UM family supports sports concussion research
By Debby Teich
Photography by Sonya Revell
Aja Pollack is living life to the fullest again thanks to UHealth’s Sports Medicine Concussion Program
fter Aja Pollack, B.S. ’19, suffered two concussions several years apart, the University of Miami graduate was left with chronic migraines and cluster headaches, problems with vision and memory, and sensitivity to motion and light. At times, she had difficulty functioning in school and in her everyday activities.
“I was in tremendous pain and desperate for help,” said Pollack.
Pollack finally found relief through Gillian A. Hotz, Ph.D., the director of the UHealth Sports Medicine Concussion Program. A renowned concussion management expert, Dr. Hotz developed a comprehensive treatment plan and connected Pollack with specialists within the center’s multidisciplinary program.
“Our program has everything our patients need, including neurological, psychological, vestibular, ophthalmological evaluations and more,” said Dr. Hotz, who is also a research professor and director of the KiDZ Neuroscience Center at The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the Miller School of Medicine. “The team has expertise that can manage post-concussion symptoms effectively.”
In gratitude, Pollack’s parents, Andy Pollack and Judy Winberg, made a generous donation to establish a research fellowship position that will help advance concussion research.
“The UHealth Sports Medicine Concussion Program facilities and treatment, as well as the compassion of the doctors and staff, are second to none,” said Andy Pollack, B.B.A. ’85.
“Our gift will help UM improve concussion management locally and nationally,” added Winberg. “We’re very pleased to be able to help with that.”
“I finally feel like a normal 24-year-old,” said Aja, who graduated in 2019 with a degree in communications. “Dr. Hotz encouraged me each step of the way and helped me to manage my symptoms. She helped me get my life back.”
UHealth focuses on delivering high-caliber, patient-centered care, day in and day out.
he quality of care and the compassion with which it is administered go hand in hand. Similarly, quality patient care is the result of highly skilled clinicians who have access to both state-of-the-art tools and cutting-edge medical innovations.
Thanks to our deep commitment to collaboration, all members of our health teams work together to deliver high-caliber, patient-centered care, day in and day out. We are dedicated to treating our patients and their families as partners in the care of their loved ones, providing them with clear communication and instilling abundant hope and trust.
“As the region’s only academic medical center, our extraordinary translational research and exemplary patient care at UHealth are powered by the research of the Miller School of Medicine, which positions us to deliver the most cutting-edge discoveries and bench-to-bedside innovations available,” said Dipen J. Parekh, M.D., chief operating officer of UHealth, founding director of the Desai Sethi Urology Institute, and the Dr. Victor Politano Endowed Chair in Clinical Urology. “That’s something that no other hospital in South Florida can offer.”
As part of that mission, we are expanding our geographical footprint in order to bring our world-class care as close to patients’ homes as possible. This effort includes the opening of Bascom Palmer locations in Naples and other communities, the expansion of our facilities at Doral Urgent Care and SoLé Mia in Aventura, and patient shuttles to and from our satellite locations. This is not just about convenience — it is about the comfort of being treated within one’s own community, our commitment to treating the whole patient and demonstrating that we care about the communities we serve.