Alliance News for 1st Quarter 2015

Member states of the Alliance are hard at work providing services to persons with brain injury in their families.  Read about their progress!


The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona held its second annual professional conference, The Mystery of Brain Injury:  Decoding the Clues of Cognitive Challenges, in December.  The conference included internationally known speakers and was attended by more than 150 professionals.  The addition of a pre-conference to this year’s event provided the opportunity for education in brain injury basics to 60 professionals, including Vocational Rehabilitation counselors.

In addition, the BIAAZ is excited to receive additional funding to continue to provide education classes in Healthy Living and through the Brain Gym program to people living with brain injuries. The second year of this program will include topics such as the healing arts of music and harp therapy, therapeutic stretching, laughter therapy and many other classes that provide people living with injuries with ways to reduce stress and improve their quality of life.



Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado is the go-to resource for help and services for survivors of an injury to the brain, their families and providers. Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado is dedicated to serving individuals affected by all forms of injuries to the brain such as stroke, a blow to the head, tumor, and lack of oxygen, toxins and infection. Brain injury of Colorado offers support, information, resources and hope through a vision that all persons with a brain injury thrive in their community. With a mission of offering guidance, resources, support and education, we are able to seek to facilitate lifelong growth of Coloradans affected by an injury to the brain.

Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado is able to accomplish this through numerous successful programs such as Summer and Winter Therapeutic Recreation that includes single and multi-day programs featuring a range of summer activities such a hiking, climbing, ropes course, cycling and rafting. Winter activities include skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing and snowshoeing. All of these would prove to be challenge enough for even the healthiest of individuals, so imagine the confidence building it can do for the brain injured!

Of course, there are many therapeutic, social, community outreach, public policy and resource related programs as well; however the annual fundraiser, the Pikes Peak Challenge, is a top event. Held in September, the last event raised $165,000 and included a three-mile family friendly walk in Manitou Springs. Over 50 survivors took part in this walk along with family members, friends and children.

New in 2015 for the Pikes Peak Challenge, we will be partnering with “Flaik” a company that will supply GPS tracking devices to all hikers enabling family and friends to track them from start to summit. With over 450 participants there will be thousands of people checking in on their hiker multiple times during the day. To check out all that we are doing and all we have to offer, go to

BIAC also offers this list of conferences/workshops for professionals in the business:

Grand Junction CO
May 8, 2015
St, Mary’s Medical Center
Target Audience: Professionals in the brain injury field

Colorado Springs
September 2015

November 5-6, 2015
Colorado Convention Center, Denver, CO
Target Audience: Professionals in the brain injury field



The Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut hosted its Annual Professional Conference on Friday, March 6th at the Hilton Hartford. Medical professionals, educators, and service providers gathered for a day of compelling discussion and education about brain injury.   Speakers included Dr. Robert Cantu, one of the world’s foremost authorities on concussions and brain trauma in sports and David Grant, a brain injury survivor and author.  In addition, workshops included:  Biomarkers currently being trialed for concussions, Clinical, Survivor and Familial Perspectives on Rehabilitation & Outcomes, TBI and Return to Learn, Cognitive and Behavioral Strategies and Marijuana use and the youth brain.  For more information, visit BIAC’s website at



The Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa shares that the disability services “system” in Iowa is in a state of very intense change.  Over the past year, the responsibility for many Medicaid services has been centralized from administration in each of Iowa’s 99 counties to the State; the Counties have been required to move from independently supporting non-medaid Mental Health, Disability and Brain Injury services into 15 different regional clusters.  The State has been inconsistent in what it has allowed the “regions” to levy, pool and save, thus, regions are hesitant to deploy services.  Into this mix was an announcement by the Governor of intended privatization of all Medicaid services by the end of this calendar year (also known as Medicaid Managed Care).

Meanwhile, BIA-Iowa continues to respond to more than 30,000 calls and contacts each year from Iowans with brain injury and their families and caregivers.  BIA-IA’s annual “Advocacy Day” at the Iowa Statehouse was a success with more than 100 participants braving subzero temperatures and wind chill to impress upon policy makers the need for brain injury services and prevention.  Advocates were pleased that a universal helmet bill was introduced in the Iowa House of Representatives later that same day.  Preparations for BIA-IA’s annual conference are nearing completion with Dr. Ann Glang and Jason Crigler Keynotes.



“Building Your Brain Injury Toolbox” Conferences:

Service Providers             Individuals, Family Members & Caregivers

Kalispell, MT           April 17, 2015                     April 18, 2015

Miles City, MT         May 8, 2015                        May 9, 2015

Great Falls, MT       May 22, 2015                      May 23, 2015

An estimated 40,000 Montanans are living with brain injury caused by a stroke, medical disease, or traumatic injury.  If you are living with a brain injury, are a family member, caregiver, or service provider, plan now to attend “Building Your Brain Injury Toolbox!”

Service providers attending the conference will increase their understanding of brain injury and related symptoms,  learn strategies to enhance their work with survivors and families, and receive resources and information to increase community awareness. Continuing education credit is pending for Social Workers, Professional Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, Licensed Addiction Counselors, Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (State CEP, and Occupational Therapists).

Brain injury survivors and family members will receive information on current issues, learn strategies to improve their quality of life, and expand their support team by networking with fellow survivors who also journey through new pathways in life.



A big part of the Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance’s winter is spent at the Minnesota State Capitol, where Citizen Advocates meet with legislators to share their personal experiences with brain injury. Every Tuesday, starting in January, advocates and Public Policy staff meet at the Capitol to hear policy updates, get help writing their personal stories and meet with legislators. This year’s “Tuesdays At the Capitol” have proven to be very successful so far, with up to 33 participants turning out in a single afternoon.

