Our Interview with Dr. Claudia Osborn

On July 11, 1988, Dr. Claudia Osborn, a prominent physician practicing internal medicine in the Detroit area, was riding a bicycle when a car going the wrong way struck her. She got thrown in the air and landed on her head. She does not remember it happening. What she does remember is her recovery from a traumatic brain injury (TBI), and in 1998 she wrote what is widely considered the defining TBI memoir with Over My Head: A Doctor’s Own Story of Head Injury from the Inside Looking Out. Interviewed by our Different & Able President and Founder, Alexandra Nicklas, Dr. Osborn shares her story of her life prior to her TBI and her life now. She misses who she once was; but has adjusted herself to accept who she is presently. Dr. Osborn states, "I was a happy woman before my injury. I am a happy one today."

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Claudia Osborn is an Associate Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. 

She is also an advisor on TBI education and prevention to government agencies including the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Washington DC, and the Michigan Department of Health. Post rehabilitation, she taught first year medical students at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, until her lecture schedule took her across the continent and commanded all of her professional time. 

Pre-injury, she was a physician in Detroit with an office and hospital practice in Detroit who also instructed interns and residents. That life ended abruptly one summer evening when her bicycle was struck by an automobile and she sustained a traumatic brain injury. She underwent extensive rehabilitation in Manhattan at the Brain Injury Day Treatment Program of New York University Medical Center founded by Dr.Yehuda Ben-Yishay.

Following her return to her home in Michigan, she began writing. At first, it was a form of therapy. It soon became a cause in itself borne of a need to "be understood by others." Even with the assistance of her mother, who organized her notes and journals and edited her manuscript, the book took seven years to complete.

Over My Head, which Publisher's Weekly calls "exceptionally well written," was published by Andrews McMeel in April, 1998. It was an Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild Book Club, and a condensed book in the March, 1998 edition of The Reader's Digest. In the spring of 2001, she was honored by Psychology Today for her contribution to mental health.

Dr. Osborn is a graduate of Vassar College and Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Internists.


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