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Dr. Alina Fong PhD

To honor her father, who was a Vietnam War veteran, Dr. Alina K. Fong chose to work at the Veteran’s Affairs Salt Lake City Healthcare System for her PhD internship. At Veteran’s Affairs, Dr. Fong worked extensively with Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom veterans. It was during this time that concussion was identified as the signature injury of war. From 2007-2008, Dr. Fong was able to hone her knowledge and skills working with TBI and PTSD patients as she helped veterans fresh off the battlefield. It was this internship that shaped her future as it ignited her passion for helping TBI survivors find relief from their symptoms and suffering.

 

Dr. Fong earned her PhD in Clinical Psychology in April of 2008. During her academic career under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Bigler and Dr. Mark Allen, she received the national American Psychological Association Clinical Neuropsychology Division 40 Graduate Student Research Award in 2004 for her research on “Cortical Sources of the N400 and ‘The N400 Effect.’”

 

In tandem with Dr. Allen, she has published numerous articles that detail their discoveries and successes with combing neuropsychology and neuroimaging to improve the diagnosis and treatment of brain injuries (as well as various mental and emotional disorders). Through their research, Dr. Fong and Dr. Allen have derived normative data for various populations, including concussion and TBI populations. These research projects and publications have been used to improve the lives of concussion and TBI survivors.

 

In 2005, Dr. Fong joined Utah Valley Regional Medical Center (UVRMC) where she began treating patients with severe traumatic brain injuries. After her graduation in 2008, Dr. Fong continued her career with UVRMC, later becoming the director of clinical training for the neuro trauma rehabilitation clinic and sports medicine/concussion clinic. Dr. Fong still holds this position today. This year, 2020, will mark 15 years of service with UVRMC.

 

In 2012, Dr. Fong was contacted by NFL quarterback Tom Brady. He was impressed by Dr. Fong and asked for her help creating a concussion clinic. In 2013, they opened TB12 Sports Therapy and Concussion Center in Boston, Massachusetts. She continued working with Mr. Brady while she built up her own clinic, Cognitive FX (CFX), with Dr. Allen in Utah.

 

Cognitive FX opened in August 2014 with Dr. Fong as its clinical director and co-owner. Her expertise in the area of concussion care has led to the creation of Enhanced Performance In Cognition (EPIC) Treatment, which integrates fMRI into the latest mTBI treatment. EPIC Treatment represents the most comprehensive concussion care and brain rehabilitation available and vastly improves the diagnosis, treatment, and long-term planning of mTBI. Under Dr. Fong’s direction, CFX has treated almost 2,000 concussion and other brain injury patients, including professional athletes from the NFL, NHL, and the Olympics.

 

Her most recent achievement is the creation Neural Effects, the premier acute concussion treatment center in Utah Valley, which includes pediatric concussion treatment.

 

Additionally, Dr. Fong is the vice president and president elect for the Brain Injury Alliance of Utah, a board member of the United States Brain Injury Alliance, an advisory board member for PINK Concussions, and the director of concussion services at TB12 Sports Therapy Center.

 

Dr. Fong has also been featured in television programs and news articles worldwide for her pioneering efforts to relieve TBI survivors of their post-brain-injury symptoms. She has given 16 peer-reviewed conference poster presentations on topics such as post-concussion symptoms, mTBI treatment, and functional MRI since 2004. Dr. Fong has been an invited speaker at 60 symposiums and lectures. Some of her most notable lectures include the following:

 

Feb 28, 2020    North American Brain Injury Social, “FMRI: A Diagnostic Tool for Assessing Concussion Neuromarker Abnormalities and Treating PCS in MTBI Patients”

 

Sept 25, 2019   The National Association of State Head Injury Administrators, “Developing a Standard of Care for Post-Concussion Symptoms Utilizing FMRI and Multi-Modal Treatment”

 

May 22, 2019   American Society of Neuroradiology, “Neurovascular Coupling: A Unifying Theory for Post-Concussion Syndrome Treatment and Functional Neuroimaging”

 

Mar 16, 2019    International Brain Injury Association, “Ketogenic Diet: Improves Residual Headaches in PCS Patients?”

 

Sept 28, 2018   International Pediatric Brain Injury Society, Belfast, Ireland, “FNCI: Treatment and Diagnosis of MTBI for the Pediatric Population”

 

Sept 24, 2018   National State Head Injury Administrators Conference, “NeuroVascular Coupling: A Unifying Theory for Post-Concussive Symptom Treatment and FMRI”

 

Jun 11, 2018     Federal Interagency Conference on TBI, “NeuroVascular Coupling: A Unifying Theory for Post-Concussive Symptom Treatment and FMRI”

 

Apr 28, 2018    American Medical Society for Sports Medicine, “Sports-Related vs. Non-Sports-Related Concussions: An FMRI Based Study of Outcomes”

 

Mar 17, 2018    PINK Sessions, “Optimism in MTBI Rehabilitation: How Depression in Females Affects FMRI-Directed Concussion Treatment and Recovery”

 

Mar 14, 2018    North American Brain Injury Society, “Pediatric Plasticity: Improved Recovery Through FMRI-Directed Treatment in Younger Patients”

 

Aug 23, 2016   Veterans’ and Military Affairs Commission Meeting, “MTBI and Its Effects on Servicemen and Women: The Cognitive FX Approach to Treatment”

 

Jan 10, 2014     National Football League Players Association/NFLPA Educational Symposium at NFLPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., “Functional NCI and its uses for Concussion Diagnosis, Treatment and Return to Play”

 

When she’s not working for the TBI community, Dr. Fong is busy as a volleyball mom and dance mom for her three girls. Dr. Fong says that her real job starts when she goes home to raise three beautiful, kind, and capable daughters.

Articles By Dr. Alina Fong

What to Expect for Concussion, Severe TBI, and ‘Non-Traumatic’ Hypoxic Brain Injury Recovery

Brain injury recovery is hard. The severity of your injury, which parts of your brain were affected, and how they were affected, all factor into things such as how much you can recover and how long it will take.

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A Complete Guide to Post-Concussion Syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome occurs when concussion symptoms persist for months or years after sustaining a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) or another type of brain trauma. If you or a loved one received a post-concussion syndrome (PCS) diagnosis, you're probably wondering if it's treatable. (Short answer: yes!) You may also want to know how long recovery takes, what you can do to alleviate symptoms, and whether what you're experiencing is "normal." We treat post-concussion patients every day and regularly answer these questions for our patients. This guide will help you understand post-concussion syndrome in depth by answering a number of questions, including:

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Navigating Mental Health After Severe TBI and Concussion

Mild and severe traumatic brain injury (concussion and TBI) can cause upsetting changes to your mental health. You may find that preexisting mental illness worsens after your injury or that new symptoms —  such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and more — arise. Don’t give up hope: There are good treatment programs that can help you improve.

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