Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) has been described as the "signature injury" of the Iraq/Afghanistan war. Growing numbers of service members are returning with traumatic brain injuries caused by a range of factors from helicopter crashes, to motor vehicle accidents, to blast injuries.

The MRC/Statewide Head Injury Program of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) has received a $1 million competitive federal grant to strengthen services for individuals who have sustained a traumatic brain injury. The four-year grant, awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration, builds on a 2006 grant to continue to improve systems of care to better serve veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who sustained a TBI and their families. This effort will include piloting an integrated case management model in partnership with the Massachusetts National Guard and Reserve.

Under the new award, culturally specific outreach will be directed to the Latino and African American communities and women. A major finding from the last initiative is that individuals with TBI in these populations continue to be greatly underserved. Strategies will include building formal and informal partnerships and collaborations with cultural organizations, community resources, veterans' centers, places of worship, shelters, libraries and schools.

Another segment of the grant will be the creation of a New England-wide collaborative to share information, best practices, services and supports for assisting veterans with TBI and their families throughout the northeast.

Advisory Committee

Massachusetts veterans of this war who sustained head injuries (and their family members or caregivers) are invited to participate as advisors on the committee spearheading the initiative or in focus groups. There is no one better suited to guide this process than someone who has actually experienced a head injury and who is dealing with the residual effects. Input from survivors and caregivers will help us create a system that is truly helpful for dealing with real life needs and issues.

If you are an Iraq/Afghanistan veteran who has sustained a blast injury, or are a family member of someone who is, and would like to join the committee please contact Felisha Bennett, 617-204-3852 or shipu@mrc.state.ma.us.

Contact

Felisha Bennett
Massachusetts Veterans with TBI Initiative
Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
600 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
617-204-3852
Fax: 617-204-3889
shipu@mrc.state.ma.us
http://www.mass.gov/mrc/ship/