Brain Injury Services Coordination Unit

The Brain Injury Services Coordination (BISC) Unit, located within DARS' Division for Community Living in the Richmond Central Office, serves as a point of contact for internal and external customers seeking general or agency-specific information about brain injury resources. BISC manages over $6 million in programs, contracts, and federal grants involving brain injury services throughout the Commonwealth. As part of its oversight responsibility of nine state-funded Brain Injury Services (BIS) Programs, DARS prepares an annual report on number of people served by each program; types of services provided; and success in attracting nonstate resources. DARS also maintains the BIS Programs SCORECARD which reports quarterly data on how the state-funded programs are helping consumers achieve their personal goals, as well as the number and nature of community awareness and education events conducted by each program. BISC Unit also manages the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund, the Brain Injury Discretionary Services (BIDS) Fund, and provides staffing for the Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC). DARS was awarded a four-year (2014-2018) federal TBI Act systems change grant, "Facilitating Access to Care and Enhancing Services." Federal grant activities are carried out through a contract with the Brain Injury Association of Virginia, which is managed by the Brain Injury Services Coordination Unit.

The BISC Unit works closely with other CBS Division programs, particularly the Community Rehabilitation Case Management Services Program and the Personal Assistance Services Program, to provide services and resolve customer concerns regarding agency services for persons with brain injury. The Brain Injury Services Coordination Unit also works collaboratively with DARS' Vocational Rehabilitation Program when serving consumers who have a vocational goal. The BISC Unit and staff from Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) are available to provide support, guidance, and technical assistance to DARS field staff and agency administration regarding the rehabilitation of persons with acquired brain injury. Sponsorship funding through BISCU is available each year for a limited number of DARS and WWRC staff to receive specialized training in brain injury through workshops, courses, webinars, and conferences. The BISC Unit partners with consumers, advocacy groups, state agencies, and other community entities to improve services and resources for Virginians with brain injury.

March is Brain Injury Awareness Month

An estimated 390,000 Virginians live with disabilities caused by traumatic brain injury and stroke and approximately 28,000 Virginians each year sustain brain injuries.
Read Gov. Northam's proclamation
to learn more about Brain Injury Awareness Month in the Commonwealth.

Learn more about what our unit all close all

By proclamation of Governor McAuliffe, the Commonwealth of Virginia has declared March 2016 as Brain Injury Awareness Month in Virginia. During March, brain injury related awareness and educational activities take place across the state. These events are generally open, targeting the general public, community leaders, healthcare professionals, and survivors / family members. Please see the information below for more details. If you have questions about a specific event, please contact the person listed in the chart below. If you have general questions, contact for more information. Support Brain Injury Awareness Month by attending or participating or sponsoring awareness /education events!

Find a list of activities here.

In January 2014, the Virginia Commonwealth University Survey Evaluation and Research Laboratory (SERL) completed a statewide assessment of the needs of people with brain injury and their family members / caregivers, as well as available resources. The survey involved a written questionnaire for survivors; one for family members / caregivers; and one for professionals. Approximately 600 people participated in the assessment process. Survey information collected by SERL is treated confidentially: neither DARS nor SERL will share any personal information such as name or address in the final report. You can view a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the most significant findings of the assessment process here.

An Executive Summary of the Needs and Resources Assessment is available for further information.

Thank you for your interest in the DARS statewide Brain Injury Needs & Resources Assessment!

The survey is supported by Grant Number 6 H21MC06763-05-02 awarded to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services' (DARS) and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) will sponsor its 5th Annual Caregiver Forum, "We Walk Together" for caregivers of individuals with brain injury on November 14, 2015 in Richmond, VA. There is no cost for participants who attend, but pre-registration is required since attendance is limited. The Caregiver Forum is an educational activity of DARS' Federal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Implementation Partnership Grant. It provides an opportunity for DARS and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV), the primary subcontractor on DARS' federal grant, to share educational and respite resources for caregivers of family members with acquired brain injury, as well as teach participants how to recognize and deal with caregiver-related stress. The event also provides a way for caregivers and family members to network and share strategies with others in similar situations.

