The Brain Injury Association of Missouri (BIA-MO), Missouri's nonprofit disability collaborative AgrAbility partner, hosted the 9th Annual Statewide Conference in Saint Charles, Missouri in October. This is the only conference in Missouri established to specifically address issues relating to brain injury. The conference also featured national and local experts sharing cutting edge technologies, innovative therapeutic and program strategies, and current trends in research. Sessions held on Thursday, October 17 and Friday, October 18 focused on topics of most interest to healthcare professionals, rehabilitation specialists, physicians, neuropsychologists, vocational counselors, social workers, case managers, and other professionals who work in the field of brain injury as well as those who care for survivors. Chris Allen, brain aneurysm/stroke survivor and row crop and cattle farm owner/operator, Sherry Nelson, partner/caregiver and regional coordinator for AgrAbility - MU Extension, and Karen Funkenbusch, Missouri AgrAbility project director, presented, Brain Injury in Agriculture: Missouri Farmers Maintaining THEIR Vocation and Opportunities for Employment. Also on Thursday, Jon Sabala, project manager for Missouri Department of Mental Health and MO AgrAbility partner presented,Understanding the Military Culture. On Saturday, a Survivor and Family Seminar were held free-of-charge for survivors of brain injury and their families. Karen Funkenbusch discussed AgrAbility Eligibility and Accessing Employment and Community Involvement Opportunities followed by meeting one-on-one with seven farm couples to begin the AgrAbility intake process. Information about the BIA-MO Conference can be found at here.
AgrAbility partners Maureen Cunningham, executive director of the Brain Injury Association of Missouri, and Jon Sabala, project manager of the Missouri Department of Mental Health, attended the Missouri Behavioral Health Alliance (MOBHA) meeting. Two guest speakers were on hand during the MOBHA meeting to share information about their programs. Anne Norwak talked about H.E.R.O.E.S. and Lindsey Davison shared information about the Missouri Recovery Network. The mission of MOBHA is to make effective, culturally sensitive behavioral health services accessible to service members, veterans, and their families by establishing strategies to raise awareness, increase availability, improve communication, and promote prevention. Current members include Army OneSource, Missouri Veterans Commission, University of Missouri Extension Missouri AgrAbility Project, Missouri National Guard, Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations, Brain Injury Association of Missouri, Missouri Coalition of Mental Health Centers, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Mental Health, Truman Medical Center Office of Psychological Services, and University of Missouri-Kansas City. Employment and other assistance such as behavioral health counseling can help these veterans.
In October of 2013 the Road Map to Military Resources, A guide to Missouri Resources for Military Service Members and Their Families was released. The military resource was developed in partnership with the following organizations: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri National Guard, Department of Veterans Affairs, Missouri AgrAbility, Missouri Veterans Commission, Missouri Association of Veterans Organizations, and Missouri Behavioral Health Alliance. This publication is supported in part by grant H21MC06740 from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. An electronic version of the Road Map to Military Resources in Missouri can be found here. If you would like hard copies please contact Karen Funkenbusch.
In January of 2014, the Missouri School of Law will launch a free Veterans Clinic to help veterans seeking disability benefits in appellate court. The clinic will be staffed by six law students and directed by law school Professor Angela Drake. The Veterans Clinic will be offered as a public service to those who have served this country. At the same, law students will receive skills training--valuable real-world law experience. This service will be offered at no charge to veterans.
Karen Funkenbusch continues to serve on the National Center Farmworker Health (NCFH) conference planning committee. The 23rd Annual Midwest Stream Farmworker Health Forum is an annual conference that provides quality, farmworker specific, professional development experiences for individuals in all disciplines within farmworker health. The forum offers a diverse program featuring sessions on clinical topics, outreach, community health worker integration, research, and leadership development. This year the forum is taking place at the Isla Grand Beach Resort in South Padre Island, Texas. Information about the conference is here.
Submitted by Karen Funkenbusch