The MENTOR Network

Advocacy Spotlight

REM Iowa Takes Action

REM Iowa joined the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa at the Iowa State Capitol for the Brain Injury Advocacy Day on the HillOn February 27, 2014—for the fifth year in a row—REM Iowa joined the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa at the Iowa State Capitol for the Brain Injury Advocacy Day on the Hill. This year, the group turned out in full force, with more staff and program participants advocating on behalf of brain injury services than ever before.

Forty-five staff members and individuals from REM Iowa attended the annual advocacy day and several were able to meet with their local representatives to talk about important issues such as funding for the BI waiver, waiting lists, and the Mental Health & Disability Services redesign. Individuals with brain injury traveled from the Davenport, Mt. Pleasant, Hiawatha, Vinton, and Des Moines offices to participate.

Participation in this day is a part of the organization’s overall effort to support and grow brain injury services and enhance the quality of those services. REM Iowa’s Annie Streng, Business Development Director, and Kathy Larson, Director of Brain Injury Services for Community Support Services North, recently started a Brain Injury Champion Work Group in Iowa. The 13 participants in this work group were selected for their passion for supporting people with a brain injury.

The mission of this group is to create a system of services that allows individuals with brain injury the opportunities for personal growth and connection in natural environments, as well as the opportunity to receive services and supports in the community regardless of the complexity of their condition, severity of their disability, or challenges of their behavior. The group coordinated their bimonthly meeting with BI Advocacy Day on the Hill, so they were all in attendance.

As a result of this increased focus on brain injury services and increased engagement of the staff and individuals served, REM Iowa’s brain injury program has grown from 12 individuals in FY11 to 72 individuals in FY14.