State Health Department Awarded $1 Million Federal Grant to Improve Life for New Yorkers with Traumatic Brain Injuries

Grant Targets Brain-Injured Children, Young Adults and Combat Veterans

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 10, 2009) - To improve the quality of life for New Yorkers with traumatic brain injuries (TBI), the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced today it has been awarded a four-year, $1 million grant by the United States Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration.

"Traumatic brain injury is one of the leading killers of children and young adults. Those disabled with TBI also include many military service members and veterans returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan," said State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D. "This grant will enable us to focus on improving the quality of life of all New Yorkers with TBI, with special emphasis on these high-needs populations."

As of summer 2007, 20 percent of U.S. combat troops leaving Iraq and Afghanistan reported experiencing a traumatic brain injury during deployment, according to the United States Department of Defense. Blasts are the leading cause of TBI for active duty military personnel, accounting for 2,279 (69 percent) of TBI cases in the current conflicts.

With this grant, DOH will build on its partnership with the New York State Division of Veterans' Affairs and the Brain Injury Association of New York State (BIANYS) to provide information and resources to service members and veterans with brain injuries and their families and to increase the ability of organizations to address their needs.

"Resources like this play an important role in helping to care for traumatically injured veterans and their families in New York State," said Col. James D. McDonough Jr., Director of the Division of Veterans' Affairs.

"We congratulate and applaud DOH for receiving this award," said Judith Avner, BIANYS Executive Director. "We look forward to the opportunity to continue our partnership with the DOH Office of Long-Term Care to provide help, hope and resource information for veterans and children with brain injuries and their families."

The grant will enable educational and resource materials to be developed and disseminated for families, schools and medical personnel involved in the care and support of children and adolescents with TBI. Information about "Project Learnet," an innovative, interactive web-based tutorial on working with children with brain injury will be shared widely with schools, teachers, counselors and families.

Since 2007, the partnership has collaborated on several projects, including a documentary sharing the experiences of three New York soldiers and their families who have confronted life after brain injury; developing posters and brochures and conducting a statewide public education campaign about brain injury; training military and civilian providers; providing support to individuals and families; and offering educational programs.

For more information on TBI services and support, call BIANYS toll-free at 1-800-228-8201 and State Division of Veterans Affairs toll-free at 1-888-VETS NYS (1-888-838-7697).