If you are interested in attending, please check back here for more information ? we will be posting a registration form at least 45 days prior to the event. Or, if you'd like to speak with someone directly, please contact the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) at or contact Donna Cantrell, Federal Grant Program Specialist, DARS Brain Injury Services Coordination Unit, at

DARS and the Virginia Brain Injury Council hosted nearly 100 participants at the fourth biennial Brain Injury Report Out Day on Friday, July 24, 2015, at The Place at Innsbrook from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Brain Injury Report Out Day allows invited presenters and selected state agencies to report on how they are serving and meeting the needs of Virginians with acquired brain injury, including new or continuing initiatives. The event serves as a venue for exchanging information and making connections to strengthen the statewide network of services for Virginians with brain injuries. Learn more about this event by visiting the Virginia Brain Injury Council page.

The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) – formerly the Department of Rehabilitative Services (DRS) – and the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) sponsored a national policy summit on brain injury and juvenile justice in Richmond, Virginia on June 13-14, 2012. The Virginia Collaborative Policy Summit on Brain Injury and Juvenile Justice was one of the activities of Virginia’s 2009-2013 federal TBI grant, which provided funding for the Policy Summit. The purpose of the Policy Summit was to convene a small group of leaders from across the country involved in identifying and supporting youth with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the juvenile justice system. This venue allowed service providers, researchers, and policymakers to share information, resources, and effective screening and intervention strategies to improve services within each state and to move toward achieving a consistent national approach to screening and intervention.

Along with Virginia, four other states serving youth with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the juvenile justice system were invited to participate in the Policy Summit: Minnesota, Nebraska, Texas, and Utah (Minnesota’s project involved adults, not juveniles). The two-day Policy Summit provided an opportunity for representatives from these states to engage in in-depth discussions on project outcomes, policy implications and recommendations, as well as suggestions for project sustainability and future study. A total of 29 participants attended the Policy Summit from the five states, the Brain Injury Association of America, and HRSA.

The Proceedings Report can be downloaded here:

Virginia Collaborative Policy Summit Proceedings Report
Virginia Collaborative Policy Summit Proceedings Report

A final draft of Virginia’s State Action Plan for 2009-2013 was presented to the Virginia Brain Injury Council at its April 23, 2010 meeting. Council members voted unanimously to accept the final draft of the full Action Plan document. Copies are posted on both the DARS and BIAV websites, and the Action Plan will also be disseminated among consumers, family members, professionals, and other stakeholders.

The Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC) serves as the advisory body to a federal Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Act grant awarded to the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the lead agency in Virginia for the coordination of brain injury services. A 1998-2000 federal TBI Act "Planning Grant" required DARS to develop an "action plan" to guide the statewide development of brain injury services. DARS, in partnership with the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Health Systems, developed the 2000-2005 Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) State Action Plan. DARS received additional funding through a TBI Act "Implementation Grant" and in Spring 2005 formed a Steering Committee to oversee the process of updating Virginia's 2005 Action Plan, one of the goals of the Federal TBI grant. Representatives from the Virginia Brain Injury Council (VBIC), the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV), the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund Advisory Board, and the Virginia Alliance of Brain Injury Service Providers (VABISP) developed a work plan to carry out this important activity. The Virginia Brain Injury Council endorsed the Steering Committee's work plan.

During 2005, DARS hosted several Brain Injury Town Meetings across the state and invited survivors, family members, professionals, and other stakeholders to participate. The Town Meeting process allowed facilitators to receive feedback on the development of "core" or foundational brain injury services; to identify and prioritize local service needs; and to share information on developing and enhancing services within the local community. (See link to 2005 Town Meetings below for more information on Virginia’s three “core” services: Case Management; Clubhouse/Day Programs; and Regional Resource Coordination.) DARS partnered with the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) and with the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Rehabilitation Research & Training Center to conduct the Town Meetings and prepare a report of its findings. The Steering Committee reviewed the findings in 2006 and revised the work plan, which was again endorsed by the Virginia Brain Injury Council.

