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B I Survival Kit
Over 1.4 million people sustain a brain injury each year in the United States. Add to that the number of returning veterans with a brain injury and the numbers are staggering. The Brain Injury Survival Kit: 365 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Deal with Cognitive Function Loss aims to give brain injury survivors, their families, and loved ones the strategies they need to improve brain function and quality of life. The book is a compendium of tips, techniques, and life-task shortcuts that author Cheryle Sullivan, M.D. has compiled from her personal experience. Readers will learn successful approaches to:
  • Balancing a checkbook
  • Using medication alarms
  • Compensating for impaired memory function
  • Locating things that have been put away
  • Word finding
  • Concentration exercises
  • Communication tools

This book book also contains information about general health tips to improve your brain function, information helpful to anyone interested in performing better and maintaining brain health as they age. It also includes information on how energy use differs after brain injury, as well as many tips, tools and tricks to help manage energy and fatigue to improve overall function. For those concerned about their memory function, there is information about how our memories work as well as many tips, tricks and tools to help either improve your memory or work around memory deficits.  In the chapters on Time Management, Checklists and Routines, Memory and Organization there are tips, tools and tricks to manage in any of these specific areas that will help with overall organization in your life.  Being more organized in relation to your time, things and space improves how any of us function, but is especially important for those dealing with deficits in memory, energy, time management, etc. after a brain injury.

Because it has been shown that people do better in dealing with brain injury who have an understanding about what is happening to them, there is a very extensive chapter devoted to resources for those who have had a brain injury as well as their family and supporters.   There are also references for locating specific tools helpful to dealing with the cognitive issues of brain injury.  From basic principles to unique solutions for saving time and energy, this book is packed with helpful information for those coping with the special challenges of a brain injury.
If you would like to order this book from the publisher where it is also available in several large print sizes, please Click Here. On the publisher's website, enter my name in the search bar, then click on "Products" to order the book. You can also check out my profile as well as a video interview done by the publisher.


If you are coping with a brain injury – either personally, within your family, or among your friends – you have just opened the right book.

The Brain Injury Survival Kit is unique in the world of self-help literature.  It isn’t written by just another doctor who likes to write, or by a brain injury survivor who likes to share, it is a combination of the two – and you are the beneficiary.

Cheryle Sullivan, MD, knows brain injury – BI - and she knows it intimately.  Before her own accidents, she dealt with BI in her immediate family, so the road has been long and hard, but instructive.  As a physician, she thinks scientifically, making the kind of connections between neurology and everyday reality that escape most of her peers, and virtually all of ours.  She has walked the walk and now she is talking the talk – to you.

The Survival Kit is a practical approach to living every day (every single day, since it provides 365 tips, tools and tricks…) with a brain injury.  The severity of the impairment will, of course, dictate the utility of what you learn, but there is clearly something for everybody in this great collection of helpful hints.

Those of us in the field of education, prevention and treatment understand that historically, brain injury has been a hidden epidemic, plaguing the world for centuries, without its due notice.   Unless a head injury resulted in obvious surgery, facial alteration, or physical impairment, most brain dysfunctions were invisible to others.   Injuries resulting from falls at home or collisions on the football field had been dismissed as mere “concussions,” where the survivor was merely “knocked out.”

No more.  Between America’s professional sports and the mid-East wars of the new century, awareness has risen.  People are beginning to wear helmets when skiing, riding bicycles or playing on skateboards.  Schools and teams are collecting baseline data for annual comparisons to monitor the status of basic brain functions. Emergency rooms are doing follow-ups on the most minor of head injuries.  Intensive Care Units and Rehab centers are saving lives and brain function with new drugs, machines and techniques.

Knowing about all of this progress, Dr. Sullivan has stepped forward to serve the cause.  I first met her at a Brain Injury 101 class that she was teaching in Colorado Springs, at Penrose Hospital, where I served as Director of Rehabilitation Services.  I was (and am) President of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Colorado (BIAC), whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for survivors of brain injury and their families, and BI 101 is one of our community classes.

Beyond her vast knowledge of the neurological basics of BI, I was struck by Dr. Sullivan’s common-sense approach to daily life, and, of course, her vibrant sense of humor.  She was amazingly direct and transparent about her own impairments, often laughing at herself when a word escaped immediate recall; she would calmly capture the moment and use it as an example of impaired brain function.  Such spontaneous honesty made her more human and approachable to the audience – many of whom were themselves survivors.

Increased awareness and advanced technology have created the greatest population of known brain injury survivors in the history of the world, so Dr. Sullivan’s book is a timely and valuable contribution.  If you are living with or near brain injury you will immediately recognize the physical, mental and emotional challenges cited in this book, and you will appreciate the experience-based solutions offered.  I am proud to recommend it.

