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NDBIN Newsletter – Spring 2024

The Mind Matters Conference was held in Fargo on March 21 and 22. There were over 120 attendees from both in-person and virtual attendance. The brain injury community gathered for two days of speakers while they learned about brain injury research and resources. Brain injury survivors, caregivers, and professionals also used the conference breaks to collaborate with one another and learn about North Dakota-specific exhibitor resources.

Keynote speakers this year included Kristy Weissling, SLP-D, CCC-SLP, discussing “Communication Supports to Promote Optimal Outcomes” and Brier Jirka speaking on “Sexuality and Disability: What To Do When Life Changes!” Additionally, there were great presentations on the topics of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, brain injury and homelessness, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) among Native Americans, substance use disorder and acquired brain injury (ABI), executive functioning, right hemisphere damage, visual processing, and resiliency.

Carly Endres was recognized by NDBIN as the Certified Brain Injury Specialist of the Year.

Carissa Brownotter received the Volunteer of the Year award.

Save the Dates!

We are already looking forward to next year’s conference!

  • March 19, 2025 – Brain Injury Awareness Day at the Capitol, Bismarck
  • March 20-21, 2025 – Mind Matters Conference, Bismarck

New Hires

NDBIN has had two new hires in the last quarter – Shannan Stanke and Andrea Sailer. Both hires are additional resource facilitators for the state. Shannan will be serving the Southeast Region and Andrea the Southwest Region. Resource facilitation is a free service through NDBIN that assists individuals with brain injury, families and caregivers, and professionals find answers to questions about brain injury in North Dakota. Regardless of when the injury occurred, whether it was a day ago or five years prior, we work alongside you to develop a community support system.

Some examples of how we can help you include being a support person for survivors and families, locate other professionals who can assist in your recovery, help you set goals and offer strategies, connect you with support groups, and support you with return to work/school.

Meet Shannan!

Originally from Devils Lake, Shannan received her bachelor's degree in exercise science from Minnesota State University Moorhead. Before joining NDBIN she worked for Noridian and as a health coach for Profile Plan. Shannan is a published author of "Bumped His Head and Went to Bed," and has presented at Mind Matters and the National Association of State Head Injury Administrations annual conference. Shannan is also a certified master personal trainer.

“This job is a dream come true. I came to know my team of coworkers through our shared passion to provide hope and resources for families dealing with brain injuries. It is a privilege and a joy to now work alongside them daily.”

Meet Andrea!

Originally from LaMoure, Andrea earned her bachelor of arts degree in communication sciences and disorders, and a master of science in speech language pathology from the University of North Dakota. She is also a Certified Brain Injury Specialist, a certified vital stimulation provider, and is certified in Speak Out! Before joining NDBIN, she worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for Sanford Health in Fargo and the James River Special Education Cooperative.

“My passion in my professional life is brain injury. The North Dakota Brain Injury Network helps fill the gaps and lead the way for brain injury survivors, caregivers, and professionals in North Dakota.”

March was Brain Injury Awareness Month!

This year, NDBIN was able to take their team to Washington, D.C. for the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA) SEED summit. SEED is a lengthy but important acronym: Strengthen state systems, Enhance state infrastructure, Engage existing or new partners, Develop programs to optimize outcomes. SEED is different than larger conferences in that small groups from different states are able to collaborate and hear what other states are up to. We also attended Brain Injury Awareness Day at the Capitol where we met with all three North Dakota offices.

We started with Senator Kevin Cramer, then on to Senator John Hoeven, and finally we met with Representative Kelly Armstrong. During these meetings we were able to talk about NDBIN’s mission on a macro and micro level. We were hoping that these offices will see the importance on the federal level and reauthorize and fully fund the TBI Act, as well as joining the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

2024 Virtual Concussion Symposium

A call for presentations is now open for the 2024 Virtual Concussion Symposium on September 13. Presentations should feature topics of interest to the community that highlight new innovative research, trends, practice strategies, and collaborative models of care for individuals that have sustained a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury. Contact NDBIN’s Senior Project Coordinator Carly Endres at (701) 777-8004 if interested.

Webinar Wednesdays

These FREE webinars are designed to meet your needs whether you are a brain injury survivor, caregiver, or professional. Continuing education units (CEUs) are available for social work. Some upcoming webinars include:

  • May 1 – Primary and Secondary Stroke Prevention: What Do You Need to Know?
  • May 29 – Firearm Safety and Injury Prevention
  • August 7 – Why the Eyes Are a Window Into the Brain After a Brain Injury
  • October 2, 16, 30 – The Rancho Los Amigos Scale of Cognitive Recovery: A Guide to Understanding and Managing Recovery After Brain Injury (three-part series)

Support Group

Contact your region’s resource facilitator or dial (855) 866-1884 to find a virtual or nearby support group. Brain injury support groups can help you live with your injury and get the assistance, education, and resources that you need.

Stay in the Loop!

Follow us on Facebook for frequent updates on resources, news about brain injuries, and helpful tips.