In May 2003, at the International Brain Injury Association’s (IBIA) World Congress in Stockholm, Sweden, many attendees commented on the lack of a North American organization specifically dedicated to professionals working in the field of brain injury. After returning from Sweden, and with the expressed comments and wishes in mind, we established the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS) in affiliation with IBIA.
NABIS got off to a great start when Congressman Jim Pascrel of New Jersey addressed our initial strategic planning meeting in May, 2004, in Washington, DC. At that meeting, it was decided that NABIS should serve as a platform for professional exchange and communication.
To that end, several months later we launched our official publication, Brain Injury Professional, which today enjoys the largest circulation of any publication on the subject of brain injury, with special issues covering topics such as Neuro-Optometry, Controversies in Neuropsychology, Biomechanics and Long-Term Care.
After its inception, NABIS sponsored two conferences in conjunction with IBIA and BIAA. The first conference took place in Amelia Island, Florida, in September 2003. The following conference was held in Beaver Creek, Colorado in the fall of 2004.
In October 2004, NABIS sponsored the 6th Annual Medical/Legal Conference in Napa, California. In September of 2005, again in Amelia Island, NABIS organized and sponsored the conference entitled Brain Injury: New Science, Best Practices and Future Innovations.
This conference brought together some of the most established names in brain injury and the response from the professional community was overwhelmingly positive. Plans are currently underway for our 2006 Brain Injury Conference of the Americas which will be held in September in Miami. Additional details on this event can be found on our website, www.nabis.org.
In 2005, NABIS also welcomed its first two state chapters, the Texas Brain Injury Society and the North Dakota Brain Injury Society. In the areas of awareness and prevention of brain injury, NABIS reached out to form partnerships with other organizations like We Move.org, Lids On Kids, and recently contributed to Center for Disease Control’s new manual on sports injuries entitled Heads Up. In addition, the Center for Disease Control sought input from NABIS to modify the definition of brain injury to include soldiers who have experienced shock blast brain injuries. We will continue to seek out alliances with North American and international associations as opportunities arise.
Robert D. Voogt, PhD
Chairman, North American Brain Injury Society