The Legislative Priorities for 2015 focus of reforming Medical Assistance (MA) in Minnesota. MA provides adults and seniors with disabilities with access to services necessary for independent living. The current policy forces people to go deep into poverty in order to get these services. This year, the Alliance is focusing on increasing the MA Income, Asset and Spend-down standards so people can keep more of their money and not have to go into poverty to receive benefits. Also, we hope to repeal the MA for Employed Persons with Disabilities premium and fee increases.

Another legislative priority is changing the law to require motorcyclists to carry personal injury insurance. Current law does not require personal injury insurance for motorcycles in Minnesota. This increases the risk of motorcyclists bankrupting themselves and their families and has left Minnesota taxpayers with a $60 million bill for hospital charges over the past ten years.

The Minnesota Brain Injury Alliance is also preparing for our 2015 Annual Conference for Professionals in Brain Injury. The Conference will be held on April 9 and 10. Keynotes will be given by John D. Corrigan, PhD, Professor from Ohio State University and Andrew Kiragu, MD from Hennepin County Medical Center. This year, the conference will be host to two plenary speakers: musician Sam Baker, whose experience surviving and recovering from a brain injury due to a terrorist bomb triggered a musical outpouring that grew into an international career; and Lisabeth Mackall, MS, CCC-CLP, author and blogger who has written extensively about her family’s adjustment following the brain injury of her husband, police officer Frank “The Tank” Mackall.


New Jersey

This March, in recognition of Brain Injury Awareness Month, the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey launched a public awareness campaign to increase awareness about brain injuries, including prevention, recognition, and response.  The multi-channel campaign included compelling video testimonials and on and offline communication tools such as posters and graphics.  The goal, ultimately, is to unite the thousands of New Jerseyans living with brain injury and their families who are taking action to ensure their voices are heard.

The Alliance organized several public activities throughout the month and which culminated with our 9th Annual Gala on Tuesday, March 31 at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ.  The Gala – which raises funds to provide help, hope, and a voice to individuals and families in NJ living with brain injury – honored Bob Doll, Senior Portfolio Manager and Chief Equity Strategist for Nuveen Asset Management and Vicente H. Gracias, MD, FACS, FCCP, FCCM, the Interim Dean at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.  Rebecca “Becky” Quick, co-anchor of CNBC’s signature morning program Squawk Box, served as the Honorary Chairperson and Mistress of Ceremonies.

The Alliance recently hosted webinars on a variety of topics related to brain injury.  Webinar topics included: Introduction to Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income, Return to Learn: Concussion Management Teams, and Concussion in Younger Children.  All webinars are archived and available to download by visiting

Finally, the Alliance is set to launch a pilot Brain Injury Resource Support service for individuals who have sustained a brain injury and their family members.  Funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, Division of Disability Services, Traumatic Brain Injury Fund, the program will partner with discharge planners at hospitals to help identify newly injured individuals who consent to be contacted by BIANJ for information about resources and services available.  For more information, please visit



Texas welcomes new board members: Kelly Ramsey (President), Greg Walton (Vice President), Mendi West (Secretary-Treasurer) Donna Kuhlmann, Mitch Rappaport, Serena Formby, Felix Yruegas.  The board is actively engaged in a number of exciting new initiatives, so stay tuned and visit for the latest information!


The Brain Injury Alliance of Washington (BIAWA) had a lot of things to be thankful for this winter. BIAWA had an exciting end of the year starting with our 8th Annual B.I.G Event (Brain Injury Gala). This event continues to grow as one of the largest events in the nation. This year we had over 600 attendees and were successful in raising over $500,000! We were thrilled to welcome our special guest, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Honorary Chair Peter McLoughlin, President of the Seattle Seahawks.  This year’s theme was “Stronger Together, Celebrating 50” as everyone joined in celebrating the passage of youth concussion legislation in all 50 states.

In December, BIAWA celebrated the holidays at our annual Silver and Gold Holiday Party. Over 100 staff, board members, survivors, caregivers and supporters gathered together as a community to celebrate a great year of expanded resources and support for those we serve and to share some fun, food and song.



Kasana Restaurant + Bar, a restaurant in Milwaukee, held a Pop-Up event where a portion of the ticket sales were donated to Brain Injury Alliance of Wisconsin. The event was open to the public and included a 12-course meal with ten wine pairings. The wine vendor also donated a portion of his proceeds to BIAW. The event was fun, and we look forward to participating again in the future.

BIAW will be holding CBIS training/testing in March 2015 as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. We have 17 candidates signed up for the training/testing.

The 27th Annual Wisconsin Conference on Brain Injury, presented by BIAW, will be May 4-5, 2015. “Mind, Body, & Spirit in Brain Injury” will be held at Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells and is open to survivors, family members, caregivers, and professionals. We have four keynote speakers and five break-out sessions which include 14 different choices.

We are developing Support Group Facilitator training, which may also include training to include peer-to-peer support. This will be a train-the-trainer opportunity in order to make training available around the State.

June 1, 2015 brings our golf outing fundraiser, “Chip In for Brain Injury,” which will be held at Western Lakes Golf Club in Pewaukee, WI.  The event is a four-person scramble and will include golf, cart, practice range, lunch, appetizers, dinner, and a program. We hope to fill the course. Our committee is working hard to make this event a success.

Our 12th Annual Walk for Thought & Picnic will be held Saturday, October 3, 2015, at three locations: Brookfield, Eau Claire, and Green Bay.