Shepherd Center and Brain Injury Association of Georgia present Think BIG

Think Big 2020

Course Description

Online registration is now closed.

Visit Shepherd’s Education Portal for more details.

Think BIG is a conference for healthcare professionals. It is presented by Shepherd Center and the Brain Injury Association of Georgia (BIAG). This conference will provide clinical tools that rehabilitation professionals can use to improve their care of individuals with brain injury – from acute care through the transition back to the community. The day will conclude with a panel of providers discussing long-term care topics, such as family/caregiver considerations and how to plan for long-term special needs and financial resources. Attendees will leave with new ideas and resources to understand the needs of people with brain injury and ways to support long- term success.

You can download a brochure for this event here.

The BIG Connect

A Reception Showcasing Survivors and

Friday, January 31, 2020 , 6:30 to 8:30 p.m

Shepherd Center, Callaway Auditorium

Please join us for a wonderful evening to welcome conference speakers and attendees at The BIG Connect: A Reception Showcasing Survivors and Solutions. You’ll have an opportunity to network and connect with professionals committed to improving the care of individuals with brain injury, explore an “Unmasking Brain Injury” art exhibit, visit vendor exhibits and attend the conference poster session. Authors will be standing at their posters from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

The event includes hors d’oeuvres and wine/beer. This event is open to conference speakers and registrants who RSVP for no additional charge. Reception attire is business casual.

Think BIG 2020:
A Forward Vision for Unmasking Brain Injury

Saturday, February 1, 2020 , 8:00 am to 5:45 p.m.

Shepherd Center, Callaway Auditorium

Course Agenda
Registration / Sign In
Welcome & Opening Remarks
Michelle LaPlaca, PhD.; Katy O’Brien, Ph.D., CCC-SLP; and Kathy Farris, OTR/L
Disorders of Consciousness: An Update
Risa Nakase-Richardson, Ph.D., FACRM (Keynote Speaker)
The Impact of Trauma on Brain Structure/Function and Its
Effect on Persistent Post-Concussion Symptoms and

Jack Rigg, M.D.

Cognitive Rehabilitation in the Post-Acute Phase

Leila Hartley, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Tracheostomy Intervention after Traumatic Brain
Katie Mixon, M.S., RN, CCC-SLP, and Karen
Battaglia, MA, CCC-SLP
Lunch Provided 

An Update on Sleep and Traumatic Brain Injury

Risa Nakase-Richardson, Ph.D., FACRM (Keynote Speaker)
Rehabilitation Environment and Treatment: Practical
Danielle Bonner, PT, DPT, NCS, C/NDT; Allison
Cwick, M.S, CCC-SLP;Julia Plymesser, M.S., OTR/L;
Tiffany LeCroy, MSN, RN, CRRN
Break and Vendors
Transitioning Levels of Care Through Post-Acute and
Jonathan N. Dodd, Psy.D., ABPP
Grand Rounds Panel: Resources for Home and
Community; Question & Answer
Claire Holley, RN, BSN; Kenisha Tait, M.Ed.;
Bamidele Adeyemo, M.D.; Keith R. Miles, JD, MBA
Closing Remarks, Adjourn

*This cooperative offering has contributions of in-kind support from both Shepherd Center and Brain Injury Association of Georgia.

Keynote Speaker

Risa Nakase-RichardsonRisa Nakase-Richardson, Ph.D., FACRM, is a clinical research neuropsychologist at the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital and professor and research director in the Morsani College of Medicine, Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine Division, at the University of South Florida. She has worked in neurorehabilitation in both clinical and research capacities since 1998. She is a Fellow of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) and National Academy of Neuropsychology. She has authored more than 90 publications and 250 conference presentations. She has published extensively on the topic of sleep and TBI, receiving grant funding to improve clinicians’ understanding of the diagnostic utility of sleep assessments for persons with moderate to severe injury. Her publications also include contributions to the literature on disorders of consciousness. She serves as chair of the Disorders of Consciousness (DOC)Task Force within the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) and ACRM special interest group. She has served as primary investigator or investigator on grants funded by various federal agencies and private organizations, including the VA, DOD, PCORI, NIDILRR and NAN. She has worked at the VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in Tampa, Florida since 2008. Her interests include rehabilitation outcomes for persons with brain injury with a more recent emphasis on the role of sleep in management of brain injury.

Call for Posters

Submit your poster abstracts by November 15, 2019 by visiting our submission portal.


To register for this course and view complete course information, please visit:


Professionals: $250 • Students: $99 (Enter coupon code “BIAGStudent” and bring your valid student ID to the course registration.)

Registration Deadline

January 20, 2020

Proficiency Statement

To obtain continuing education credits, you must attend the entire event, pass the post test and complete the required course evaluation.

Continuing Education

Approved Provider of Continuing Education

This course is offered for 0.8 ASHA CEUs (Introductory Level; Professional Area)

Shepherd Center, Inc. is an approved provider (#9116) of continuing education units by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  This program is approved for 0.8 AOTA CEUs. The assignment of AOTA CEUs does not imply endorsement of specific course content, products, or clinical procedures by AOTA. Course content is introductory.  Activity type for OTs/COTA:  Category 1- Areas of Occupation.

An application has been submitted to the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia and is pending approval for PTs and PTAs.

Shepherd Center is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. (This program is approved for 8.0 Contact Hours.)

This program has been submitted to the Commission for Case Manager Certification for approval to provide board certified case managers with 8.0 clock hour(s).

Refund Policy/Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your participation in this course, your registration fee, less a $25 administrative fee, will be refunded. Refund requests should be made in writing to the administrative contact. No refunds will be made after January 20, 2020. Cancelled registrations are nontransferable. Shepherd Center reserves the right to cancel or postpone any course due to unforeseen circumstances. In the unlikely event Shepherd Center must cancel or postpone this event, the entire registration cost will be refunded. Shepherd Center is not responsible for related costs, charges or expenses to participants, including fees associated with airfare/travel/lodging.


If you require assistance, please contact Diane Johnston at