Vinfen was proud to attend the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts’ (BIAMA) Advocacy Day at the State House on February 1. Over 150 people with brain injuries, their friends and families, providers, legislators, and other supporters came together for the event, which sought to spread awareness about the need for brain injury services, and assist citizens in approaching their legislators about this important issue.
BIAMA Executive Director Nicole Godaire and Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Assistant Commissioner Joshua Mendelsohn both spoke at the event. Massachusetts State Senator Harriette Chandler, who is chair of the Brain Injury Commission, spoke about the history of the commission. She was followed by Massachusetts State Representative Kimberly Ferguson, who urged all those in attendance to lobby their legislators by sharing their personal stories.
Finally, Secretary of Health & Human Services Marylou Sudders took the podium to reiterate the power of personal experiences in affecting the hearts and minds of legislators. “What really makes a difference is your story,” she said. “I myself have three generations of family members with serious mental illness. I’ve seen the heartache of not being able to access services. I stand with you today. I welcome you to the people’s house. And please, don’t be a stranger.”
BIAMA’s top advocacy efforts this legislative season are to increase funding for the Statewide Head Injury Program under the MRC, ensure that cognitive rehabilitation is covered in all commercial health insurance plans, and reestablish the Brain Injury Commission.
To learn more about Vinfen’s brain injury services, visit us at http://www.vinfen.org/services/brain-injury-services/.