CONNECTIONS LEAD COORDINATOR
As a result of a single-car accident, Julie Collins is a quadriplegic who refused to allow her disability to hinder her ambitions and her goals in life. After being life-flighted to the Medical Center in 1988 and spending three months at TIRR Memorial Hermann in rehabilitation, this Native Houstonian went on to achieve her Associates Degree in Paralegal Technology, becoming a full-time paralegal at a personal injury law firm. She also obtained her Texas real estate license and is an Active referring real estate agent in and around Houston. She is a homeowner and drives her modified van wherever she needs to go. Because of her love of the outdoors, she has participated in adaptive waterskiing, hunting and fishing. Another subject close to her heart is volunteering. She is often found at TIRR Memorial Hermann volunteering with their community dining and SCI social groups. Julie is very excited to be a vital part of the growth of Connections Peer Network which is yet another extension of her desire to assist others enrich their lives and purpose.
LAURA WIGGS, PT, NCS
DIRECTOR OF COMMUNITY OUTREACH
Laura Wiggs, PT, NCS received a Bachelor of Science Physical Therapy from the School of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas in August 1991. Before beginning her career at Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation, she worked as a physical therapist at the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Challenge Program from June 2002 until May 2007. She also served as clinical assistant manager and physical therapy supervisor for the Brain Injury Team during her time at TIRR beginning in August 1994.
Ms. Wiggs is a licensed physical therapist in the state of Texas since 1991 and a board certified clinical specialist in neurological physical therapy by the American Physical Therapy Association. She is also a certified brain injury specialist, and is NDT certified. She has published several articles on the subject of neurological rehabilitation and stroke in such publications as Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation. Her professional activities include committee membership in the Texas Physical Therapy Association as well as membership in the American Physical Therapy Association and APTA Neurology Section.
In addition to her clinical activities, she has served as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch at the School of Allied Health Professionals since 2002. She has lectured internationally on topics such as Predicting Functional Outcomes, presented on the topics of Comprehensive Management of Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury, Managing the Agitated Patient and Spasticity Management for the MS and Stroke Population. She used her experience as a clinician and educator to develop and implement 6 brain injury programs at Mentis Neuro Rehabilitation.
Leah cole, OTR, mot
DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT
Leah completed her bachelor's degree in social science - sociology from the University of Texas A&M of College Station and a master's degree in occupational therapy from the University of Texas Medical Branch of Galveston. In May 2008 Leah joined the TIRR Memorial Hermann team, where she remained until 2011, at which time she accepted a position as the director of rehabilitation at a post acute rehabilitation center in Katy, Texas. Later, Leah returned to TIRR Memorial Hermann where she has specialized in traumatic brain injuries, CVAs, and is currently a level III clinician. Leah has received significant post-graduate training in neuromuscular reeducation, spasticity management, seating/positioning for neurologically involved patients, and has received multiple student education awards. Additionally, Leah is currently a new employee mentor, involved in wheelchair seating program development, is a presenter for a clinician seating and mobility course, and continues to be involved in BI program development. She stays busy in her time away from work as wife and a proud mother of two young kiddos. Leah is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and a licensed Occupational Therapist.