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Report Emphasizes Need for Improved Data and Funding for Brain Injuries in Intimate Partner Violence Victims

UArizona Researchers Provide Insight for Federal Report to Improve Care for Domestic Violence Victims

A recent report published by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) emphasized the need for improved data and funding to identify the prevalence of brain injuries among domestic violence victims.

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COVID-19 pandemic is no war - it's a public health apocalypse. Let's treat it like one

For those of us who served in the Army Medical Corps in the Vietnam War, the constant reference to the current COVID-19 pandemic as a “war” rings true. And understated.

But the pandemic cannot, and should not, be equated with war. Nor should we approach it like an armed conflict.

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Arizona grant studying concussions hopes to help domestic violence victims come forward

Dr. Hirsch HandmakerIn recent years, there has been a growing focus on reducing the risk of concussions for athletes. We’re all aware of the long-term damage.

“No two concussions are the same,” said Dr. Hirsch Handmaker, chairman and CEO of the CACTIS Foundation.

“The motivation in professional football is financial. In high school, it’s ego, in the military, it’s a call to duty; this is a totally different culture,” said Dr. Handmaker. “Concussions in domestic violence not only need to be studied, it needs to be funded to make resources available.”

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A Town Hall Meeting About Concussions in Society: A Silent Epidemic

An open, informal discussion will follow with Arizona experts and interested parties to empower health care providers, educators, first responders, law enforcement, administrators and the public with information to make informed decisions about concussions.

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CACTIS Foundation Names New Board Member

Melodie LopezPHOENIX/TUCSON, August 16, 2019 -- Melodie Lopez, MSW, has been elected to the board of directors of The CACTIS Foundation, a community-based 501(c)3 charitable nonprofit, addressing issues involving Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) (concussions) and advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease through research-based preclinical and clinical programs, early phase trials and Continuing Medical Education (CME).

For more than 30 years, Lopez has worked in the fields of education and social services. Of Hopi, Navajo, Pueblo and Mexican descent, Lopez is a founding member of the Tucson-based Native Education Alliance. She also serves on the Board of the Arizona Indian Education Association.

In 2012, Lopez launched Indigenous Strategies, LLC, which specializes in professional development and leadership training to meet the needs of those serving Native American youth, families and communities. In 2019, she co-founded the H.O.N.O.R. Collective, (Honoring Our Nations, Offering Resiliency), bringing together urban and reservation-based anti-violence professionals.

Lopez received her BA in Psychology & American Indian Studies from CSU Long Beach and her Master’s in Social Welfare, with an emphasis on Indian Child Welfare from UC Berkeley.

"Melodie’s expertise in program and systems development combined with her community connections and passionate commitment to our cause further empower our board to provide much needed support to local, state and tribal leaders throughout Arizona,” said Dr. Hirsch Handmaker, Chairman and CEO of The CACTIS Foundation. "

"We remain committed to addressing health care delivery disparities and underserved populations involving those at risk for TBI, including young athletes, first responders, military service men and woman, victims of domestic violence, and industrial and motor vehicle accidents. Through Melodie’s leadership, the work of our board continues with even greater impact," added Handmaker.

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First-in-nation collaboration brings together law enforcement, medical community and researchers to assist domestic violence victims

A ground-breaking collaboration between law enforcement, the medical community and brain researchers will develop a better understanding, rapid identification and better treatment of concussions in domestic violence victims.

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Group to study concussions resulting from domestic violence

A partnership of Phoenix-area health care and law enforcement organizations is launching a study into concussions caused by domestic violence.

The Maricopa County Attorney's Office says the study is intended to provide victims with better assessments of their conditions and appropriate care and to develop so-called best practices to help catch and prosecute the abusers.

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Health care leaders, police and prosecutors join forces to research concussions in domestic violence victims

Maricopa County prosecutors, Mesa police and health care leaders are teaming up to research the prevalence of concussions in domestic violence victims.

County prosecutors said a study could lead to better treatment for domestic violence victims as well as more prosecutions against their attackers.

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Concussion Education: CACTIS Collaborates with The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix at Connect2STEM

Collaborative Spirit and Exceptional Research Cornerstones of the Translational Neurotrauma Research Program

Within the Program, Two Doctors Exemplify these Tenets

Concussions - a topic that is forever engrained in the lexicon of sports fans. The issue has become so pervasive that even Hollywood has tackled it; yet the adverse effects that accompany repeated brain trauma do not solely belong to those who make their living on the field, pitch, court or rink. In fact, the number of veterans or victims of domestic violence dealing with similar issues dwarfs that of the athlete. So what is being done to combat this epidemic?

