2019 Keynote Speakers

Carole Starr

Before her brain injury, Carole was self-employed as a corporate trainer. She was also a classical violinist and singer. In 1999, while in her home state of Maine, Carole as broadsided on the driver's side by a vehicle going 50 mph which resulted in a brain injury. She was unable to return to work or music and still lives daily with brain injury symptoms. One small step at a time, she's reinvented herself. Carole is now a national keynote speaker, the author of To Root & to Rise: Accepting Brain Injury and the founder/facilitator of Brain Injury Voices, an award-winning survivor volunteer group.

Lydia Greear

Lydia published her book, Traumatic Brain Injury, A Caregiver's Journey, after walking through months of TBI recovery with her son, Thaddeus. She remains a guardian of her adult son, who is in a treatment program for traumatic brain injury recovery. Her passions are family, church, and travel. She is currently the Executive Director for Women's Refuge of St. John's County, a residential program in St. Augustine where women can start over with a new understanding of God's plan for their lives.

Lydia lives in Palm Coast, Florida with her husband, Asa. She has three adult children and six grandchildren. She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.  She is a conference leader, motivational speaker, and corporate instructor. Lydia was born in Ashland, Kentucky and grew up in West Virginia and Kentucky. She spent 14 years living in French speaking countries including Paris, France; Cote d'Ivoire, and Benin. She is bilingual in French and English.

Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, MD

Dr. Diaz-Arrastia is Professor of Neurology, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, a role he assumed in July, 2016. At Penn he serves as Director of Clinical Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research and Associate Director of the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair. Dr. Diaz-Arrastia’s research interests have been focused on understanding the molecular, cellular, and tissue level mechanisms of trauma-induced neuroregeneration and injury-related synaptic plasticity, with the goal of developing effective therapies.

Dr. Diaz-Arrastia received his MD and PhD degrees at Baylor College of Medicine in 1988, and after an internship Beth Israel Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, he trained in neurology at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. He was on the faculty at the University of Texas Southwestern from 1993 to 2011, where he rose through the ranks from Assistant to Full Professor of Neurology. From 2011 to 2016 he was Professor of Neurology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), and Director of Clinical Research at the Center for Neuroscience and Regenerative Medicine, a federal intramural research program focused on TBI at USUHS and the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Diaz-Arrastia has published over 170 primary research papers, as well as over 40 invited reviews and book chapters. He has also served in several national committees related to TBI and post-traumatic epilepsy, convened by the Institute of Medicine, the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, the National Institute of Aging, the Department of Defense, and the Veterans Administration.

Leonard Kamen, MD

Dr Kamen is a practicing physiatrist with a subspeciality in Chronic Pain rehabilitation at MossRehab Hospital in Philadelphia. He is a clinical associate professor in PMR at Temple Univ. and faculty of Thom. Jeff Dept of PMR and U Penn Occupational Medicine residency programs where he teaches clinical outpatient rehab and pain medicine. Dr. Kamen has written and published on topics in pain and spasticity, pharmacology and

neurological impairment. His career has involved organizational activities and lecturing nationally and internationally. He has been recognized by consumer publications and professional organizations for his contributions to PMR and pain management.