Dr. Brenda Eagan-Johnson




Child, Adolescent, & Young Adult 

Brain Injury Neurodevelopment

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert


Children, adolescents & young adults- early intervention-age through college-age may experience behavioral and learning difficulties following an acquired brain injury. Nationally, because educators rarely receive training on the resulting educational effects and academic supports required after a student's brain injury,

those students often receive inappropriate

educational and behavioral plans at school. 

Dr. Eagan-Johnson dedicates her work to identifying and ensuring students receive needed individualized education, transition supports, & resources to promote

optimal outcomes post-brain injury.


Intensive clinical daily experience paired with the latest cutting edge research when working with children, adolescents, and young adults following

all severities of acquired brain injury.


Extensive Pediatric

Brain Injury Experience

Dr. Brenda Eagan-Johnson, CBIST specializes in the current and future cognitive, learning, socio-emotional, physical, & behavioral aspects of all types & severities of pediatric Acquired Brain Injury (both Traumatic & Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries), with over two decades of experience. Dr. Eagan-Johnson focuses on identifying the strengths & deficit areas of clinical & functional skills in children, teens, & young adults through college-age after brain injury.


Dr. Eagan-Johnson directs the nationally recognized BrainSTEPS Child & Adolescent Brain Injury School Consulting Program for the state of Pennsylvania, which she helped create in 2007. The Colorado Department of Education adopted the BrainSTEPS model in 2016. Dr. Eagan-Johnson focuses on translational research, program development, fidelity of implementation, & consultation &  training of the approximately 300 brain injury consultants serving on 30 brain injury educational consulting teams across the state.  Additionally, she regularly connects families to medical & rehabilitation professionals to ensure children, teens, &  young adults after brain injury receive the needed community-based supports & services if

home or school-based learning or behavior are impacted.


Additionally, Dr. Eagan-Johnson:

  • Received her Doctorate from Johns Hopkins University specializing in Mind, Brain, & Teaching (educational neuroscience),

  • Serves as an adjunct instructor in the George Washington University (GWU) Graduate School of Education and Human Development teaching a course on brain injury,

  • Received her Master's Degree in Education & Human Development, focusing on transition & special education for students with pediatric TBI from the GWU,

  • Serves on the Board of Governors for the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists under the Brain Injury Association of America. She is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer,

  • Focuses her research interests on pediatric brain injury which includes professional development for school staff, communication & processes of medical to rehabilitation to home & school transitions, students in early intervention/preschool, K-12 grades, & college-age, as well as program evaluation of school district Return to Learn Concussion Management Team models,

  • Holds three teaching certifications,

  • Serves on national brain injury advisory boards,

  • Publishes on pediatric brain injury in peer-review journals,

  • Presents regularly at the state, national & international levels,

  • Received multiple state & national awards for her work in brain injury,

  • Served as an expert external reviewer for the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),

  • Co-authored a CDC document on return to school strategies,

  • Serves as an expert consultant for a CDC $2.2 million 4-year study of the BrainSTEPS model.

  • Created and spearheads the development of PA’s Return to Learn Concussion Management Team Model, now training over 3,000+ school-based teams,

  • Advocates for social justice legal aid funding for health disparity groups and has been asked to present numerous times for national and federal organizations in PA and Washington, DC, including a Senate briefing panel and a Congressional briefing panel in Washington, D.C. 


"Eagan-Johnson...probably has been more effective than anyone in the country at training people on school-based concussion management."

S. Moore, 1/2019, Portland Tribune reporter, Pamplin Media Group, InvestigateWest

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert

"What I've found is, anywhere we have resistance -- and we meet resistance, because of that public perception -- 'Oh, they're fine,' 'They look fine,' 'The doctor said they're going to be fine' -- once we do awareness training, to let them know this is real and serious, the compassion tends to change [for the better]."

Dr. Brenda Eagan-Johnson speaking about pediatric traumatic brain injuries, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 11/29/10

"When we place demands on a student's brain, that can cause symptoms to spike...It is a balancing act to ensure that the student is still in school and learning, but also making sure their symptoms don't get worse." 

Dr. Brenda Eagan-Johnson speaking about concussions,

Wall Street Journal, 8/20/2013

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert

"Effects of brain injuries in children are not always immediately apparent and may not become evident until the child reaches important developmental stages. Over time, difficulties may emerge as demands on parts of the brain originally injured are increased," said Dr. Eagan-Johnson.

