What Is the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force?

 March 21, 2019

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

Before answering any questions about the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, it is far more pressing news that the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program Reauthorization Act of 2018 was passed this past December. This legislation extends federal TBI programs through 2024. It also authorizes resources to launch a National Concussion Surveillance System, which is expected to fill longstanding data gaps and provide a clearer picture of the TBI burden.

On December 21, 2018, after the House agreed to the Senate’s amendments, President Donald Trump signed the bill into law. Also known as H.R. 6615, this piece of legislation reauthorizes appropriations for programs and activities relating to the study, prevention and treatment of traumatic brain injury. This final passage of the act is being praised by U.S. Representative Bill Pascrell, the co-founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force.

What is the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force?

The Congressional Brain Injury Task Force was co-founded by Rep. Pascrell in 2001. First and foremost, the task force strives to increase awareness of brain injury in the United States. It also supports research initiatives for rehabilitation and potential cures. Lastly, it hopes to address the effects these injuries have on all Americans, including children, members of the Armed Forces, and athletes. Pascrell also personally advocates for funding programs at the Department of Defense that go towards TBI research and treatment, such as the Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury Research Program, the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence.

What does the TBI Program Reauthorization Act do?

It provides funding to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, allowing them to implement a study on the extent of brain injury for the first time. The bill is also going to modernize how the federal government oversees TBI research, treatment options, and prevention measures. Investments in critical TBI programs are expected to increase by nearly $40 million, totaling over $115 million. This should go a long way toward improving the way this country understands, responds to, and prevents brain injury.

How can I keep up with the task force and other TBI-related activity?

TBI On The Hill is a website created by Caitlin D., a graduate of Duke University, with a B.A. in Political Science. As the victim of a hit-and-run accident that left her with a near-fatal traumatic brain injury, Caitlin eventually began to observe how little was known about brain injury in both the public sphere and in politics. She writes this blog to show survivors and their loved ones that they are not forgotten. Each page on the site contains this quote: “A brain injury can affect anyone. TBI on the Hill strives to be nonpartisan.”

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