In 2007, DARS invited Susan Vaughn, Director of Public Policy for the National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA), to provide an overview of other states' advisory councils and statewide actions plans at the January 2007 meeting of the Virginia Brain Injury Council. DARS also hired Ann Deaton, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist, to research, develop, and prepare a written draft of Virginia's Brain Injury State Action Plan for 2007-2011. Dr. Deaton developed and distributed a survey to solicit input from stakeholders; she also conducted numerous in-depth telephone interviews. Based on Dr. Deaton’s draft document, in 2009 DARS and BIAV developed a State Action Plan Executive Summary, as well as a consumer-friendly State Action Plan Booklet with background information and an overview of the Plan’s three target areas.

The full Virginia Brain Injury Action Plan 2009-2013, the Executive Summary of the Action Plan, and the Action Plan Booklet are available below. Background information on Virginia's 2005 and 2007 State Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Action Plans are also available, including the 2005 Town Meetings: Final Report and a Survey to Gather Data for the Brain Injury State Action Plan in Virginia 2007-2011.

For additional information regarding the Virginia Brain Injury Council or Virginia’s State Action Plan 2009-2013, please e-mail or call (804) 662-7615 or (800) 552-5019.  You may also contact the Brain Injury Association of Virginia at (804) 355-5748 or visit their website at .

The challenge of caring for individuals with acquired brain injuries, particularly individuals with neurobehavioral challenges, has been a topic of concern for decades, not only in Virginia but across the nation. In 2014, as part of Virginia's federal Traumatic Brain Injury Grant, the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) contracted with James Madison University (JMU) through the Commonwealth Neurotrauma Initiative (CNI) Trust Fund to conduct a comprehensive study on "Access to Neurobehavioral Services in Virginia" for individuals with acquired brain injury. Learn more and read the executive summary and the paper by visiting the Virginia Brain Injury Council page.

Vocational Rehabilitation Program Services

  • assessment/evaluation
  • counseling/guidance
  • job development/placement & supported employment
  • vocational training

WWRC Brain Injury Services Program

  • cognitive rehabilitation services
  • community transition services
  • driver evaluation/training
  • independent living/community re-entry skills (dorms and cottage)
  • counseling and guidance (including neuropsychological assessment)
  • occupational/physical/recreational
  • speech and language therapy
  • rehabilitation engineering
  • specialized case management services
  • specialized vocational counseling

Administered by DARS

DARS recognizes that deficits in non-vocational life areas may adversely affect the ability of individuals to gain and/or maintain employment. Community Support Services (CSS) involve intensive one-to-one education and training to assist someone to live and participate as independently as possible in home, work, and community settings of choice.  Services may include education, life skills training, assessment and instruction related to the use of assistive technology, as well as the development and implementation of strategies and techniques to help a person to function successfully in community settings.  Areas targeted for Community Support Services may include household and financial management, personal care/hygiene, coping and social skills, using transportation, and other similar skills and tasks.  When working with a person with a brain injury, Community Support Services typically focus on the development and implementation of compensatory strategies versus the retraining of cognitive skills.

The Brain Injury Services Coordination Unit encourages organizations and individuals to apply for vendorship approval to provide Community Support Services to DARS customers served by the Vocational Rehabilitation Program, as well as those served by programs within the Division for Community Living Division.  Although Community Support Services may be paid for by a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor in certain situations, services are often provided to individuals with brain injury through the Brain Injury Direct Services (BIDS) Fund managed by the Brain Injury Services Coordination Unit. CSS vendorship information and application materials are available in the DARS Forms Cabinet under "Brain Injury Services Forms."  For more information, contact Patti Goodall at or 800-552-5019 (voice) or 800-464-9950 (TTY).

Virginia Department of Health
Center for Injury & Violence Prevention .

Traumatic Brain Injury National Database Center

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Traumatic Brain Injury:

Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA)

Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV)

Virginia Commonwealth University Traumatic Brain Injury Model System

Agency Expenditures
DARS Virginia Performs
WWRC Virginia Performs
eVA Transparency in Procurement
DARS Organization Chart
Virginia 2-1-1

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