Vinfen attended the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts’ (BIA-MA) Advocacy Day at the State House on February 3. Each year, this event gives providers, advocates, self-advocates, and families the chance to meet with legislators and staff to help advocate for the needs of brain injury survivors.
Executive Director of BIA-MA Nicole Godaire hosted the event, and introduced MA State Senator Harriette Chandler, who spoke before a crowd of two hundred about her personal journey to becoming an advocate of brain injury services. Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Nicky Osborne also spoke, proposing the concept of clubhouses for people with brain injuries.
Drawing from her experiences as a speech pathologist, MA State Representative Kimberly Ferguson then took the podium to emphasize the importance of advocacy, and discuss the language difficulties faced by many people with brain injuries. Finally, a self-advocate who suffered from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) twenty years prior shared her story, making light of the ways health insurance, or the lack thereof, can fail individuals with TBI.
At the event’s close, attendees were encouraged to seek out their legislators to advocate for the BIA-MA’s top priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. These priorities include increasing funding for the Statewide Head Injury Program under the MRC and passing a bill to ensure that commercial health insurance plans include cognitive rehabilitation.
To help the 4,318 underserved persons with TBI in the state of Massachusetts, contact your legislators here.