Bob Visits DC for Brain Injury Awareness

PE050514-019_1I traveled to Washington, D.C., to continue our advocacy work with friends on the Hill. I attended the Brain Injury Association of America Hill Day on March 18. These “hill days” are interesting because that’s where as many parties as possible related to an issue come to Capitol Hill to share their initiatives and organizational direction.

At the BIAA Conference and Expo, we saw many of our friends in the traumatic injury world, such as the NYU Langone Medical Center where we hope to partner on a traumatic brain injury (TBI) symposium. We also made new contacts that we may be able to pursue for joint ventures.

 

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On March 19, I had a full day of visiting with members of Congress from North Carolina and others involved with brain injury advocacy. We hope to visit D.C. a couple times a year to raise national awareness for our initiatives and establish the Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma as a resource.

 

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In our meetings with congressmen, we had the opportunity to meet with Bill Pascrell from New Jersey. He leads the Traumatic Brain Injury Task Force on the Hill, so spending time with him at the BIAA conference reception allowed us to introduce him to our work. I also shared my son Matt’s story with him, which I think was really important and impactful. Rep. Pascrell is involved with traumatic brain injury because his neighbor’s son was in a car accident and still suffers today.

 

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I also got to meet with Senator Richard Burr and the team who heads his healthcare initiatives. I met with the healthcare leaders from the offices of Senator Thom Tillis and Representatives G.K. Butterfield, Renee Ellmers and Virginia Foxx. They all offered verbal support and suggested there needs to be more funding for pediatric trauma from the NIH. As we seek grants or work with the NIH, it’s very important to include our congressional contacts so they can endorse our work, particularly in regard to our work with the Pediatric Trauma and Critical Illness Branch at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, led by Acting Chief Dr. Valerie Maholmes.

While we primarily met with members of Congress from North Carolina, they expressed their interest in sharing our activities with their counterparts in Virginia and South Carolina, and the peers they work with in the healthcare space so that we get a bigger audience and a bigger voice in Washington. My hope is that they will ask us to participate with their work in whatever we can. A great next step would be testifying to Congress on behalf of the pediatric trauma industry. We want to be advocates for improving the lives of injured kids across the U.S.

 

Rep. Hudson visit 3-30-15

A great follow up to our trip to D.C. was a visit by Rep. Richard Hudson at our office in downtown Winston-Salem on March 30. We are housed in the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, which is the leading location for research and development and growth opportunities in our area. Our vicinity to so many leaders in science, technology and healthcare allows us to collaborate on a much larger scale. We were able to show him what our research partners our doing and how we are helping Save Injured Kids.

Stay inspired!

Bob Gfeller, Executive Director, Childress Institute for Pediatric Trauma

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