To me, fall is really the start of the new year. It’s a great time to reflect on the recent past and a wonderful time to look to the future. In the summer, I celebrated a big birthday, one that ends in a zero. So I am especially attuned to milestones and transitions.
Vinfen turned 40 this year. What makes me so proud of Vinfen is that we marked the occasion by sharing knowledge and looking forward. On September 8, Vinfen hosted the Innovative Technology in Community Health Care Conference on new technologies and their impact on integrated behavioral and physical health. Vinfen made sure the audience heard from state, national, industry, and academic experts. Keynote speakers and panelists presented up-to-the-minute information about how technology has and will help keep our loved ones and us healthier in the future.
Recently, I was watching Eileen, my sister who has a disability, on her laptop. She is a whiz with email and keeps in touch with family and friends this way. However, it surprised me to notice she is more capable with technology than I knew. We had plans to do errands later that weekend. Eileen was researching online some items she planned to buy. I was astonished. How did I miss the fact that she learned to out-Google me? Since then, my sister-in-law showed Eileen how to examine current events online. It makes me very hopeful that Eileen and her peers may have more channels for better health, support, service, and communication through technology.
I am looking forward to another milestone in October. Vinfen’s Family Advisory Council will host its 10th Annual Celebration of Family Partnerships on October 12, 2017. This very special event honors incredible family members and exceptional staff of people served by Vinfen. Susan Wornick, WCVB-TV’s Emmy-winning former anchorwoman, returns as Master of Ceremonies again. The night will feature Keynote Speaker Stacia Bissell, who experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) after a bicycle accident. She will share her experiences and accomplishments before, during, and especially after that event. Stacia is a co-facilitator of the BIA-MA Northampton brain injury support group and a co-founding member of the Berkshire Brain Injury Collaborative, which provides professional development to teachers on “return-to-learn” strategies after a student suffers a concussion.
I especially look forward to publicly showing appreciation to extraordinary family members and amazing staff people of individuals served by Vinfen. It is an honor and a privilege to recognize those who work so hard to support the people we love. This event is an opportunity to raise awareness, reduce prejudice and discrimination, build partnerships to improve care, and encourage family and community involvement. I hope you will join us there.