Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, PhD, CRC, CVE, CLCP
Dr. Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, faculty in the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling program in the Department of Child and Family Studies, focuses on the rehabilitation and community reintegration of civilians, service members, and veterans with TBI.
Previously the Director of Family Programs & Services for the Brain Injury Association of Florida, Dr. Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga focuses on the reintegration of veterans with TBI into their communities, improving patient and caregiver quality of life. Dr. Dillahunt-Aspillaga carries a number of specialty certifications to work effectively with individuals with TBI and their families/caregivers. Certified as a Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), a Vocational Evaluator (CVE), a Life Care Planner (CLCP), and as a Brain Injury Specialist Trainer (CBIST), she is knowledgeable about the immediate, as well as short and long-term, needs of persons with TBI and their families/caregivers.
Two recent studies show the importance of her research. A 2013 study in PLoS One examined the use of the empirically supported Stress Process Model of Caregiving to assess caregiver needs to cope with stressors during and post-rehabilitation. This study illuminated the importance of caregiver knowledge and understanding of available benefits and services that can assist with long-term physical, emotional, financial, social, and informational support needs. A second study addressed the complexities and challenges that vocational rehabilitation professionals, who facilitate reintegration, face in assisting return-to-work for persons with TBI. Dr. Dillahunt-Aspillaga and colleagues found that rehabilitation providers varied in their understanding of TBI and use of tools, assessments, and techniques used during the vocational evaluation process. These findings have implications for professional workforce development and establishing a best practice for return-to-work protocols.
Dr. Dillahunt-Aspillaga is currently an investigator on four Veterans Administration grants: Action Ethnography of Community Reintegration for Veterans with TBI’, 'Measuring Quality of Life in Veterans with Deployment Related PTSD (DR-PTSD)', Community-Based Agricultural Initiatives for Transitioning Veterans, and'Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation of Veterans with Deployment-related Stress'.
In addition to her teaching and research, Dr. Tina Dillahunt-Aspillaga is a member of the Advisory Council of the International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, an international association for professionals involved in private rehabilitation and the Chair of the Community Re-integration Task Force of the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Military and Veterans Affairs Networking Group.