One Fund Center Launches in September to Offer Ongoing Care for Those Affected by the Marathon Bombings

September 03, 2014

Mass. Eye and Ear is part of a multi-institution collaboration to coordinate care for bomb survivors who are part of the One Fund community. The new One Fund Center will focus on hearing difficulties, mental health issues and other invisible wounds.

Contact: One Fund, 855-717-FUND

BOSTON (Sept. 3, 2014) -- The One Fund Boston, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary today announced the creation of the One Fund Center, a collaboration that will offer ongoing care to those affected by the often invisible, yet persistent, injuries sustained in the Boston Marathon bombings. The One Fund Center will bring together resources and medical expertise from Massachusetts General Hospital, Mass. Eye and Ear and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital to coordinate personalized care and support for those injured and their families, evaluate and address the limitations created by physical injuries and invisible wounds, and work toward maximizing their lifetime potential.

Established in the wake of the April 2013 bombings, the One Fund Boston, a 501c3 organization, has served as a meaningful way for people from throughout the nation – indeed the world – to offer hope and support to the community of survivors and victims’ families directly affected by the tragic event. The fund collected more than $80 million, which has been distributed via direct cash gifts to more than 200 individuals and families. In addition to these cash gifts, the One Fund Boston has given $1.5 million to establish and support the One Fund Center to coordinate and advance the care of victims’ invisible wounds for at least the next two years. Any additional donations received by the One Fund during this time will be directed to the One Fund Center.

“The One Fund Center is designed as a resource for survivors, their families and the victims’ families to connect them with exceptional care and each other,” says Jim Gallagher, president of the One Fund Boston Board. “The One Fund Board is again grateful to the entire hospital community in Boston who continue to work together in supporting and treating this very special group of individuals and their families. It is without ego or hesitation that they have spent countless volunteer hours working toward this collaborative treatment and evaluation center. We are so proud that Boston continues its tradition of leading the way in exceptional, innovative care.”

Drs. Dan Lee and Dan Polley are helping Marathon bombing victims as part of the One Fund Center.
Drs. Daniel Lee (l) and Daniel Polley (r) are helping survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing who have hearing difficulties.

Specifically, the One Fund Center will serve patients who have had difficulties with tinnitus, or persistent ringing in the ears, and other hearing-related problems; mental health issues, including post traumatic stress disorder and anxiety; and traumatic brain injury and its associated symptoms such as headache, cognitive symptoms and balance difficulties.

Hearing loss and tinnitus care, which will be coordinated through Mass. Eye and Ear, will involve a combination of medical evaluation, state-of-the-art hearing testing, pharmacologic intervention, acupuncture and stress management techniques. Mass General will coordinate the ongoing mental health needs of center patients, and, in conjunction with Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, will offer support and services to those suffering from traumatic brain injury. In addition, the One Fund Center will collaborate with the Benson Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Mass General to help patients learn relaxation response elicitation techniques, stress awareness, and coping and adaptive strategies. The One Fund Center will also draw upon the expertise and experience of the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program in providing mental health care, traumatic brain injury treatment, and support.

“Much like veterans who suffer adverse effects after returning from combat, many of those who were near the site of the marathon bombings continue to experience a wide range of complex issues,” says John Herman, M.D., associate chief of the MGH Department of Psychiatry and a member of the advisory panel for the One Fund Center. “The physical and psychological scars of such a significant and tragic event often require long-term, coordinated treatments to help alleviate the lingering debilitating effects.”

MGH psychiatrist Rebecca Weintraub Brendel, M.D., J.D., medical director of the One Fund Center, says the One Fund Center will serve as an additional resource for patients. “We recognize that the path to recovery is a collaboration involving every aspect of the patient’s care and well-being. It is our hope – and ultimate goal – to offer as many options as possible for survivors to successfully manage and recover from the lasting effects of this tragedy.”

Daniel Lee, M.D., director of the Pediatric Mass. Eye and Ear, Hearing and Balance Center and a medical advisor for the One Fund Center, calls the collaborative effort an important way to provide ongoing care to the One Fund community. “We are dedicated to bringing together world-class resources that are available in Boston to help those affected with hearing loss and tinnitus cope, recover and begin new chapters in their lives,” Lee says.

“In addition to more traditional treatment methods, the One Fund Center will use newly developed technology to help patients suffering from tinnitus, an approach we hope will silence the invasive ringing sensation associated with this type of disorder,” says Daniel Polley, Ph.D., director of the Amelia Peabody Neuroplasticity Research Unit, Mass. Eye and Ear.

One such technological innovation studied by Polley to alleviate symptoms of tinnitus involves the development of auditory rehabilitation software that can be installed on mobile tablet devices. Using an immersive gaming interface may help “reset” the pathological activity in certain brain areas that causes tinnitus, potentially eliminating many of the debilitating symptoms victims may experience, Polley says. The portability of the tablets enables patients to benefit from individualized rehabilitation strategies in the comfort of their own homes, rather than coming into the hospital for treatment. Microsoft has donated a significant number of its Surface Pro 2s to the One Fund Center to support this ongoing work.

The One Fund Center will launch in September.

For additional information about the One Fund Center contact One Fund Boston at 855-617-FUND

Note to those interested in participating in the study: The tablet and auditory rehabilitation software that is part of this project is not yet fulled developed and tested and is not available for patients. We are not accepting volunteers for the future research study. Information about clinical trials that are recruiting volunteers can be found here. If you wish to be added to list of those who are interested in learning about any research advances in the area of tinnitus, please email us and we will add your name to the "tinnitus research interest group." This group will receive emails detailing any advances made by our hearing researchers in the area of tinnitus. Thank you!