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BIAPA Honors Nine at 2018 Conference

At its 2018 Conference in June, the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania honored nine people for their inspiration, commitment leadership and service to the Association and the brain injury community.

The Leadership Award, which recognizes an individual, agency, or group of individuals for far-reaching impact on the field of brain injury rehabilitation, was presented to Megan Moyer, CRNP MSN. She is the founder of a support group at Penn Medicine’s Traumatic Brain injury Clinical Research Center. In just one year the group has tripled in size. Because of her compassion and leadership, she has been able to lift up, give hope and provide tools to improve a brain injury survivor’s recovery.

The Direct Service Award, which honors staff members who provide exemplary service to individuals with brain injury, was presented to Marianne Fosbenner, Counselor 3/Residential Program Coordinator for Success Rehabilitation.   Stefanie Bauman, Director of Admission at Success, presented the award and said, “Marianne has shown a commitment to her ongoing education, and in addition to her professional excellence, she is a generous, creative and considerate person who puts all others’ needs ahead of her own.”

The Barb Dively Advocacy Award, named for the late Executive Director of the Acquired Brain Injury Network, recognizes an individual who is a true advocate and champion for the rights of those who have experienced a brain injury and their families. The 2018 recipient is Michael Miller, BIAPA’s second Vice President and Chair of BIAPA’s Advocacy Committee. Mike is also a member of Pennsylvania’s Brain Injury Coalition, which has established caucuses in both the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and the Pennsylvania Senate, and works to keep them informed of legislative and policy issues that affect individuals with brain injury and their families.

The Pioneer in Brain Injury Award is presented to an individual whose initiative, expertise, and creativity have led to the development of services and supports in the field of brain injury rehabilitation. The 2018 recipient is Mary Pat Murphy, MSN, CRRN, CBIST, Vice President of Clinical Services for ReMed, who has led research to address the clinical needs of patients including in the areas of community integration and medical issues. She has also led an effort, which is now at a national level, to define a consistent outcomes measurement process for post-acute rehabilitation.

The Service to the Association Award, which honors a person who has, through volunteerism, fundraising, and other efforts, supported the mission and vision of the BIAPA, was presented to MJ Schmidt. A BIAPA volunteer, Chair of the Council on Brain Injury and a ReMed Consultant, MJ has volunteered for BIAPA since its founding and her steadfast commitment to the field at large has been tireless.

The John Sears Inspiration Award, named for artist, teacher and brain injury survivor John Sears, is presented to an individual who has striven to overcome significant challenges and who has utilized their talents and strengths to achieve significant personal achievement. Kira Kolbe, the 2018 honoree, continues to make progress in recovering from the brain injury that she received in 2012. Presenting the Award to Kira, Sally Kneipp said, “The words “no” or “can’t” are not in her vocabulary. She will always find a way to do the impossible. She as accomplished many personal goals and continues to look to the future.”

The Dennis Minori Family Tribute Award recognizes the constant and overwhelming support provided by a family to their loved one that also benefits others in the brain injury community. The award is named for the former BIAPA President Dennis Minori, who dedicated himself to improving the lives of those with brain injuries. The 2018 Award was presented to Michelle Karam and the entire Karam family. Dr. SuAnn Chen presented the Award and said, “Michelle’s perseverance and determination, her resounding intelligence and wit, backed by this family that came together so beautifully in the hardest of times and their continued unity in her recovery – it has been an inspiration to us all.”

The Organization Award, which recognizes an organization whose efforts to improve the lives of persons with brain injury have been clearly evident and have contributed to exemplary service delivery and support, was presented to the Penn Center for Brain Injury and Repair. One of only five Brain Injury Centers designated by the National Institutes of Health, the Center plays an important role in the annual Mind Your Brain Conference, which touches the lives of thousands of brain injury survivors and their caregivers.

The Service to the Brain Injury Community, which recognizes an individual who has made a long-term, fundamental and positive impact on the lives of people who have sustained a brain injury and their families, was presented to Bridget Lowery, MS, CBIST. A member of the Pennsylvania TBI Advisory Board and co-Chair of the Brain Injury Committee for the Rehabilitation and Community Providers Association, Bridget is Clinical Director for Main Line Rehabilitation Associates. For over 30 years she has worked actively with Main Line staff, the brain injury community and the state of Pennsylvania to bring positive change and improve access to services.