History of IBIA

The International Brain Injury Association was founded by George A. Zitnay, PhD and Martin B. Foil, Jr in 1993 following an international meeting on brain injury held in Oxford, United Kingdom at Oxford University in April of 1993. The formation of IBIA came as a recommendation by the group assembled in Oxford that a need existed for an international organization that worked with professionals, and families from a multidisciplinary approach.

IBIA was established to encourage international exchange of information, to support research, to provide training especially in developing countries and to advocate for brain injury. One of the approaches taken by IBIA was the creation of the “World Congress on Brain Injury”.

Another was the creation of member states and organizations. IBIA also encouraged the development of country wide associations created by families and professionals joining together to support brain injury research and service development.

The first World Congress was held in Copenhagen, Denmark and Chaired by Professor Anne-Lise Christensen, PhD, other world congresses on Brain injury followed in Seville, Spain, chaired by Professor Jose Leon Carrion, PhD; Quebec City, Canada; Turin, Italy, chaired by Professor Claudio Perino, MD; Stockholm, Sweden; Melbourne, Australia, chaired by Professor Jennie Ponsford, PhD; Lisbon, Portugal, organized by Jorge Lains, MD; and Washington, DC, organized by Ross Zafonte, DO. The 2012 World Congress was held in the historic city of Edinburgh, Scotland, and was hosted by Tom McMillan, PhD. The 2014 Congress was held in San Francisco, California and was organized by David Arciniegas, MD. 

To fulfill the mandate for training developed a series of professional seminars. The first IBIA seminar was a four day training program at Charles University in Praque, the Czech Republic, chaired by Professor Olga Swetlova, MD, a four day training program in Lithuania, a four day training program in Bangalore, India, chaired by Guru Raj, MD, and a four day international meeting in Brasilia, Brazil hosted by the SARAH Network and Chaired by Lucia Braga, PhD.

IBIA has worked with other organizations in the development of evidence based medical and scientific guidelines for the care, treatment, and management of traumatic brain injury, including support for the development of guidelines on mild TBI, penetrating head injury, acute TBI and the vegetative state.

IBIA took the lead with the World Health Organization in developing the WHO Neurotrauma Committee which approved these guidelines and encouraged adoption by member states. IBIA and WHO created prevention programs and published material on brain injury and prevention programs. IBIA also worked with WHO in the world effort to prevent violence a leading cause of brain injury.

Professors Henry Stonington, MD and Sheldon Berrol, MD along with other internationally known clinicians in TBI care and rehabilitation had founded the International Association for the Study of Traumatic Brain Injury (IASTBI) in the early 1980’s as a professional organization to network clinicians working in the field on an international basis.

At the encouragement of Professor Nathan Zasler MD and with agreement by Dr. Stonnington (following Dr. Berrol’s untimely death) and Dr. Zitnay, IBIA and IASTBI merged in 1998 to create a stronger professional association dedicated to brain injury with IASTBI becoming the “scientific” arm of IBIA. This merger resulted in the peer reviewed journal “BRAIN INJURY” becoming the official journal of IBIA. The journal was originally founded by Professor Stonnington in 1983 and has evolved into one of the leading international neuroscience publications. More recently, IBIA launched another publication, the "International Neuro-Trauma Letter" (INTL) which is e-mailed quarterly to over 50,000 brain injury professionals around the world. In May 2013, the International Paediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS) became an affiliate of IBIA. 

IBIA has evolved in many ways as an organization over its relatively short existence. There is still much history to be made.