As stated, the concussion issue is pervasive, with a hole in the field surrounding mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) - the dings, the seeing stars, the noggin knockers. These aren’t the big hits that we can readily identify from our couch, yet they can carry similar long-term consequences. The Translational Neurotrauma Research Program at the UA College of Medicine - Phoenix are physicians and scientists researching improved diagnoses and treatment protocols to improve outcomes.

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Jonathan Lifshitz is Lead Scientist for CACTIS Foundation

The CACTIS Foundation appointed Jonathan Lifshitz, Ph.D. to serve as its Lead Scientist and Director of Research & Development where he will serve as the nonprofit's scientific leader, fostering research and development opportunities.

Lifshitz currently serves as the director of the Translational Neurotrauma Research Program in a joint venture through BARROW Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital, Department of Child Health at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine - Phoenix, and the Phoenix Veterans Administration Health Care System.

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FC Tucson Youth Academy - Baseline Concussion Testing


The vast majority of domestic-violence victims who show signs of traumatic brain injury never receive a formal diagnosis.

In the first version of her story, Grace Costa says that, on the night after Christmas, in 2012, her ex-boyfriend broke into her house, hid behind her bedroom door, and then attacked her as she and her two grown children-a son and a daughter-were about to eat dinner. In the second version, it’s still the night after Christmas, but it might be 2013, and only her daughter is at home with her. There’s a half-eaten apple on the floor of the kitchen; she remembers asking her daughter if she’d thrown it toward the garbage and missed. She also remembers thinking that she’d left the outside light on and then it was off.

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Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale Adopts Safer Soccer Program

#NoHeaderNoBrainer Program at Boys and Girls Club

Safer Soccer Program

FC Tucson Youth Soccer Academy Baseline Concussion Testing

FC Tucson Baseline Concussion Testing Interview with Dr. Hirsch Handmaker – Tucson Channel 4 News

FC Tucson Baseline Concussion Testing Event Overview – Tucson Channel 4 News

Safer Soccer Press Conference - #NoHeaderNoBrainer Campaign

Safer Soccer Campaign Announces Groundswell of Support from Soccer Stars, Coaches, Concussion Experts, and Sports & Health Organizations

United States soccer legends Kristine Lilly and Julie Foudy, decorated women's national team coach Tony DiCicco, Santa Clara University women's soccer head coach Jerry Smith,the Women's Sports Foundation, the LA84 Foundation and a dozen concussion researchers and clinicians headline a list of the latest soccer, medical, and youth sports experts to announce their support of the Safer Soccer campaign.

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HUFFINGTON POST LIVE – Traumatic Brain Injury's Unknown Victims

Traumatic Brain Injury's Link to Domestic Violence

Program Launched to Treat Link Between Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury

One of the largest (and longest running) domestic violence shelters in the U.S. recently announced plans to develop the first program dedicated to the analysis and treatment of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in women and children coping with domestic violence. Much like professional sports players and military personnel, women and children impacted by domestic violence are more likely than the general public to suffer from a TBI.

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If You're A Domestic Violence Survivor With Unexplained Symptoms, Read This

It's fairly well known that traumatic brain injury - a complex injury caused by a jolt or blow to the head disproportionately affects athletes and soldiers. But what about the 1 in 4 women in the U.S. who are estimated to be survivors of domestic violence?

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An Understudied Area of TBI

Although this blog primarily focuses on mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) – concussion – and the ramifications on adolescents there are many segments of society that deal with brain injury. The most severe of this is traumatic brain injury (TBI); the difference at its basics is that there is actual physical findings of damage to the brain itself – a bleed, skull fracture, hematoma, etc. I am sure there may be a better way to put it but for the sake of being simple that is the difference.

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The Women Who Face More Traumatic Brain Injury Than NFL Players

Thirty years ago, Kerri Walker, now a coordinator for a domestic violence shelter in Phoenix, found herself inexplicably driving down the left side of the road into oncoming traffic. "It felt totally normal," she said, recalling how she was oblivious to the danger. Walker escaped an accident that day, but looking back now, it was the first clue she had an undiagnosed brain injury.

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The CACTIS Foundation and Tucson Medical Center Focus on Concussions at Soccer Shootout

Fort Lowell Shootout Coverage – Tucson Channel 13 News

Fort Lowell Shootout Coverage – Tucson Channel 4 News

Fort Lowell Shootout Coverage – Tucson Channel 11 News


Medical teams talk concussion safety at Shootout

Whatever the weekend forecast, there is a 100 percent chance of soccer happening around southern Arizona.

