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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 05-1349


Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group Development and/or Expansion to Promote Education and Networking at the Grass Roots Level

[35 Pa.B. 4015]

   The Bureau of Family Health's (Bureau) Division of Child and Adult Health Services is accepting applications to promote education, greater public awareness and networking for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their family members. Funding for up to $680 is available to establish support groups in areas of need or expand existing support groups within the community that focus on TBI as it relates to the individual with TBI or family members. Activities should assist in facilitating a support group in underserved areas or expanding an existing support group. The goal is to promote education and networking at the grass roots level focused on TBI.

   For the purpose of this funding opportunity, TBI is defined as an insult to the brain, not of a degenerative or congenital nature, caused by an external physical force that may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness which results in impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning or in the disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. These impairments may be either temporary or permanent and cause partial or total functional disability or psychosocial maladjustment.


   The public remains largely unaware of brain injury, its consequences and means of accessing available resources and information. TBI occurs when there is an insult to the brain caused by an external physical force in motor vehicle crashes, falls, sports injuries, recreational accidents, assaults, gunshot wounds and domestic violence. These injuries may produce a diminished or altered state of consciousness and result in impairment of cognitive abilities or physical functioning and/or disturbance of behavioral or emotional functioning. A person does not need to lose consciousness to sustain a brain injury.

   The Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania reports that the three leading causes of TBI are motor vehicle crashes, violence (especially firearms) and falls (mainly among the elderly). An estimated 5.3 million Americans currently live with disabilities resulting from brain injury. In this Commonwealth, approximately 50,000 people sustain brain injuries each year. Of those, an estimated 2,000 people die due to TBI; 8,000 are hospitalized; 41,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms for concussion and mild brain injury; and 3,000 become severely disabled by brain injury. The risk of TBI is highest among adolescents, young adults and those older than 75 years of age. After sustaining a brain injury, individuals frequently experience dramatic changes in their lives, disruption in their families, extreme financial hardship and spiraling adverse consequences and challenges.

   The brain injury support group system is a primary front line tool in supporting individuals with TBI and families after sustaining a TBI. The current network of groups is comprised of groups started by people with a brain injury, along with groups started by providers who recognize a local need for a group. Some groups are relatively small and nearing extinction, while others are robust and healthy. There are many areas in this Commonwealth where no support groups are available within a reasonable driving distance. The goal of this funding opportunity is to provide support to individuals and families dealing with brain injury through a strengthening and expansion of new and existing support groups. Available resources are listed at the end of this document.

   Organizations interested in starting a TBI support group and existing TBI support groups are being targeted for this effort. Through this educational opportunity, support groups will be established or expanded to promote education and networking at the grass roots level focused on TBI.


   Eligible applicants are public and private organizations, hospitals and community-based programs and agencies in this Commonwealth as recognized by a Federal Tax ID number. Informal groups without Federal Tax ID numbers are encouraged to partner with a sponsor organization who may apply on behalf of the group. For-profit organizations may apply. However, an applicant may not take a profit from these funds. Only organizations, programs or agencies that have not received any funds from the Bureau during the current fiscal year may apply for these funds.

   Applicants may include:

Social service agencies.
School districts.
Community-based agencies.
Rehabilitation centers.
Advocacy groups.
Mental health agencies.
Drug and alcohol agencies.
Vocational rehabilitation offices.

Application Deadline

   To apply for funding, a complete application must be postmarked and mailed to the Department of Health (Department) by 4 p.m. on August 15, 2005. Applications may be mailed or hand delivered. Applications may not be faxed. Late applications will not be accepted regardless of the reason.

Application Process

   Complete an Attachment A FY 2005-2006 application and attach a clear and concise narrative of two to five typewritten pages single spaced that includes the following information, labeled by section:

   1.  Justification of the interest in and need for a new support group or the expansion of an existing support group, including a description of the availability of existing community resources.

   2.  Description of applicant's familiarity with TBI.

   3.  Description of the meeting frequency, time and location (specific meeting logistics should include information on facility accessibility, parking availability, access to transportation, and the like).

   4.  Description of the group facilitator (staff, a volunteer or family member) and the level of experience with TBI.

   5.  Plan to advertise the support group meeting (include how the meetings will be marketed or advertised using tools such as posters, brochures, flyers or media announcements, or both).

   6.  Communication plan to collaborate with other TBI support groups to identify resources, speakers, topic areas, issues, and the like.

   7.  Plan to continue the support group after the project period has ended.

   8.  Plan to track funds and expenses during the grant period.

   An authorized official of the organization who can bind the applicant to the provisions of the proposal must sign and date Attachment A. Submit an original and three complete copies of the application which includes Attachment A, a narrative addressing the eight points outlined previously and any supporting documentation. Applications should be page-numbered and unbound. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Award Determination

   Funding decisions are contingent upon the availability of Fiscal Year 2005-06 funds and Department approval by means of a proposal review panel. Approval will be based upon a common set of preestablished criteria, including:

   1.  The organization's justified need for creation or expansion of a support group.

   2.  The estimated number of individuals with TBI and family members who will ultimately benefit from the development or expansion of a support group.

   3.  The activity proposed will be of an ongoing, systemic benefit to the community.

   4.  The reasonableness of proposed expenditures/purchases.

Notification of Award

   The Bureau expects to notify applicants of award status by August 31, 2005. It is anticipated that five awards of up to $680 or less will be made. This is a reimbursement program. Grantees must spend their own funds first and then be reimbursed by the Department.

