Founder’s Corner

Learn About Pate Rehabilitation

founder Dr. Hayden talks about Pate rehab
Dr. Mary Ellen Hayden, Pate Founder

Pate’s founder on her thoughts about Pate Rehab

In October 1974, I was studying for my doctoral exams in neuropsychology when I received news that my 12-year-old son, Ben, had been hit by a car while riding his bicycle.

He was rushed to the hospital with a severe head injury. At the time, it was very difficult to save the lives of people who had suffered traumatic brain injuries, and despite the doctors’ best efforts, Ben passed away that evening.

Brain injury rehabilitation programs were in their infancy when my son died, and research on brain injuries had just begun. I became committed to improving the success of brain injury rehabilitation and outcomes.

After I earned my doctorate in neuropsychology, I began conducting research in the field and this eventually led to the founding of Pate Rehabilitation.

About Pate Rehab History

After studying the latest innovations in brain function analysis, I partnered with Dr. Dan Morrison, a physician specializing in rehabilitation. We launched an inpatient brain injury rehabilitation program at Del Oro Hospital in Houston, where we were aided by research from Dr. Roger Sperry, the 1981 Nobel Prize winner in medicine for split brain research.

Dr. Sperry provided great insight into how people think, reason, remember and make decisions. Our program adopted a team-centered approach with professionals from traditional medical disciplines including physical medicine and rehabilitation; nursing; social work; and physical, occupational, speech and language therapies.

While we were realizing successful outcomes, there was a void in outpatient therapy. In response, an outpatient program was launched that mirrored the Del Oro inpatient model. I soon noticed, however, that though patients continued to improve in the clinical setting, they seemed to struggle in other environments.

Why would patients appear to improve in the clinical setting, but not be able to maintain their outcomes in the real world?  We discovered that the treatment environment should mirror the one the patient would be returning to.

For example, speech therapy and physical therapy needed to be integrated, rather than conducted in separate sessions, because in the real world, people often talk and communicate while doing physical activities.

The program was adjusted and honed to achieve the proven approach still utilized today.  The hallmark of this approach is the customization of treatment to each patient’s ability level and tolerance of distractions.  As progress is made, therapists introduce greater complexity into the treatments while reducing structure – a model that helps assimilate individuals to the outside world.

Not Just a Job 

For more than 30 years, Pate Rehabilitation has been dedicated to improving brain injury rehabilitation and enabling patients to thrive in the real world.  With an emotional tie and a deep interest, Pate’s mission is to ensure successful treatment and the best possible outcomes for those with acquired brain injuries.

Throughout our history, we have been committed to treating the people we serve with compassion, dignity, hope and respect.  I know how important it is to live by these values since it is what I would have wanted for Ben and the rest of my family.

Mary Ellen Hayden



Mary Ellen Hayden Ph.D., ABPP


Our Mission


Our mission and values are driven by the desire to provide the highest level of care to our patients with brain injuries. We advocate for patients to promote improved access to, and reimbursement for, care. We fund our own research. Our researchers spearhead efforts to continually improve clinical efficacy and outcomes.

We aspire to be:

  • The preeminent provider of personalized, evidence-based neuropsychological, cognitive, physical, occupational, and speech therapies to individuals recovering from acquired brain injuries;
  • The most compassionate resource for families, helping them meet the practical and emotional challenges of caring for persons with brain injuries;
  • The unsurpassed leader in research, advocacy, and education to advance understanding in the prevention of, and effective care for, brain injuries;
  • A stimulating environment for professionals seeking to optimize their skills and training, and contribute to the body of knowledge influencing therapy for individuals with brain injuries.




We hold ourselves to the highest moral, ethical and legal standards at Pate Rehabilitation, to promote the freedom, rights, dignity, and trust of those with whom we interact.

At Pate, we strive to always treat others as we would like to be treated—with honesty, compassion, understanding, and gratitude. There is simply no other way to conduct business, especially when our service is so deeply personal.

With facilities in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Anna, Texas, we provide evidence-based physical, occupational, speech/language and neurocognitive therapies as well as vocational rehabilitation and animal assisted therapy activities to advance and accelerate patient recovery—helping individuals suffering from an acquired brain injury return to the highest quality of life possible.


Core Values


Creating a values-based corporate culture that extends throughout our rehabilitation centers is an important part of the Pate mission. These six values are interwoven into everything we do.

  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Empowerment
  • Respect
  • Compassion
  • Relationships


Learn more about Pate Rehab and its unique programs.