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Military Health System

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Welcome to the new National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) website, the headquarters of the Defense Intrepid Network for Traumatic Brain Injury and Brain Health (Intrepid Network).

The NICoE is dedicated to improving the lives of patients and families affected by traumatic brain injury (TBI) through collaborative efforts with patients, families, referring providers, and researchers. Since opening on June 24, 2010, in Bethesda, Maryland, we have established a reputation for excellence in TBI and brain health clinical care, research, and education.

The NICoE and the Intrepid Network are central to TBI care and innovation across the Military Health System, which ensures patients have:

  • A point of entry to the care system
  • A clear path through diagnosis, treatment, and reintegration
  • Consistent access to high quality TBI treatment, research, and education

Learn more about the NICoE.

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Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Video
3/23/2022
Art Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Adrienne Stamper, an art therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), provides a window into the process of healing through art therapy. Art therapists are master’s-level behavioral health professionals who are trained to use art as a vehicle for non-verbal thoughts, emotions, and experiences. At NICoE, the service members have freedom of self-expression and use a wide range of media such as painting, sculpting, drawing, wood-burning, collaging, and creative writing. Stamper explains the scientific basis for why traumatic survivors struggle to put their experience into words, and how art therapy can enable them to find their voice. By working with imagery, the emotional brain, and the physical body, art therapy helps to integrate and restore a sense of control over these painful memories. Stamper walks us through the studio, sharing stories of service members who found healing through art therapy, and shows us the faces of the invisible wounds of war.

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Dance and Movement Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Video
3/16/2022
Dance and Movement Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Liz Freeman, lead dance/movement therapist; and Kristine Keliiki, dance/movement therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), discuss the many ways they use dance movement therapy (DMT) to help patients at the NICoE. DMT is the psychotherapeutic use of movement to promote emotional, social, cognitive, and physical parts of a person in order to improve health and well-being. This brings the body into the treatment process to address behavioral health and rehabilitative goals. Freeman and Keliiki also discuss the history of DMT, citing its birth through a dance for communication program in the Federal Psychiatric Hospital St. Elizabeth’s in the 1940s. March 13 to 19 is Creative Arts Therapies Week. To celebrate, the NICoE created videos highlighting a day in the life of some of our creative art therapies at the NICoE. This video is part of a multipart series.

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Music Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Video
3/16/2022
Music Therapy at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence

Nate McLaughlan is a board-certified music therapist at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE). In this video, he discusses the many way music therapy can help patients at the NICoE. He explains that music therapy uses music-based experiences to address identified symptoms and goals with a music therapist who is trained to use elements of music to promote physical, mental, and social health. McLaughlan also describes the different approaches he takes with NICoE patients. They vary from introducing someone to playing an instrument for the first time, revisiting an instrument, figuring out listening strategies, organizing an intentional playlist, and writing music. The music therapy program at the NICoE helps service members and their loved ones connect with themselves and others through music listening, discussion, and making. A unique part of the NICoE music therapy program is each cohort of service members experience interventions as a group, helping ease them into this journey together. March 13 to 19 is Creative Arts Therapies Week. To celebrate, the NICoE created videos highlighting a day in the life of some of our creative art therapies at the NICoE. This video is part of a multipart series.

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NICoE, NHRC Team Up To Make CAREN Technology Portable

Article
8/12/2021
A person walks in front of a large virtual reality screen.

Head-mounted display technology has become more affordable and accessible

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TRIP initiative bridges the gap between TBI research, clinical care

Article
5/13/2021
a statue of a broken circle

The Defense Intrepid Network launches the TRIP initiative to translate research findings into clinical practice.

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MHS Minute March 2021

Video
4/1/2021
MHS Minute March 2021

March marked Brain Injury Awareness month in the military. We're spotlighting efforts across the MHS to combat Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and better understand how TBI impacts our Service members. For more information about the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE), go to walterreed.tricare.mil/NICoE For more info on the Traumatic Brain Injury Center of Excellence (TBICoE), go to Health.mil/TBICoE

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New NICoE director sets an ambitious agenda for the future

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3/8/2021
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The accomplished new leader of the NICoE and Intrepid Spirit Center network has plans for increased services and a higher profile for the unique care center.

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Last Updated: May 13, 2022
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