core research faculty at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center. His intervention studies target post-traumatic symptom reduction (i.e., post-traumatic stress disorder and depression) and the modification of high-risk behaviors that risk recurrent injury, such as alcohol and drug abuse/dependence.


Lauren Balsamo, BS

Lauren BalsamoLauren Balsamo is a clinical research assistant in the Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative. She is currently involved in a clinical study researching alternative concussion treatment approaches. Prior to coming to Seattle Children’s in early 2016, Lauren assisted with cognitive rehabilitation research for neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases through Washington State University’s Traumatic Brain Injury Research Laboratory and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane, Washington. Her research interests include pediatric neuropsychology, neurodegenerative diseases, traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression in civilian and military populations. She graduated cum laude from Washington State University with a BS in psychology and minors in aerospace studies and criminal justice.

Shannon Higgins, BS

Shannon HigginsShannon Higgins is a clinical research assistant in the Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative. She is currently involved in two research studies looking at how youth athletes recover following concussions. Prior to coming to Seattle Children’s she was the certified athletic trainer at a local area high school for 12 years. Her research interests include long-term concussion impact and management, traumatic brain injury (TBI) and the overall safety of youth athletes in contact sports. Her goals are to make the sports she loves safer for young athletes to participate in. She received her BS from Oregon State University in exercise and sports science with a concentration in athletic training.

Albert Hsu, BS

Albert HsuAlbert Hsu is a clinical research associate in the Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative. He is currently involved in a clinical study researching concussion treatment approaches, in addition to his involvement in studies outside the collaborative which focus on physical activity and preschoolers. Prior to coming to Seattle Children’s in 2008, he assisted in outreach research for at-risk youth at the University of Washington School of Nursing. His research interests include accelerometry/movement–based analytics; concussion treatment and prevention; and physical activity promotion. He graduated from Washington State University with a BS in psychology and a minor in sociology.

Suzanne Peck, BA

Suzanne PeckSuzanne Peck is a clinical research assistant in the Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative. She is currently working on two research studies looking at how children and young adults recover after concussions. Prior to joining the concussion team she was involved in research studies about sleep health in preschoolers and parenting education for first-time young moms. She received her BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara in English literature.

Christina Schwien, MN, MPH

Christina Schwien concussionChristina Schwien is the research manager for the Seattle Pediatric Concussion Research Collaborative. She provides leadership and support to multiple research projects and facilitates program development and evaluation. Her previous work included healthcare quality improvement consulting, project management, healthcare research for the U.S. Government Accountability Office and bedside nursing at Harborview Medical Center. In 2012, she was one of 75 individuals selected to participate in the yearlong CMS Innovation Advisor Program. As the mother of two adolescent athletes, she is passionate about improving concussion prevention and care.

She received her MPH and MN from the University of Washington, her BSN from Johns Hopkins University and her BA in sociology from Whitman College.