UF project to improve Floridians’ access to brain injury resources

By Todd Taylor

With support from a Traumatic Brain Injury State Partnership grant, a University of Florida team in collaboration with Brain Injury Florida is working to improve access to services and resources for Floridians living with the effects of a traumatic brain injury or other acquired brain injury, such as aneurysms, strokes and brain injuries following heart attack.

The three-year, $599,000 grant from the Administration for Community Living, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is enabling the UF Brain Injury, Rehabilitation and Neuroresilience Center (BRAIN Center) and Brain Injury Florida teams to work in partnership with the Florida Department of Health to develop a statewide public health plan to address the needs of Floridians with acquired brain injury. The teams are also collaborating with other Florida public health and advocacy organizations to update the state of Florida’s brain injury plan, which will improve coordination of and broaden access to acquired brain injury resources.

Michael Jaffee headshot
Dr. Michael Jaffee

“Being selected to partner with the Florida Department of Health on this federal grant is a great honor,” said principal investigator and BRAIN Center Director Michael Jaffee, M.D. “Access to services and resources is key to recovery following brain injury, and we look forward to putting forward a plan that will improve outcomes for all Floridians recovering from these complex injuries.”

According to Brain Injury Florida, more than 900,000 Floridians are estimated to be living with some form of acquired brain injury. Currently, certain factors — such as likelihood to return to work, the location where the injury took place and administrative barriers — limit the number of Floridians with full access to brain injury recovery resources, something the new plan will address.

“Research shows that those with access to recovery services and resources, such as education, screening, diagnosis and neurorehabilitation, are two to three times more likely to return to work than those who didn’t,” said Jaffee, chair of UF College of Medicine’s department of neurology. “In addition to developing a statewide plan to improve access to current resources, this grant will also connect us to national initiatives to add additional resources.”

Work is underway to develop a Sunshine Resource Facilitation Network to implement the state plan, which will include a centralized call center staffed by trained brain injury coordinators who will provide Floridians who have had a brain injury and their families with resources.

“We are excited to partner with UF for this innovative collaboration between academia, government and advocacy groups,” said Denny Armington, co-founder and president of Brain Injury Florida. “It’s a unique opportunity to develop impactful public policy that will directly improve the lives of many Floridians.”