Gary A. Morse, M.A./M.S.
Vice- President of Human Resources
Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Colorado Springs, CO
President of the Board of Directors of the Brain Injury Association of Colorado (BIAC)


About the Author

Cheryle Sullivan MD, was born and raised in Kingsford, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  She earned a BS in Biology at Michigan Technological University and graduated Summa Cum Laude.  She then attended Michigan State University's College of Human Medicine, receiving an MD degree in 1983.  She completed a family practice residency at Saginaw Cooperative Hospital in Saginaw Michigan  then served 2 years in the National Health Corps, repaying medical school grants in Brown City Michigan, practicing out of Marlette Community Hospital.  For the next eight years she was on the medical staff of Central Michigan Community Hospital  in Mt. Pleasant Michigan before moving to Colorado
to join the Colorado Permanante Medical Group and work for the Kaiser Permanente Longmont facility.  From 1999 to 2003 Dr. Cheryle Sullivan served as the Physician in Charge of the Longmont Kaiser Facility. In 2002 Dr. Sullivan was in an accident which resulted in a brain injury.   After rehabilitating  from her brain injury she had an unsuccessful return to work trial, & then transitioned to doing community education presentations for Kaiser’s Prevention Department as well as presenting in physician training programs on providing culturally competent care for diverse populations, including persons with disabilities.

Since  Dr. Sullivan's earliest days in medicine, she has had a passion for providing community education on health-related topics.  With her personal experience with brain injuries it was a natural progression to move her focus to this area.  She has done presentations at the Brain Injury Association of Colorado's annual Brain Injury Conference twice and has also published pieces about dealing with traumatic brain injury.  This book, Brain Injury Survival Kit: 365 Tips, Tools & Tricks  to Deal with Cognitive Function Loss, is a compilation from these & other educational activities. 

Press Clippings and Links

Publishers Weekly,  August 4, 2008

Health Front and Center

One of many grim statistics of the Iraq war is the number of soldiers returning home with brain injuries (more than 300,000 at last count, according to the New York Times) and other battle-zone conditions.

In January 2008, Demos Health published its third edition of Brainlash: Maximize Your Recovery from Mild Brain Injury by Gail L. Denton, and this summer it released Brain Injury Survival Kit: 365 Tips, Tools and Tricks to Deal with Cognitive Function Loss by Cheryle Sullivan. Says director Noreen Henson, “Because the equipment these soldiers are using is actually so much improved and advanced than in past military actions, a much higher percentage of soldiers are surviving injuries that would have been fatal in previous wars.”

To read the whole article, please click the link below:

DAV Magazine,  March/April 2010
Family Caregivers Play a Vital Role p. 20-22
To read the article, please click the link below:

TBI -- " Being Different is Okay" 
To read the article, please clink on link below:

Book Reviews

"The Brain Injury Survival Kit is an all-in-one resource for people with TBI and their families. This book provides attention to the challenges of living with TBI as well as addressing the inner and outer structures to be effective in living a full and healthy life.  Cheryle Sullivan MD
 continues to provide tips for healthy living through her own personal experience and professional training. Easy to read, usable and essential for all."

Terry Chase, MA, ND, RN
Patient & Family Education Coordinator
Craig Hospital
Denver, CO

"Cheryle Sullivan MD has written an incredibly thorough book full of functional strategies for people living with brain injury. This will serve as a helpful resource for my clients and assist them in dealing with their cognitive deficits."

Mary E. Dineen, MS, CCC/SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist
Boulder Community Hospital
Boulder, CO

"Dr. Sullivan's book, Brain Injury Survival Kit,  is a tremendous resource for people with acquired brain injury.  The many concrete suggestions and resources provided are absolutely "on target" for  people with cognitive challenges.  Reflected in this book is the unique ability of a physician writer to take her own experiences and resourcefulness to create a highly readable and extremely useful text for others who find themselves in similar circumstances."

M. Elizabeth Sandel, MD  

Chief, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Napa Solano Service Area 
Director, Research and Training
Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center 
Vallejo, CA

"Dr. Cheryle Sullivan's unique perspective as both a doctor and a patient provides great insight to head trauma related issues and solutions.  Within her knowledge I found a source of relief for my son who has a TBI.  But, in addition, I discovered many nuggets of wisdom that have benefited my own life following two brain tumor surgeries.   

I work as a teacher and tutor.  This information has helped me empower students who struggle. 

With knowledge comes the power to effect change.  We were mired down only able to wait for rescue to get better.  Dr. Sullivan's concepts have provided that power for us to turn the corner and head towards change.  Now we continue to move forward."

Melanie Shaha
Educator and mother of a child with TBI


"Mild Tramatic Brain Injury is often misunderstood, underdiagnosed, and undertreated.  Dr. Cheryle Sullivan, a family physician, pilot, world traveler and Mild Tramatic Brain Injury survivor helps demystify the condition as an energy deficient state with physical, cognitive and emotional consequences, and guides individuals recovering from an injured brain with a well-organized self-help styled manual - a logical "flight plan" toward optimal recovery."

Julie Stapleton, MD
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Boulder, Colorado

"Dr. Cheryle Sullivan, elegantly defines and presents the 'to-dos' for an organized and easier life for the brain injured person and their family members.  A must-have guidebook, cutting to the chase for support systems, strategies, and tricks to ease and accelerate the recovery process." 

Gail Denton, Ph.D. 
Author of Brainlash: Maximize Your Recovery from Mild Brain Injury 

More Book Reviews on Amazon.com
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