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Brain Injury Association of America – 2021 Update

shana de caro

In a presentation to the North American Brain Injury Association Medical/Legal Seminar, Shana De Caro discusses the goals of the Brain Injury Association of America, and offers insight into the many ways the association assists brain injury survivors in America today.

The Brain Injury Association of America has been the leading voice for brain injury awareness, education, and advocacy in the United States since 1981. I am privileged this morning to provide an update on our many programs and advocacy efforts on behalf of the over 5.2 million Americans suffering from long term disability from brain injury.

The mission of the BIAA is to advance awareness, research, treatment, and education and to improve the quality of life for all people affected by brain injury.

The Vision of BIAA is that Everyone, and I want to emphasize, everyone, who sustains a brain injury is diagnosed, treated, and accepted.

The goals of BIAA are to:

  • Improve care and support for individuals with brain injury and their families
  • Increase awareness and understanding of brain injury and the many services offered by the Association
  • Accelerate research for treatment and cures
  • Increase BIAA’s impact commensurate with the scope of the issue

BIAA is the voice of brain injury and a primary authority on medical diagnosis and treatment, disease management, research and life challenges associated with brain injury and we embrace our role as a leading influencer of public awareness and public policy change.

We serve the entire field. BIAA respects the dignity and worth of all people. We encourage individuals with brain injury and their family members to participate in meaningful ways while welcoming the involvement of researchers, clinicians, and other professionals as we pursue BIAA’s mission with urgency and excellence.

BIAA works with survivors, caregivers, and professionals to improve the quality of life for brain injury survivors.

We are proud that:

  • 96% of participants plan to use Association services and programs in the future
  • 94% of participants are willing to recommend the Association to a friend or colleague

The mandate of BIAA is wide and deep. The association provides a National Brain Injury Information Center hotline to assist individuals and families who experience the life-changing effects of brain injury.

Callers are linked to compassionate, knowledgeable specialists who assist in locating rehabilitative, legal, financial, and other support services critical to maximizing recovery.  Moreover  20,000 individuals are  served annually.

The toll free hotline is: 1-800-444-6443

BIAA sponsors the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists ACBIS, providing a body of knowledge that strives to improve the quality of care for individuals with brain injury. Certified Brain Injury Specialist (CBIS) is a credential for individuals who assist persons with brain injury to restore, maintain, and promote optimal health and has been widely recognized and respected for many years in the field of brain injury. ACBIS applicants can apply for certification as individuals or as members of a group. The certification is valid for one year and requires an annual renewal. 
ACBIS provides education, training, and credentialing to professionals as brain injury specialists

  • The program was established in 1996 and provides voluntary training and certification to persons employed in the care of individuals with brain injury
  • Currently the association processes over 1800 Applicants per year
  • There are approximately 8,000 Current Certificants in the US & Internationally
  • In 2018 a new program was introduced, Fundamentals, which was focused on Families & Non-licensed staff. In the year 2021, the association will roll out an Advanced Practice Certification.
  • And later in 2022 -2023 ACBIS will offer a Concussion Certification

BIAA also hosts about 30 educational webinars per year for clinicians, researchers, families, and survivors and annually presents the Brain Injury Business Practice College for CEOs, COOs, Sales and other management personnel from the nation’s leading brain injury rehabilitation facilities.

BIAA is the voice of brain injury on Capitol Hill. Our policy priorities for 2021 focus on:

  • Increasing access to care
  • Bolstering research on brain injuries stemming from COVID-19
  • Securing federal funds for TBI Act programs in the US Department of Health and Human Services

Further reading:

BIAA’s Research Fund was established in 2019 from a generous bequest and BIAA’s reserve funds. We are now in our 3 year grant-making cycle.

Our funding priorities are:

  • Chronic Brain Injury
  • Childhood Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Excess Mortality – Moderate and Severe Brain Injury
  • Chronic Health Conditions Management
  • Social Determinants of Health

The association can fund 2 seed grants and 2 dissertation awards per year. Obviously we would like to fund more, but this is only possible with your assistance.

Further reading:

The association reaches 575,000 annual visitors through our web site:

We have 85,000 subscribers to our print, electronic, and social medial channels.

Our addresses are shown here and link directly from our website.

We also circulate THE Challenge Magazine to 10,000 print subscribers and another 3,000 online readers each quarter.

For more than 30 years, THE Challenge! has been a go-to source for public policy news, research, legal issues, and inspiring stories of recovery in the brain injury community.

With your assistance and the financial support of major donors we will be able to enhance and transform our core programs.

Provide concussion certification, and scholarships for our ACBIS brain injury certification program

Provide translations of our brain injury fundamentals guide into Spanish and provide peer support

Our advocacy efforts continue through our leadership to preserve Medicare and Medicaid funding as well as Social Security Disability Funding

And our research grant program will be able to fund larger and multi-year grants.

There are many opportunities for you to assist BIAA.

From working with us to seek major gift donors which will allow BIAA to expand programs and services; assisting in finding corporate partners for program and webinar sponsorship; annual giving, event sponsorship, gifts in memory of a friend or loved one, and promoting BIAA to friends and neighbors who can become our fans and donors.

Shana De Caro is the Chairwoman of the Brain Injury Association of America, and a partner in the New York brain injury law firm, De Caro & Kaplen, LLP.

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