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Meeting Minutes

Virginia Brain Injury Council

Virginia Brain Injury Council Meeting Minutes-FINAL: January 23, 2009
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Virginia Brain Injury Council Meeting
Meeting Minutes
January 23, 2009

Members Present:
Scott Bender, PhD University of Virginia
Carole Norton, Ph.D. (Chair) Professional, Mary Buckley Foundation
Kelli Williams Gary, Ph.D. (Vice Chair) Survivor
Jason Young (Secretary) Professional, Community Futures Foundation
Lisa Garver Professional, Brain Injury Services, Inc.
Theresa Ashberry Family Member
Michelle Nichols, R.N. McGuire VA - Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center
Juanita Thornton Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers
Micah Sherman Survivor
Mark Salisbury Family member
Gerald Showalter, Psy.D. Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center
Jenny Toth Brain Injury Association of America
GiGi Szelesta Family Member
Alan Towne, MD, MPH Virginia Commonwealth University
Linda Redmond, Ph.D. Virginia Board for People with Disabilities
Patricia Goodall Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services
Anne McDonnell Brain Injury Association of Virginia

Members Absent:
Julie Triplett Virginia Office of Protection and Advocacy
Russell Payne Virginia Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation & Substance Abuse Services
Paul Sharpe, R.N., NREMT-P Virginia Department of Health
Nancy Bullock, R.N. Virginia Department of Health
Terry Miles Survivor
Tori Harding, MBA, MS CCC/SLP Lakeview Healthcare Systems

Other in Attendance:
Marylin Copeland Brain Injury Association of Virginia
Michelle Witt Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery
Elizabeth Bowman Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery
Leigh Wion Virginia NeuroCare
Karen Brown Brain Injury Services, Inc.
Pam Sherman Family member
Lorraine Justice Brain Injury Association of Virginia
John Szelesta Family Member


The quarterly meeting of the Virginia Brain Injury Council meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m. by Anne McDonnell, Chair. Council members and guests introduced themselves

Approval of Minutes:
Kelli Williams Gary, Ph.D., requested an amendment to the October 2008 meeting minutes noting that when referring to the composition of the Virginia Brain Injury Council members under “Members Present”, she should be noted as a “Survivor”. Micah Sherman made a motion to accept the minutes as amended; GiGi Szelesta seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Addition to the Agenda:
The agenda as distributed was approved unanimously by the Council with one minor addition:

• Carole Norton, Ph.D. requested to add “Educational Topics for the April meeting” to the agenda.

Public Comment:
No public comment was given during the Public Comment period.

Chair Comment:
Anne McDonnell thanked the VBIC for the honor of serving as Chair and officially transferred to the Chair duties to incoming Chair, Carol Norton, Ph.D.

Remarks from the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) Commissioner:
Commissioner Rothrock provided the following announcements and updates:

1. The Commissioner complimented the hard work and success of Brain Injury Awareness Day at the General Assembly by the Virginia brain injury community.
2. The Commissioner stated that he had sent a letter, per Councils’ request, to DMHMRSAS Commissioner, James Reinhard, MD, to discuss the issue of how the Community Services Boards (CSBs) personnel are responding to crisis calls involving people with brain injury. Two providers had shared stories of how the CSBs in their area were either very reluctant, or refused, to get “involved” with crisis situations “because the person has a brain injury.” Dr. Reinhard has responded to this letter stating that he will look into the situation and he was agreeable to assembling a work group to study the situation further. Commissioner Rothrock has asked Mary-Margaret Cash and Patti Goodall to represent DRS on the work group, as well as Anne McDonnell to represent VBIC. Commissioner Rothrock has also asked the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) to issue a targeted grant around this issue.
3. The Virginia Wounded Warrior Initiative under the Department of Veterans Services has issued Request For Proposals (RFPs) to develop a system of services to Virginia’s veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and/or brain injury.
4. WWRC has revamped some its brain injury services and released You Tube videos to announce these new services. The Commissioner encouraged Council members to look at these videos, further distribute them, and direct questions to Gerald Showalter, director of Brain Injury Services at WWRC
5. Anne McDonnell expressed that the CSB’s did not understand what exactly the “DRS network of brain injury services providers” meant in the Wounded Warrior RFP and that DRS has not provided much guidance towards the CSB in understanding this system. Commissioner Rothrock responded that it is the first year of this program and it takes time to collaborate and educate and said that brain injury providers need to be reaching out to the CSB’s to explain this system to them.
6. Commissioner Rothrock presented a certificate for service to Micah Sherman for his participation and service to the Council.

New Business:

By-laws Issues: Carole announced that the Nominations and Elections Committee discovered some issues with the bylaws during the last election process and therefore a Bylaws Committed will be reconvened. The following individuals were appointed to the by-laws committee:

1. Jason Young (as Council Secretary, he serves as Chair of the Bylaws Committee)
2. Mark Salisbury
3. Kelli Gary
4. Jenny Toth
5. Patti Goodall, agency advisor to the Committee
6. Carole Norton, Ex officio

April Meeting Guest Speaker: The annual Council agenda includes an “educational speaker” or topic at the April meeting. GiGi Szelesta suggested that Cathy Wilson, Executive Director of the Virginia Wounded Warrior, be invited to this meeting. Anne McDonnell suggested that the issue of persons with brain injury in crisis and lack of neurobehavioral services has also been a major focus of the Council and that possibly we have a speaker around that issue. Carole asked Council members to put forward any other suggestions they might have and that Anne would look into identifying a speaker for the April meeting based on the suggested topics.