Eligible Costs

   The maximum cumulative award to any one applicant (as identified by Federal Tax ID number) is $680 per fiscal year. Funds must be encumbered by March 31, 2006. The budget section of the application must include a budget narrative detailing by line item how project funds will be used. Expenses eligible for reimbursement under this project include:

   1.  Purchase of educational/resource materials.

   2.  Speakers with expertise in TBI.

   3.  Refreshments for support group participants.

   4.  Travel reimbursement to and from support group meetings for individuals with TBI.

   Project funds must be encumbered by March 31, 2006.

Ineligible Costs

   The following costs are not eligible for reimbursement under this project:

   1.  Administrative/indirect costs.

   2.  Purchases/activities mandated by the Americans With Disabilities Act.

   3.  New building construction or structural renovation of an existing space.

   4.  Capital expenses or equipment.

Summary Report and Invoice Procedures

   Approved applicants will be reimbursed with one check for approved expenses. To receive reimbursement of approved expenses, awardees must submit the Final Report/Invoice found as Attachment B to the Bureau by May 1, 2006, and include the following information:

   1.  A summary report of activities.

   2.  Dates of support group meetings and the number of attendees.

   3.  Plan for continuing the TBI support group.

   4.  Invoice with expense documentation supporting line item amounts.

   Applications should be mailed to the Department of Health, Bureau of Family Health, Division of Child and Adult Health Services, 7th Floor, East Wing, Health and Welfare Building, P. O. Box 90, Harrisburg, PA 17108, Attention: Becky Kishbaugh, TBI Grant Administrator.

   For questions regarding this notice, additional information or persons with a disability who require an alternative format of this notice (for example, large print, audiotape or Braille), contact Becky Kishbaugh, TBI Grant Administrator, (717) 783-5436 or for speech and/or hearing impaired persons, V/TT (717) 783-6514 or the Pennsylvania AT&T Relay Services at (800) 654-5984.

Potential Resources

Helping Ourselves: A Guide for Brain Injury Support Groups

Brain Injury Association of America
8201 Greensboro Drive, Suite 611
McLean, VA 22102
Family Help line: (800) 444-6443

A Guide for Developing a Successful Brain Injury Support Group

Brain Injury Association of Florida, Inc.
201 East Sample Road
Pompano Beach, FL 33064
(954) 786-2400
Fax: (954) 786-2437
Family Help line: (800) 992-3442

John Pistorius

Pittsburgh Area Brain Injury Alliance
Persons can go to their website at and subscribe to their newsletter ''PABIA News Support Lines'' or contact John Pistorius at and ask for the ''Free Support Group Development Tools.''

Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania

(866) 635-7097,
Contact the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania for information about resources in this Commonwealth for people with brain injuries. To find out locations in this Commonwealth of brain injury support groups contact the Brain Injury Resource Line (BIRL). BIRL is run by trained volunteers of the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, a Statewide organization that has a wealth of information that is important to people with brain injuries and their family members.

Seven Simple Steps to Success

Seven Simple Steps to Success is considered in the public domain (can be copied and used by anyone). It is funded in part by Health Resources & Services Administration Grant No. 6H83MC00033-02-01. This grant was awarded to the:
Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, Inc.,
1414 N. Cameron St.,
Harrisburg, PA 17103,
(800) 692-7443,

Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania

This website helps parents or family members locate a support group that meets their needs, gives suggestions on how to start a support group and provides technical assistance to local support and mentor groups.

 Attachment A

Pennsylvania Department of Health--Bureau of Family Health
FY 2005-2006 Funding Application Request
Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group Creation or Expansion

Applicant Information:

   *  Name of Organization: __________

   *  FID Number: __________

   *  Complete Mailing Address: __________

   *  Contact Person: __________

   *  Telephone Number: ( ______ ) ______   Fax Number: ( ______ ) __________

   *  E-mail Address: __________

Itemized Budget:

Itemized Activity Expenses
#1:___________________________=$ ______
#2:___________________________=$ ______
#3:___________________________=$ ______
#4___________________________=$ ______
#5___________________________=$ ______
#6___________________________=$ ______
#7___________________________=$ ______
(Attach additional sheets, if necessary)
=$ ______
*May not exceed $680


   Provide a brief written description of what will be purchased with the money:


   Attach copies of the proof of cost for every expense proposed within your itemized budget.

Authorized Applicant Signature/Title: __________

Printed Name: __________

 Attachment B

Pennsylvania Department of Health--Bureau of Family Health
September 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006
Traumatic Brain Injury Support Group Creation or Expansion

Awardee Information
Name of Organization:  ___________________________
FID number:  ___________________________
Complete Mailing Address:  ___________________________
Contact Person:  ___________________________
Telephone Number:  ( _____ ) ______   Fax Number: ( _____ ) ______
E-mail Address:  ___________________________
Please attach the following:
   A written narrative that includes your organization's justified need for expansion of the TBI support group; the    estimated number of individuals with TBI and family members who benefited from the expansion of the TBI
   support group; and how the proposed activity will be of an on-going, systemic benefit to the community.
Itemized Expenses
TOTAL =$*May not exceed $680
Awardee authorized signature/title:  ___________________________
Awardee printed name and title:  ___________________________
DOH Use Only:
Approved for Payment: Date:


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 05-1349. Filed for public inspection July 15, 2005, 9:00 a.m.]

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