March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month. At least 2.8 million people in the U.S. sustain traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) per year. In fact, every 9 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a brain injury. The lasting effects of a brain injury vary in severity and can impact a person’s mood, personality, career, and ability to function independently. In honor of #BrainInjuryAwarenessMonth, Najah Britton, Support Services Case Manager at The Brain Injury Association of Maryland, has provided the Independence Now Community this an overview of the resources and supports available to Marylanders who have sustained brain injuries and their loved ones.
The Brain Injury Association of Maryland (BIAMD) is a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1983 by parents of children who had sustained brain injuries with the intent of providing information and assistance to anyone in Maryland living with a brain injury, their families, and the healthcare professionals serving them. For the last 40 years, the Brain Injury Association of Maryland has been the only statewide source of information on brain injury resources. It has provided help, hope, and healing to Marylanders who have sustained a brain injury and their families, through resource coordination, prevention and awareness programs, education programs, self-determination, and advocacy.
BIAMD’s Resource Center can be reached at their statewide toll-free helpline (800.221.6443) which is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. BIAMD has developed significant expertise in providing information and assistance. BIAMD’s resource specialists are able to provide – free of charge – information, educational materials, resource coordination, support, and hope to individuals with brain injury and their families. BIAMD maintains and is constantly enhancing its lists of brain injury support groups, brain injury professionals, rehabilitation programs, and vocational, financial, and legal resources.
BIAMD responded to over 300 calls per month and its website has received an average of 3,000 inquiries per month since 2021 from individuals with brain injury, family members, and professionals seeking information and assistance regarding, best practices, quality of care, access to resources, and transitional case management services. The majority of inquiries come from families and professionals seeking advice on how to best work with individuals with brain injuries. Brain injury can manifest cognitive, behavioral, or mental health symptoms or in combination. It can bring forth underlying mental health concerns or exacerbate mental health issues already in place. BIAMD offers support from knowledgeable staff who endeavor to provide informed, personalized answers, and to reassure these individuals that they are not alone. They receive information about local resources, rehabilitation programs to further their chance of recovery, and professionals or programs who specialize in working with brain injury.
Each year, BIAMD not only attends but hosts a variety of events to promote brain injury prevention and awareness. We participate in many health fairs, educational forums, and community and school outreach events. In addition, BIAMD publishes a weekly electronic newsletter, #5ThoughtsFriday, and a podcast called The Brain Connector. BIAMD is active on Facebook (Brain Injury Association of Maryland-BIAMD) and Instagram (@the_biamd).
BIAMD’s preeminent event is our annual two-day Educational Conference traditionally held in March, Brain Injury Awareness Month. However, in 2022 the Brain Injury Association will be holding its conference on May 12 to 13, 2022. It is one of the largest and best-attended conferences devoted exclusively to brain injury in the Mid-Atlantic region. BIAMD also conducts seminars and training for healthcare and disability professionals, school systems, individuals with brain injury, family members, caregivers, and the public. In addition, we assist with research dissemination and clinical trial subject recruitment.
Our efforts include advocacy on local, state, and national levels. BIAMD holds four seats on the Maryland Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Board which annually provides recommendations to the Governor and Maryland State Legislature on ways of improving care and support to Marylanders with brain injuries and their families. BIAMD also actively participates with many state and disability workgroups and taskforces to ensure individuals with brain injuries and their families are represented wherever important decisions and recommendations are being made. We also run a weekly online social group, Check-In Chat, for individuals with brain injuries and caregivers and encourage in addition to supporting numerous Brain Injury Support and Caregiver Groups around the state.
Brain Injury Association of Maryland
2200 Kernan Drive
Baltimore, MD 21207-6665