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TBI

The PA Department of Health (DOH) will be publishing two notices in the Pennsylvania (PA) Bulletin on January 20, 2024, regarding the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board.

The first notice announces the renaming of the TBI Advisory Board to the Brain Injury Advisory Board:
The Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Board (Board) was instituted in August 2001 by the Secretary of Health as a requirement of section 1252 the Federal TBI Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. § 300d-52) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Federal TBI Planning Grant, presently known as the Administration for Community Living (ACL) TBI State Partnership Program Grant. There is no requirement for the Board to be specifically called the TBI Advisory Board. Until 2021, the grant stipulated that the Board must have 50% of its voting members exclusively represent individuals with a TBI. With this limited scope, individuals with a nontraumatic brain injury (nonTBI) could not be considered as voting members. It created gaps in representation and understanding, hindering the Board’s ability to address the diverse needs of the broader brain injury community. As awareness of nonTBI evolved and service needs increased for individuals with a nonTBI, ACL expanded the scope of the Board to allow all individuals with nonTBI brain injury to serve as voting members. On August 4, 2023, the Board convened and voted unanimously to change its name to the Brain Injury Advisory Board. This adjustment underscores a strategic initiative toward inclusivity. It acknowledges the various origins of brain injuries and aims to bridge the current gap in representation. The change also aligns the Board’s nomenclature with its commitment to comprehensive advocacy, facilitating a more nuanced understanding and responsive approach to the diverse challenges encountered by individuals affected by all forms of acquired brain injuries.

The second notice provides information about the next board meeting. The Brain Injury Advisory Board will hold their next public meeting on February 2, 2024, from 10:00 am – 3:00 pm in person at the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN), 6340 Flank Drive, Harrisburg, PA 17112, in the Cambria conference room.

Meeting materials will be sent out before the meeting and will also be available on their website and at the meeting location. Questions about the meeting should be directed to Nicole Johnson.

The DOH’s Head Injury Program (HIP) strives to ensure that eligible individuals who have a brain injury receive high quality rehabilitative services aimed at reducing functional limitations and improving quality of life. The Board assists the DOH in understanding and meeting the needs of persons living with acquired brain injuries, both traumatic and nontraumatic, and their families. This quarterly meeting will provide updates on a variety of topics including the number of people served by HIP. In addition, meeting participants will discuss budgetary and programmatic issues, community programs relating to traumatic and nontraumatic brain injuries, and available advocacy opportunities.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently published the following reports in the Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation that examine and address gaps in traumatic brain injury (TBI) surveillance, including concussions that occur in youth sports.

Many concussions and other TBIs are first treated outside of emergency departments, suggesting that surveillance systems that rely only on hospital datasets are undercounting the true number of these injuries in the United States. CDC’s National Concussion Surveillance System (NCSS) Pilot used a random-digit-dial telephone survey to collect information on concussions and other TBIs. In addition to gathering data on more than just hospital-treated TBIs, the CDC report also describes a new tiered case definition with rising levels of certainty that a concussion or other TBI occurred based on the number and types of symptoms reported.

Additional information can be obtained from the CDC’s TBI website.

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The Council on Brain Injury (CoBI) clinical forum will be presenting a webinar on November 8, 2022, from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm. This webinar, titled “Recreational Therapy: Implications for Life Care Planning After Brain Injury,” will focus on how recreational therapy (RT) can help to support health promotion, prevention of secondary conditions, and quality of life. RT can also contribute to positive outcomes for individuals with various chronic conditions, such as brain injury. This webinar will consider the steps for integrating RT into the life care plan for individuals with brain injury and will include specific case studies to be described and discussed.

This webinar is intended for a professional audience and is free of charge. To participate, registration is required. Questions should be directed to MJ Schmidt of the Council on Brain Injury.