C. A. Shively, Dr. Gorgens and Marchell Taylor Rebuilding the Minds of Colorado
Relating her existing research on traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in sports to incarceration and recidivism seems unlikely. However, had Gorgens never looked into the criminal justice system, who knows what the story may have been for Taylor.
February 09, 2020
Kim A. Gorgens, Ph.D., ABPP is a Professor of Psychophysiology, Clinical Neuropsychology and Psychology of Criminal Behavior at the University of Denver. Since 2013, Dr. Gorgens and The Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado (BIAC) have conducted neuropsychological screenings on individuals in county jails and have determined that 50-80% of the inmates in Denver County Jails have traumatic brain injuries.
Over a two-year period, her graduate students assessed 80 inmates in the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in Denver, which houses arrestees as they await sentencing. The findings from the pilot study were staggering, ninety-six percent of inmates screened had suffered moderate or severe brain trauma, and almost all the females who underwent the TBI screening had brain injuries.
The program continued to screen inmates in the Denver County Jail, and one of the inmates tested happened to be AYBOS Marketing co-founder Marchell Taylor. The story of Taylor and The Rebuild Your Mind Initiative have both been in the news lately, but at the heart of the story is Dr. Gorgens’ research. Relating her existing research on traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Chronic traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in sports to incarceration and recidivism seems unlikely. However, had Gorgens never looked into the criminal justice system, who knows what the story may have been for Taylor.
These injuries going unidentified and untreated often lead to poor executive functioning in the prefrontal cortex, repeated criminal behavior, high incarceration and recidivism rates. AYBOS Marketing is dedicated to shedding light on these illnesses in the courts and the news. AYBOS is running an aggressive mental health initiative in the “Rebuild Your Mind Challenge” (RYM). RYM was developed by AYBOS Marketing to take an aggressive approach in identifying, destigmatizing and treating Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) and Mental Health Disorders in three targeted areas in the State of Colorado. The challenge is inspired by the findings of Gorgens and her colleagues in an effort to make Colorado the most efficient trauma-informed, trauma-conscious and trauma-responsive state.
AYBOS is also currently the principle grant investigators for a grant to fund the Rebuild Your Mind Initiative, as well as drafters of a new neuropsychological/ psychological Bill that will advance the efforts of Dr. Kim Gorgens and the BIAC’s work. The Bill calls for providing neuropsychological screenings on certain class felonies and individuals with multiple convictions, including those inmates that are currently in the Colorado Dept. of Corrections. AYBOS goal is to target and identify not just the mental health disorder, but the neuropsychological disorder and treat it as well.
The new Neuropsychological and Mental Health Bill will assist the neuropsychological/ mental health community in targeting the prison population and parolees that may have slipped through the cracks of Dr. Kim Gorgens and The BIAC due to funding and resources.
Upon receipt of the Bill and the Rebuild Your Mind Challenge summary, Dr. Gorgens reached out to AYBOS to have the first patient of her students, Taylor, come back and give a Trauma-informed workshop. This workshop represented the full circle from Gorgens research & treatment, to the treatment’s success in one of its subjects. Taylor and AYBOS Business Director C. A. Shively gave an hour plus brief on what the trauma looks like on the other side of testing. See the workshop following:
For Gorgens to see Taylor come full circle after such a set of traumatic circumstances brings her to tears during the workshop. The passion she has for her work can be seen by the genuine attentiveness paid to Taylor and Shively throughout the entire presentation. The real jewel of the day was Dr. Gorgens accepting the Rebuild Your Mind Challenge herself. Though many professionals have been apprehensive to get on camera and discuss their mental health experiences, Gorgens dives right in and holds no punches. Following is Dr. Gorgens Rebuild Your Mind Challenge Video:
Follow this story by going to @RebuildYourMindChallenge on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
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