Alaska: TBIs on the Last Frontier

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This week I’ve had the pleasure of travelling throughout Alaska, conducting assessments of brain injury survivors. On Monday, I found myself near the scenic salmon runs of Seward–a popular cruise ship stop. Tuesday’s travels took me to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital (no time for the geothermal springs, unfortunately).

On Wednesday, I was back in Anchorage and had the opportunity to chat with the state’s TBI coordinator, Jan Eidlebach with the Alaska Department of Behavioral Health Services. Although she had only been at the job for about a week, she was already aware of the gross lack of services Alaskans with TBIs face. Alaskans are accustomed to making due without luxuries, for certain, but TBI care isn’t a luxury. It’s a necessity. She asked me for advice on how to go about promulgating change in the Alaska healthcare system, and I encouraged her to start collecting data.

It’s my hope that by showing legislators the individuals suffering under our own noses, we can create better and more efficient caretaking strategies. If you’re from a state that doesn’t offer much to TBI survivors, consider starting a survey of those in need. Information drives policy, and policy drives change.

To help you state head injury administrator, visit nashia.org

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