State health officials push awareness for brain injury among students 

Fox 43 News, 9/12/2019


Educational Background


Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore, Maryland

Doctorate: Mind, Brain and Teaching

George Washington University

Washington, DC

Post-Master's Graduate Certificate: Brain Injury: Educational & Transitional Services

George Washington University

Washington, DC

Master of Arts in Education and Human Development:  Transitional Special Education Specializing in the Educational Aspect of Traumatic Brain Injury

Wittenberg University

Springfield, Ohio

Bachelor of Arts:  Elementary Education & Special Education

My education, training, & clinical experience has focused specifically on the neurodevelopmental impacts to education, home & family, socialization, behaviors, in-school transitions, and post-school transition resulting from the following types of

pediatric acquired brain injuries:


I specialize in working with children, teens, & young adults with the following types of acquired brain injuries: 



Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) which includes (mild/concussion, moderate, severe brain injuries)

caused by:

  • Falls

  • Motor vehicle crashes

       (ATV, car, go-cart) 

  • Assault

  • Gunshot wounds

  • Abuse/abusive head trauma

  • Pedestrian accidents

  • Bicycle accidents

  • Recreation activity injuries

  • Gunshot wounds

  • Bomb blasts

  • Bus accidents

  • Brain surgery

  • Playground accidents

  • Sports,

  • Strangulation,

  • Choking,

  • etc...


Non-Traumatic Brain Injuries (nTBI) caused by:

  • Lead poisoning

  • Mold exposure

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Near-drowning

  • Cardiac arrest/event (heart attack, 

       diabetic coma, blood clot...)

  • Electric shock

  • Lightning strike

  • Stroke

  • Brain tumor

  • Aneurysm

  • Seizures

  • Ruptured AVM


  • COVID-19

  • Lyme disease

  • Childhood cancers & late-term chemotherapy

        & radiation effects to   the brain,

  • Medication/drug overdoes,

  • Meningitis,

  • Encephalitis,

  • Any type of incident that causes lack of oxygen to the brain, etc.


personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert

Experience in the field of Pediatric Brain Injury


BrainSTEPS – State Project Director

Child & Adolescent Brain Injury School Re-Entry Consulting Program

A joint project of the PA Department of Health, PA Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, & Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania

2007 – Present

The George Washington University - Adjunct Instructor

Graduate School of Education and Human Development, Department of Special Education and Disability Studies

2015 – Present


Johns Hopkins University - Doctoral Level Teaching Assistantship

2017 – 2019




Athena Leader Award Nominee, Mercer & Lawrence County

April 2016


Wittenberg University Women in Leadership Luncheon Honoree

September 2015


Council on Brain Injury (CoBI) Organization Award for BrainSTEPS

Awarded by the Council on Brain Injury to the BrainSTEPS Program in PA for leadership and advocacy in the field of brain injury

September 2015


Brain Injury Award of Excellence for Directing & Developing the BrainSTEPS Program

Awarded by the Acquired Brain Injury Network in Pennsylvania

April 2014


Service to the Brain Injury Community Award

Awarded by the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania for the creation of the BrainSTEPS Concussion Management Team Project

June 2013


6th Annual Friend of Education Award

Awarded by the Midwestern Intermediate Unit #4 that serves Lawrence, Mercer, and Butler PA school districts

April 2013


40 Under 40 Award

Awarded by the Lawrence County, PA Chamber of Commerce & the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce

April 2013


Wittenberg University Alumni Citation Award

Awarded to one who honors Wittenberg by exceptional accomplishments in which service to humanity is placed ahead of personal gain or recognition. 

October 2009


Pioneer in Brain Injury Award

Awarded by the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, Inc. for outstanding effort and achievement in charting new territory in the brain injury field for the creation and development of the BrainSTEPS Brain Injury School Re-Entry Program

June 2009


National Award of Excellence for Programs & Services

Awarded to Pennsylvania’s BrainSTEPS Brain Injury School Re-Entry Program

from the Brain Injury Association of America

December 2008

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert

National Publications- Non Peer Reviewed


Esopenko, C., Meyer, J., Wilde, J., Marshall, A., Tate, D., LinInga, A., Koerte, K., Werner, K., Dennis, E., Ware, A., de Souza, N., Menefee, D., Dams-O’Connor, K., Dan Stein, D.,  Bigler, E., Shenton, M., Chiou, K., Postmus, J., Monnahan, K., Eagan-Johnson, B., van Donkelaar, P., Merkley, T., Velez, C., Hodges, C., Lindsey, H., Johnson, P., Irimia, A., Spruiell, M., Bennett, E., Bridwell, A., Zieman, G., Hillary, F. A global collaboration to study intimate partner violence-related head trauma: The ENIGMA consortium IPV working group. Brain Imaging & Behavior. Manuscript accepted for publication.


Haarbauer-Krupa, J., Sarmiento, K., Thigpen, S., Glang, A., Eagan-Johnson, B., McAvoy, K., Chinnis, M., Kurowksi, B., Suskauer, S., Crowley, M., Denslow, P. Returning to school after traumatic brain injury: Description of programs addressing the issues.  Manuscript in process.