VABISP Legislative Agenda: Anne McDonnell stated Brain Injury Awareness Day at the General Assembly, cosponsored by the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) and the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Services Providers (VABISP), was held on Wednesday January 21st. VABISP’s only legislative agenda is to advocate for no reductions in brain injury services for State Fiscal Year 2010, and to support a budget amendment for Phoenix Star Clubhouse in the amount of $165,000. The amendment is being sponsored by Delegate Ware and Senator Edwards. VABISP is also supporting a bill being partroned by Senator Stuart, pertaining to Worker’s Compensation law and brain injury. Anne also showed an “official copy” of the resolution passed last year by the General Assembly “declaring March as Brain Injury Awareness Month in Virginia.”

Anne also said there will be a national brain injury advocacy day on Capitol Hill in March, more details will be forthcoming.


Nominations and Elections Committee: The Nominations and Elections Committee met via conference call on January 9th and developed the following slate of three (3) At-Large Members (replacing Micah Sherman, Paul Aravich, and Helen Butler). Paper ballots were distributed to Council members, who voted and submitted their ballots to Patti Goodall for tallying.

Survivor/Family Member/Caregiver Position:
1. Scott Richard LaPoint (Virginia Beach) 1st Choice of the Committee
2. Jeff Carpenter (Fairfax)
3. P. Brent Brown (Salem, moving to Roanoke)

Licensed, registered, or certified healthcare professional
1. Brian Shenal, Ph.D (Salem) 1st Choice of the Committee
2. Jeffery T. Barth, Ph.D (Charlottesville)

Licensed, registered, or certified healthcare professional who works in an organization or program that is funded by state general funds. (The Committee did not provide a 1st Choice in this category, but chose to leave it to Council members to vote upon.)
1. Cynthia O’Donoghue, Ph.D (Harrisonburg)
2. Leigh Wion, CRT (Charlottesville)

Carole Norton reminded Council members to consider geography so that there is statewide representation. She also cautioned members to consider candidates’ other commitments as important factors when they vote.

The results of the voting were: Scott Richard LaPoint and Jeffrey Barth, Ph.D. were elected by a simple majority of the Council members present and eligible to vote. There was tie for the final slot between Cynthia O’Donoghue, Ph.D and Leigh Wion. The slate will be forwarded to Commissioner Rothrock for approval and the Commissioner will be asked to break the tie on the 3rd slot.

Federal TBI Act Grant: Patti Goodall reported that a new four-year application was submitted in December. She indicated that the status of the grant application is unknown, but that states are expected to hear something in March. Since the number of total grants to be funded was reduced, and the duration and funding of the grants was increased, the process is highly competitive t his year.

Brain Injury Action Plan 2009-2013 “Executive Summary”: Patti Goodall reported that the Brain Injury Action Plan is currently being edited and a draft will be submitted to Council members for feedback by the April meeting.

Comment by GiGi Szelesta: An e-mail sent out by the Council contained a link to a resource book for services for veterans which costs $30. GiGi noted that this means that veterans and their families are required to pay $30 for this resource guide. She urged all Council members to contact the publishers of the resource book and state that veterans should not have to pay for a resource guide for services. It was also noted that there are other governmental sources of resource materials, which are provided free. Patti Goodall indicated that she has ordered the $30 Resource Guide and asked Dr. Towne if he would agree to look at it and report back to Council in April on his opinion of the guide.

State Agency “Report Out Day” Committee Report: Anne McDonnell reported that the committee has not met but is looking at having a Brain Injury Summit to issue an “annual report on brain injury in Virginia” and suggested that we target some non-traditional partners to come to this event, possibly in conjunction with the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers. Anne asked for the Council’s input on time, location, and whom we should invite.

Patti Goodall requested clarification on whether this was to be a VBIC “state report out day” or a larger, “brain injury summit,” as proposed in the federal grant. Patti expressed concern that a larger meeting could not be planned and executed by April meeting. Kelli Gary suggested that we just limit it to a State Agency Report out Day instead of a larger brain injury summit. Patti suggested that we do this as part of the April meeting – have the “state agency report out” meeting in the morning, and hold a regular VBIC business meeting in the afternoon. Anne McDonnell will take the lead on developing a schedule for the event that will take place this spring

Veterans Committee Update: Anne McDonnell updated the Council on the Wounded Warrior RFP currently issued in the State. There is a February 9th due date on this RFP that was distributed to the five (5) Regional Consortia of Community Services Boards. Additionally, the National Guard is meeting monthly to plan the implementation of their Yellow Ribbon Campaign.

Michelle Nichols reported on the Defense Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) at the McGuire Veterans Administration Hospital in Richmond. Michelle is the director of the DVBIC program at McGuire. They are seeing a large need for accommodations for veterans who are trying to return to a college or other secondary educational/training setting. The Defense Center of Excellence is starting a 24-hour hotline. McGuire is building a transitional housing facility on campus for wounded veterans (they are currently housed at an inpatient unit at McGuire until this building is completed).

Anne suggested that since there are so many activities occurring, the Veterans Committee may no longer need to be an active committee, but that updates on various activities could still be brought to Council from various sources.

Next Meeting.
The next Council meeting is scheduled for April 24, 2009 at 1:00 p.m. at DRS Central Office. However, it was suggested that Council hold its October meeting at Woodrow Wilson Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) in Fishersville and this was agreed to by all present.

Carole Norton adjourned the meeting at 3:55 p.m.