First US-Japan Veterans TBI, Autism Healthcare Exchange

“Meeting of the Minds” - A US-Japan Goodwill Exchange for Technology and Research to Bring Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PolyTrauma and Persons with TBI, Autism and Special Needs into Healthcare, Community and Workplace
In Honor of the Ambassador of Japan

This initial meeting will build positive exchanges and share technology and research for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and persons with TBI and Autism in the US and Japan.

These veterans and persons with disabilities face significant social transition and inclusion challenges. Many are suffering in silence. They need to be welcomed into: society, healthcare, community and work. The Conference panelists and experts represent national and international leaders in the integrated disciplines of: individuals with TBI and Autism, medical treatment for TBI, Polytrauma, PTSD and Autism, neuroscience research, national policy and civil society inclusion legislation; and community, work and therapy delivery networks. We will also build a roadmap for larger ongoing exchanges next year. This exchange honors goodwill efforts for veterans and persons with disabilities by the Ambassador of Japan, and we are honored to have a keynote address by Minister Plenipotentiary and Deputy Chief of Mission, Minister Shinoda from the Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC

Minister Shinoda's Speech: US-Japan Healthcare Exchange and Improving Lives of Persons with Disabilities




Hilton Washington, DC Rockville Executive Meeting Center, Rockville, Maryland, USA


  • July 13 - 14


  • Mayer Max, MindKnit Research Center,

KeyNote Speakers:

  • Minister Shinoda - Envoy Extraordinary, Minister Plenipotentiary, Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan, "Welcome Remarks from the Ambassador of Japan to the First Annual US Japan International Symposium"

Guest Speakers and Panelists:

  • Dr. Reiko Fukatsu - International Co-Chairman; Director, National Rehabilitation Center for Disabilities;Tokyo, Japan
  • Mayer Max - US Co-Chairman, Director, MindKnit Research Center
  • Dr. Joel Scholten - Director, Polytrauma Network Site, Tampa VA Hospital
  • Mr. George Basher - Chairman, US Secretary of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee for Homeless Veterans
  • Dr. Robert Mays, Jr. - National Institutes of Health, Acting Director Office of Special Populations; Acting Director Office of Rural Mental Health, Representing Dr. Tom Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health, NIH
  • Dr. Steven Grant- US National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Drug Abuse, Clinical Neural Science and Behavior Research
  • Dr. Michael S. Jaffee - National Director, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Dr. William Brim - Deputy Director of the Center for Deployment Psychology, with the Department of Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and TBI
  • Dr. Noelle Berger - Treatment Programs, Level II TBI Polytrauma Center, US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Bronx NY
  • Dr. Anthony Campinell - Director, Therapeutic Employment, Office of Mental Health, US Veterans Health
  • Mr. Ralph Zaccheo - Admin Officer, Therapeutic Employment, Office of Mental Health, US Veterans Health
  • Ms. Judith Avner - Executive Director, Brain Injury Association of New York State
  • Ms. Pat Gumson - New York State Department of Health, Director Traumatic Brain Injury Medicaid Waiver Program, Principal Investigator for HRSA TBI Implementation Grant
  • Dr. Stephen Mott - Director of Pediatric Neurology; Medical Director, Child Development Center at Georgetown University; Executive Director, Ahead with Autism Foundation,Washington, DC, US
  • Mr. Michael Snider, Esq. - Snider and Associates
  • Jared Max - Author, Animator, Tsunami Disaster Conference Speaker who is also on the Autism Spectrum
  • Sheila Max, RN - Patient Care Training Practitioner and Life Placement for Autism, Cognitive and Behavioral Disabilities
  • Lee Ann Brumble - James A Haley VA Hospital, Tampa, Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist
  • Karen Schwab - Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Elisabeth Martin - Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Karyn George - Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center
  • Burt Nakasone - US Navy NCIS, Special Agent, Executive and Expert on Placement and Sustainment of Persons with TBI in Professional Positions, and as Strong Role Models

  • Post Conference: Tour of Ippakutei Tea House Pavilion, Symbol of Strong US-Japan Relations, as Guests at Embassy of Japan


This goodwill exchange and meeting will present opportunities for sharing: challenges, technology and treatment for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD and Polytrauma and will share Japanese and US lessons for inclusion of similar challenges for persons with Autism, TBI and cognitive disabilities.

It will also cover current protocols for treatment and rehabilitation. Veterans healthcare-based supported employment goals, protocols and outcomes will be discussed as part of long-term health and recovery. Potential areas of interest for research, technology, and clinical practice will also be discussed and will include substance-seeking and neural science focus areas. Opportunities for future discussions, exchanges or shared research will also be broached.


Why is this problem difficult? An estimated 320,000 veterans are at risk for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The largest “mild-to-moderate” TBI population is hidden in plain sight. These Vets and persons with TBI are at great risk for: homelessness, to appear “different,” to not get hired, or to lose jobs, family, and homes. We are driven by a simple premise: they all deserve lives with a quality future. We shall identify shared research, technology, clinical programs, therapeutic employment and quality life outcomes for these Veterans with TBI and related models for TBI and Autism inclusion.

Conference Program:

The Conference will invite presentations and contributions in the following areas:

1. The Face of Traumatic Brain Injury: We will include veterans here. We’ll examine profiles and challenges of veterans and persons with (mild, moderate and severe) Traumatic Brain Injury, Polytrauma, and related challenges (ie. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). We’ll also explore keys to preventing vulnerability to homelessness.

2. Treatment and Normalcy Challenges: Experts will share current practice for clinical treatment, transition to community, work, and family and sustainment for vets with TBI and persons with disabilities, and sustainment for lifelong health in work and community.

3. NIH and Clinical Neuroscience and Behavior Research affecting TBI: We will learn from NIH research in key areas: motivation, memory, learning and response inhibition. Recent TBI lectures to the American Psychiatric Association may be shared.

4. Long-Term TBI Risks: Lessons learned from Veterans Homelessness; We’ll explore vulnerability to homelessness, substance abuse, loss of work, family and social networks; impact on veterans and persons with TBI or related issues like PTSD.

5. Lessons from Social and Work Inclusion Challenges: We’ll address common lessons from US and Japanese treatment, transition, community and work inclusion models, and community advocacy for (all) adults with TBI, PTSD or similar emotional communications, response inhibition, and social interaction challenges – such as Autism.

6. Collaboration Models: New models will be examined such as governmental, community, non-profit, industry collaborations to reach out, include, and sustain veterans and individuals, (i.e., New York Traumatic Brain Injury Coalition for Returning Veterans).

7. Next Year: We will lay out opportunities for immediate collaborations and opportunities for innovation. Additionally we will explore a possible roadmap for an enhanced national and international conference and exchange for next year.

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