(Co-Lead & Co-Author)

McAvoy, K., & Eagan-Johnson, B

Workgroup co-authors: Dymacek, R., Hooper, S., McCart, M., & Tyler, J. (2020) First national concussion return to learn consensus. Journal of School Health. 

(Invited Guest Editor)

Guest Editor: Eagan-Johnson, B. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) Special Interest Group Neurogenic Communication Disorders. SIG 2 Perspectives Journal, consisting of 4 manuscripts.


Salley, J., Krusen, S., Lockovich, M., Wilson, B., Eagan-Johnson, B., & Tyler, J. (2019). Maximizing expertise and collaboration to support students with brain injury: A case study in speech-language pathology. Perspectives of the ASHA Special Interest Groups. 1-16



Salley, J., Eagan-Johnson, B., Vaccaro, M., Nagele, D. and Ciccia, A. (2019). BrainSTEPS vocational outcomes of students. Manuscript in process.



Salley, J., Eagan-Johnson, B., Vaccaro, M., Nagele, D. and Ciccia, A. (2019). Long term need & outcomes for students with acquired brain injury.  Manuscript submitted for publication.


McAvoy, K., Eagan-Johnson, B., & Halstead, M. (2018). Return to learn: Transitioning to school and through ascending levels of academic support for students following a concussion. Journal of NeuroRehabilitation, (Preprint), 1–6. doi:10.3233/NRE-172381

(Lead Author)

Eagan-Johnson, B. & Grandinette, S. (2018). Addressing educational challenges in pediatric onset brain 

injury. Journal of life care planning, 16(1), 53-61.


Myers, R.., Eagan-Brown, B., Conway, A., Nagele, D., Vaccaro, M., Kendi, S., & Zonfrillo, M. Examining a statewide educational consulting program for pediatric brain injury. Clinical Pediatrics, ePub ahead of print: September 21, 2017, doi:10.1177/0009922817732146.



Halstead, M., Eagan Brown, B., & McAvoy, K. (2016). Cognitive rest following concussions: Rethinking cognitive rest. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 0, 1.




Halstead, M., McAvoy, K., & Eagan Brown, B. (2016) Expanding concussion laws

not necessary for return to learning after concussion. Pediatrics, 138(6), 1-2. doi:10.1542/peds.2016-3194



Gioia, G. A., Glang, A. E., Hooper, S. R., & Eagan Brown, B. (2016). Building statewide infrastructure for the academic support of students with mild traumatic brain injury. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 31(6), 397–406. doi:10.1097/HTR.0000000000000205



Zirkel, P., & Eagan Brown, B. (2015). K-12 students with concussions: A legal perspective. The Journal of School Nursing, 31(2), 99-109. doi: 10.1177/1059840514521465


(Contributing Author)

Dettmer, J., Ettel, D., Glang, A., & McAvoy, K. (2014). Building statewide infrastructure for effective educational services for students with TBI: Promising practices and recommendations. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. doi:10.1097/HTR.0b013e3182a1cd



Todis, B., Tyler, J., & Eagan Brown, B. TBI training and technical assistance teams:

A statewide model to improve school services (2010). Brain Injury, 24(3)115-463: 115-463.



Glang, A., Todis, B., Sublette, P., Eagan Brown, B., & Vaccaro, M. (2010). Professional development in TBI for educators: the importance of context. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 25(6), 426–432. doi:10.1097/HTR.0b013e3181fb8f45

External Expert Reviewer

Centers for Disease Control. (2018). Report to Congress: The management of traumatic brain injury in children: Opportunities for Action. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Retrieved from



Peer-Reviewed Articles


Full Curriculum Vitae

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert


Phone:  724-944-7744

personal injury, legal expert witness, concussion, traumatic brain injury, TBI, medico legal expert witness, mTBI, acquired brain injury, brain injury, expert


Dr. Eagan-Johnson:



Eagan Brown, B., Grandinette, S., Johnson, C., & Shea, M. (2017). The value of educators and brain injury educational specialists in a pediatric legal case. Brain Injury Professional, 14(3), 20-23.


Eagan Brown, B., Orzo, S., McAvoy, K. (2017). School nurses: Managing student concussions and privacy concerns. Brain Injury Professional, 14(3), 28-30.

Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2017). The BrainSTEPS program - returning to school after concussion: Recommended protocol. Retrieved from - co-author

Pennsylvania Department of Education. (2016). Teacher’s desk reference on concussion.
Retrieved from - co-author


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - co-author

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2013). Helping students recover from a

concussion: Classroom tips for teachers. Retrieved from  


Eagan Brown, B. (2010). Pennsylvania’s BrainSTEPS: Child & Adolescent Brain Injury School Re-Entry Program. Brain Injury Professional, 7(2).

Other Publications