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Polytrauma/TBI System of Care

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Welcome to the Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center

The Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC) is one of 5 facilities in the country designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to Veterans and Servicemembers who experienced severe injuries (including brain injuries) to more than one organ system. Palo Alto also houses a Polytrauma Network Site (PNS)- one of 23 facilities designed to provide outpatient rehabilitative care.

Polytrauma is defined as two or more injuries sustained in the same incident that affect multiple body parts or organ systems and result in physical, cognitive, psychological, or psychosocial impairments and functional disabilities. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) frequently occurs as part of the polytrauma spectrum in combination with other disabling conditions, such as amputations, burns, pain, fractures, auditory and visual impairments, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental health conditions. When present, injury to the brain is often the impairment that dictates the course of rehabilitation due to the nature of the cognitive, emotional, and behavioral deficits related to TBI. For more information about Polytrauma, visit the national Polytrauma System of Care site.

The Polytrauma System of Care in Palo Alto includes:

  • Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC) - an inpatient rehabilitation unit.
  • Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Program (PTRP) - a TBI residential rehabilitation unit. Learn More
  • Intensive Evaluation and Treatment Program – inpatient medical, rehabilitation, and mental health management of chronic post-deployment symptoms.
  • Polytrauma Network Site (PNS) an interdisciplinary outpatient program. Learn more

Mental Health Support/Veterans Crisis Line

Many Veterans with Polytrauma injuries also need mental health support. If you or someone you know is having trouble readjusting to civilian life, is having trouble sleeping, or is experiencing mood swings, depression, or other signs of extreme stress, we can offer free or low-cost assistance and care.

Veterans Crisis Line.

Veterans Crisis Line (1-800-273-8255)

For immediate help, call the National Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Your call is confidential and can also be anonymous. Or, you may have a confidential online conversation with a professional on the National Veterans Crisis Line Web Chat site 

Readjustment Counseling Service (Vet Centers)

National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

VA Mental Health Program


Learn more about OEF/OIF services available throughout the region.


Palo Alto VA Medical Center

VA Palo Alto Health Care System
3801 Miranda Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 493-5000
Toll Free: 800-999-5021

Social Work Case Manager Supervisor, Rehabilitation
Program Manager, Post-9/11 Military2VA (M2VA) Case Management
Associate Social Work Chief, Rehabilitation
Laura Gomez
(650) 444-7114

Transition Care Management Program Coordinator
Laura Gomez
(650) 444-7114

Palo Alto PRC
Polytrauma Social Work Case Manager:
Sylvester Williams
(650) 353-6448

Polytrauma Social Work Case Manager:
Stefanie Chin
(650) 353-6448

Polytrauma Director
Pawan Galhotra
(650) 493-5000, Ext 67271

Palo Alto PTRP
PTRP Director
Jerome Sabangan
(650) 493-5000, Ext. 69510

PTRP Physiatrist:
Allison Capizzi, MD
Ninad Karandikar, MD
PH:(650) 493-5000, Ext. 66753

Palo Alto PNS
PNS Director
Esmeralda Madrigal
(650) 493-5000, Ext. 65053

Admissions Coordinator
Olga Katsnelson
925 373-4700 Ext. 33081

Rehabilitation Deputy Chief of Staff (Polytrauma, SCI/D, BRS, PM&R, RT)
Odette Harris, MD, MPH
(650) 493-5000, Ext. 62212

VA Palo Alto Health Care System is a proud member of the Sierra Pacific Network – Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 21.


Additional Information

If you are interested in more information about admission to the Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center or want to schedule an evaluation, please contact Sandy Stafford-Cecil, our Polytrauma Admissions Coordinator, at (650)-493-5000, Ext. 66764.

Returning Servicemembers

Veterans returning from Operation Enduring Freedom and/or Operation Iraqi Freedom (OEF/OIF) should contact their local OEF/OIF Coordinator for information about benefits and health care enrollment.

  • Points of contact for Veterans and returning Servicemembers throughout the Northern California and Northwestern Nevada region.

Rehabilitation Tools

The Memory Book: One unique tool developed by the TBI team that helps patients acquire the skills of normal daily life is a memory book. In the book, patients keep a schedule and write down reminders for themselves. As one former patient, Alec Giess, describes it, "You teach yourself something, then the next day you've got to teach it again. And again. And again." He wore a rubber band around his wrist to remind him to look in his book.

Driving Simulator: If the patient is cognitively and physically able to drive, the simulator helps the patient get ready for the road before actually going through on-the-road driver training.