The 25th Annual Soccer Shootout kicks off Friday night at Fort Lowell Park where medical teams set up a tent for the first time this year.

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Health officials raise concussion awareness at soccer shootout

The Tucson Association of Realtors Shootout kicked off at Fort Lowell Park Friday night.

About half of the 349 youth soccer teams were from out of town. The event brings an estimated $4 million to the local economy.

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TMC teams up with the CACTIS Foundation to establish baseline concussion testing for young athletes

Tucson Medical Center is teaming up with the Central Arizona Center for Therapy and Imaging Services Foundation and Conquering Concussions, LLC, to respond to an emerging health concern affecting thousands of young athletes in Southern Arizona.

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Scottsdale Football Program Focuses on Concussions

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale has created a unique youth football program aimed at educating young athletes about the dangers of concussions, an emerging health concern in youth sports.

In partnership with the CACTIS Foundation, the football program is able to provide resources to create a program aimed at educating young athletes, their parents, coaches and staff about the proper steps to reduce the number of concussions, a press release states.

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Boys & Girls Clubs of Scottsdale Emphasizes Safe Play Initiative, Concussion Awareness in Fall Football Programs

A major health care concern has continued to grow since the 2010 reports about sports related concussions in current and former professional athletes – especially within the football community. That research led to an examination of youth-league football programs where it was found that other than a required sports physical, there were few processes or Best Practices in place regulating how coaches and other youth development professionals were to evaluate hurt players and educate parents on how to keep their kids safe while playing football.

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Concussions: A better baseline for diagnosis and treatment


Charlie Shearer, OD Tests the Capabilities of a Young Soccer Player


Cactis Foundation partners with Banner Concussion Center to prevent soccer injuries

Dr. Charlie Shearer, an optometry consultant with CACTIS, tests the near/far accommodation capabilities of a young soccer player. Several of Dr. Shearer’s inventions and techniques are in daily use at the Banner Concussion Center.

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Youth Soccer Players to Receive Baseline Testing for Concussions on Saturday

The CACTIS Foundation and Banner Concussion Center teamed up to conduct baseline testing on girl soccer players in advance of the September start of the 2013-14 youth season.

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Firm to aid small practices’ clinical trials

Arizona hospitals have committed more than $400 million on new cancer centers and technology in an effort to bring the most sophisticated treatment to patients.

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Dr. Coral Quiet Named One of the 48 Most Intriguing Women in Arizona

On March 26, Dr. Coral Quiet was honored as one of the 48 Most Intriguing Women in Arizona. The Centennial Luncheon was held at the Phoenician Resort and showcased 48 amazing women for their contributions to Arizona in the fields of medicine, government, business and the arts. Among the powerful women in the room, along with Dr. Quiet, were honorees Janet Napolitano, Cindy McCain, Sandra Day O'Connor, Rose Mofford, and Carole Machiz.

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Chris Nowinski to receive First Annual Conquering Concussions "Hero" Award from The CACTIS Foundation

PHOENIX, AZ, January 19, 2012 – The CACTIS Foundation announced today that Chris Nowinski will receive the First Annual Conquering Concussions "Hero" Award, for his pioneering efforts in raising awareness and exploring the issue of minimal Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI), especially in young athletes.

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The CACTIS Foundation's Game-Changing Informatics Initiative Sponsored
By Varian Medical Systems

PHOENIX, AZ – (November 26, 2011) The CACTIS Foundation today announced that a grant from the Varian Medical Systems Foundation will make it possible for CACTIS to improve the health and wellbeing of patients, especially underserved communities, in the greater Metropolitan Phoenix, Arizona area.

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Dr. Javier Cardenas Discusses the Need for Concussion Education


The Central Arizona Center for Therapeutic and Imaging Services Foundation ("CACTIS"), a 501 (c) 3 organization, is a community-based institution focused on advancing the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease. It accomplishes this by supporting research-oriented preclinical and early phase clinical trials, Continuing Medical Education (CME) and other programs for patients and healthcare professionals. CACTIS is currently developing programs in the fields of oncology, molecular imaging, orthopaedics and sports medicine, with significant attention to addressing the healthcare delivery disparities of underserved communities. For more information, visit

Contact: Sally Chambers, (602) 763-5545

About the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale has provided quality programs to Phoenix's Northeast Valley Youth since 1954. In that time, more than 100,000 children and teens have been served. Today, more than 16,000 community youth ages 6 to 18 are served through the organization's nine branches and 12 outreach sites located in Scottsdale, Fountain Hills, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Hualapai Indian Community and other Northeast Valley neighborhoods. For more information,visit

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