TBI Endowment Campaign

Rockswold-Kaplan Traumatic Brain Injury Research Endowment

Foundation LUTN Kaplan Rockswold Photo

Goal: Endow a research position to pursue solutions for traumatic brain injury care, rehabilitation and prevention.
Minimum Endowment Investment: $2,000,000
Raised to Date: Just over $1,9 Million


Rockswold-Kaplan Traumatic Brain Injury Research Endowment

Announced at the Light Up the Night gala in December of 2014, the research chair was endowed by philanthropists Elliot and Eloise Kaplan and neurosurgeon Dr. Gaylan Rockswold and wife Mary to enable continuation of HCMC’s world-class brain injury program. Dr. Rockswold spent 42 years at HCMC performing surgery and federally funded clinical and basic science research, most notably to develop the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injury.

Traumatic Brain Injury Center at HCMC

From sports injuries and falls to vehicle accidents, traumatic brain injury (TBI) has become a topic of national and regional discussion. Over 1.5 million Americans sustain a TBI each year. Among children and young adults, TBI is the leading cause of death and disability. Nearly 100,000 brain injuries occur annually in Minnesota. Sustaining a brain injury can be life changing event. Many patients will need specialized therapies for months or years, some will experience temporary or permanent loss of employment. Hennepin County Medical Center is the #1 hospital in the state of Minnesota for admitting TBI patients. Each year, the staff within the Center care for over 2,000 patients. Expertise spans the entire continuum of care for adult and pediatric patients, from prevention to emergency care, neurosurgery, critical care, rehabilitation and the Mild to Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic.

Since its establishment in 2006, the Center has thrived under the leadership of neurosurgeon and medical director Dr. Gaylan Rockswold. In 2015 Dr. Rockswold retired but not without working with the Hennepin Health Foundation to established an endowment. Visionary medical leadership is critical to the Center’s success, and an endowed chair for TBI research will attract and retain the best medical leadership for Hennepin’s Traumatic Brain Injury Center.

Endowed Chair Dr. Uzma Samadani

Uzma Samadani Bio Photo

The endowed chair position has attracted Dr. Uzma Samadani, whose research on concussion recently made headlines around the world. She will serve as the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research, and also as an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota. Though recently retired from clinical neurosurgery, Dr. Gaylan Rockswold will remain active with research, working with Dr. Samadani on testing therapeutics for brain injury.

Earlier this year, Dr. Samadani published research that describes a method for assessing the severity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) by measuring eye movements. In a talk at the North American Brain Injury Society meeting she showed data demonstrating that this technology is sensitive for detecting concussion.  Her research has been featured in the Washington Post, Forbes, Sports Illustrated, on the national CBS evening news, and as a TedMed talk.  She has had more than 1.5 million dollars in research funding from the Department of Veterans Affairs, National Space and Biomedical Research Institute and the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation as well as other sources.

After obtaining her PhD and graduating from medical school at the University of Illinois in Chicago, Dr. Samadani completed her residency training at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and a Van Wagenen Fellowship in Goettingen, Germany. She joins HCMC with extensive experience in her work caring for patients with brain injury at New York Harbor Health Care System/Manhattan Veterans Administration Hospital, and Bellevue Hospital in New York.

What is an Endowment?

An endowment is a financial donation made to a non-profit in the form of investment funds to support a particular cause of the donor. Endowments provide ongoing benefits for those that receive them by earning a market rate of interest while keeping the core endowment principal intact to fund future years of whatever efforts the donor sought to fund. The Rockswold Kaplan TBI Research Endowment will use the interest earned each year to supplement the salary of the endowed chair position.

For more information on how you can support this effort, contact:
Jesse Hicks, Major Gifts Officer