Being home to the Pentagon, headquarters of the Department of Defense, Virginia has been the center of much brain injury research and treatment. Having a background in pediatric neurology and a past residency at the Brooke Army Medical Center, a military hospital located in Texas, Governor of Virginia Dr. Ralph Northam has seen the short-term and long-term effects of brain injury. Given this, Gov. Northam authored a proclamation for Brain Injury Awareness Month in March, stating, “WHEREAS, early, equal, and adequate access to care greatly increases the overall quality of life of Virginians with TBI, enabling them to return to home, school, work, and community.”
From 2014 to the present, “Virginia has received $3,573,485 in Federal TBI Planning, Implementation, and Implementation Partnership Grants. The State has provided $1,785,260 in matching support.” However, this federal grant is set to expire after 2018. Last week, Northam awarded a three-year $900,000 grant to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), earmarked for Brain Injury Services Coordination (BISC) Unit. (Notes DARS Commissioner Kathryn A. Hayfield, this new grant is just another example of Virginia’s support for brain injury services, which has been ongoing since the 1980s.) As it is, the goal of BISCU is to, “enhance the quality of life and vocational goals of persons with… brain injury.” The goal of this grant is to go further than this, as the agency continues to enhance the “health, wellness and independence of people with TBI,” by enhancing “access to supports and services,” states Dr. Daniel Carey, Secretary of Health and Human Resources.