Announcing the ACR Head Injury Institute

"Chances are someone you love will sustain a brain injury at some point during your lifetime. When they do, you'll want the best research, you'll want top-quality care, and you'll want local services and support that make life worth living." — Susan H. Connors, president and CEO, Brain Injury Association of Americahead institute

"The American College of Radiology has formed the ACR Head Injury Institute (HII) to use its skills in the areas of image management, transfer, and archiving; education; research and the development of appropriateness criteria; guidelines and standards to help advance the diagnosis; and understanding and treatment of head injuries," states Alexander M. Norbash, MD, FACR, steering committee chair for this latest ACR initiative.


The HII is the latest institute in the ACR portfolio, along with the Radiology Leadership Institute and the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute. It was formed in response to the growing need for the advancement of head injury medicine in the areas of identification and development of biomarkers that help identify the nature and severity of head injury. Although the main focus will be on traumatic brain injury (TBI), efforts will also be made in the area of non-traumatic brain injury. The HII will bring a broad and deep range of capabilities and relationships to this challenge from an organization with a long history of education and innovation. The HII's intent is to leverage both science and practice to improve patient care through a broad and practical translational effort.

The HII will begin to work with groups focusing on research, education, information technology, the Head Injury Imaging Reporting and Data System (HI-RADS), and policy. At the same time, the HII will focus on three domains: standardization, sharing, and research.

The Research Working Group consists of individuals from multiple specialties who are interested in studying emerging technologies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of head injuries. Among other tasks, the group will develop a data warehouse to include an archive of data from a variety of modalities as well as clinical data.

Education will be the area of interest for a work group developing educational modules related to brain injuries. The work group's goal will be to help ensure that radiologists and other specialists have up-to-date training on the latest techniques.

The HII will bring a broad and deep range of capabilities and relationships to this challenge from an organization with a long history of education and innovation.

The IT Work Group will be charged with developing tools to help with the diagnosis and determination of prognosis of brain injuries. This may include a personal health record that would allow anyone with a head injury to upload and store a complete medical history and images, which can be shared with any provider.

HI-RADS is being developed to standardize the reporting and data collection of imaging in patients with both TBI and non-traumatic brain injury. The system should allow for consistency in terminology and enhance communication with referring clinicians.

A Policy Work Group will work in concert with the ACR Commission on Government Relations to ensure that issues related to brain injury are being addressed by Congress and that funding agencies are aware of research needs in the area of TBI.

The ACR HII will work to standardize terminology and descriptions applied to brain injuries, will help create and manage information exchanges for scientists and clinicians, and will facilitate research efforts, including multi-site imaging research by working with ACR's Clinical Research Center.

This is a timely and important new initiative of the ACR. I hope you share my excitement and enthusiasm for this endeavor. If you are interested in pursuing research or are merely interested in starting a conversation with the HII, please contact Laura Coombs, PhD, director of the ACR Head Injury Institute, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call 703-715-4383, or visit

ellenbogen headshotBy Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, Chair

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