Partner Profile: Ontario Brain Injury Association
The Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) has been supporting people living with the effects of an Acquired Brain Injury (ABI) for more than 30 years. The journey of OBIA began when several determined families whose loved ones lives had been devastated by acquired brain injuries (ABI) came together to form what was a then small grass roots organization. OBIA is now the largest brain injury association in Canada.
The OBIA mission focuses on education, awareness and support. More than 10,000 professionals have taken OBIA training programs, more than 90,000 calls have been received on the organization’s helpline. OBIA has taken the lead on the lead on provincial awareness campaigns such as D.O.N.T (Drive Only Never Text) and Concussions Hits Home (domestic violence and brain injury). OBIA also hosts the largest brain injury conference in Canada, providing education opportunities for people across Ontario, Canada and Internationally.
Since ONF’s inception, OBIA and ONF have worked together to enhance the lives of those living with brain injury. Through research and project grants, and collaborating with OBIA to include the voice of people living with ABI in ONF research and resource material, OBIA and ONF have developed a strong partnership.
One such project has been OBIA’s ongoing research collecting epidemiological data on brain injury across Ontario. This research has evolved over the last 25 years beginning with a short quality of life survey and evolving into the current format, a questionnaire used to collect a broad range of information on people living with brain injury. It is the only research of its kind in Canada.
ONF has been a supporter of OBIA in this research for many years and as the evolution of this data collection continues, so does the partnership between the two organizations. Presently, OBIA and ONF are looking at how to use this data and build on the current questionnaire to target more specific subjects and areas of interest in the brain injury realm. More targeted data can help to inform public policy work around the needs of individuals living with brain injury.
Brain injury is often misunderstood and can be misdiagnosed leaving individuals with limited access to services and supports that can help them to be successful in their everyday lives. With the help of ONF, OBIA hopes to continue to advocate and raise awareness about brain injury.
Continuous effort to increase awareness and drive systemic change
Through the calls that OBIA receives on its 1-800 helpline often the biggest obstacle that people living with brain injury face is access to services. OBIA’s challenge and goal is to increase awareness about brain injury to both the general public and government in order to drive systemic change. With increased awareness and systemic change, OBIA believes that this will provide greater access to services and supports for those living the ABI.