FORT CARSON, Colo. — Military leaders, medical professionals, service members and their Families were part of the dedication of the new Intrepid Spirit Center July 13, 2022, on Fort Carson.
The center caregivers diagnose and treat traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS) in active-duty service members.
“It’s a true blessing to have this world-class health facility for the research, diagnosis and treatment for traumatic brain injury and phycological health within our formations,” said Col. Edward Mandril, commander, Evans Army Community Hospital. “Fort Carson’s Intrepid Spirit Center will provide world-class care, in a first-class center.”
The center provides an interdisciplinary approach to care.
“Our interdisciplinary model of care also helps that we do collaborate as a whole team with our patients,” said Cmdr. Selena Bobula, U.S. Public Health Service, clinic director for the center. “We have neurology, PM&R (physical medicine and rehabilitation) for physicians, two physician assistants, a licensed clinical social worker, a neurophysiologist, two speech language pathologists, occupational therapy and PT (physical therapy).”
Art and music are also used as interventions to treat patients.
There are about 35 caregivers, which includes a research team and case managers, who work at the center, Bobula said.
Patients are referred to the center from their primary care managers, Bobula said. While active-duty service members have priority, Family members and retirees can also receive care.
The cost of the center was $13 million, and it has 25,000 square feet. Funding for the project was raised through the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.
This center is the ninth in a series of 10, and they’re all located on military installations. In addition to these 10, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund constructed the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, which opened in 2010.
Patients have already received treatment at the center.
“We started to integrate the patients into our technology, and we’re getting the programs up and running,” said Tamatha Gallegos, occupational therapy assistant at the center.
And using equipment, such as a driving simulator, provides a realistic way to assess patients’ progress.
“The equipment helps us to simulate environments that are more realistic, and so for assessment purposes, if we can’t take them out in a car, we can put them on the simulator, which will actually represent that,” Gallegos said. “It gives us more real-world purpose, more function behind it.”
While it’s a state-of-the art facility, it’s the caliber of people who will provide top-notch care.
“You build a facility like this, and your hope is to attract great people, and you certainly have,” said retired Army Gen. Richard A. Cody, director, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. “To our Soldiers and people here at Fort Carson, my hope is that you’ll take advantage of this (facility).”
There’s a sense of being grateful to have this facility that will meet the treatment needs of those who pass through its doors.
“It’s exciting; we’ve been waiting a long time,” Bobula said about the center. “Just absolute gratitude. There’s a lot to be thankful for.”