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ACBIS Announcements

April 2016

ACBIS Board Leadership

Heidi Reyst, PhD, CBIST, has recently taken the position of chair of the Academy. She has experience on both the care side, as a Rehabilitation Assistant and Residential Program Manager, and the administrative side, as a Program Director, Systems Director, and Director of Clinical Administration. Dr. Reyst is an advocate for ensuring that those who work with individuals with brain injury are trained in the specific issues salient to brain injury. 

Eric Spier, MD, CBIST, a former member of the ACBIS board of governors and a physiatrist at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, has been elected the Voluntary Medical Adviser for ACBIS. His specializations in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Medicine are evidence of his dedication to and expertise in the field.

New ACBIS Board of Governors Members

Jimmy Moody, PT, NCS, CBIS, graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2005 with a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy. Since graduation, he has focused on the treatment of adults with neurological disorders, such as stroke, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and acquired brain Injury in the acute, sub-acute and post-acute settings. He received his Neurological Specialist certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS) in 2011. Mr. Moody has served as a research fellow for the UTEP Engineering LIMA research group and as adjunct faculty for the UTEP Doctoral PT program. He has presented to various healthcare disciplines at the local and state level on assessment and treatment of the neurologically involved patient. Mr. Moody has been providing post-acute brain injury rehabilitation for the past 7 years and currently serves as the clinical coordinator at Mentis El Paso. He is enthusiastic to connect brain injury specific resources to the Greater El Paso area, which is challenged by border city issues, including limited medical, financial and educational resources. 

Corey Morrison, MBA, is the Director of External Relations at On With Life, a not-for-profit brain injury rehabilitation program in Ankeny, Iowa. In that role, Corey analyzes and enhances On With Life's presence in the healthcare marketplace with a wide variety of stakeholders. Key responsibilities include supporting and enhancing service lines; development of strategic partnerships and collaborative efforts; analysis of internal and external business strategies; and overseeing all marketing, public relations, branding and fundraising efforts for the organization. Corey received her undergraduate degree from Wartburg College and her Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Iowa.  She is an active member in her community serving as co-chair of the Des Moines Downtown Chamber Leadership Education and Advancement Pipeline Committee; member of the City of Ankeny Economic Development Council; and member of the Ankeny Leadership Institute Board of Directors.


Tiffany Epley has joined BIAA as ACBIS assistant and is primarily focused on processing certification renewals, streamlining the renewal process, managing renewal audits, and other special projects as assigned. We are delighted to have her with us!

Essential Brain Injury Guide 5.0

The ACBIS community welcomed The Essential Brain Injury Guide 5.0 in February. Over 60 authors contributed to this edition, which includes 25 chapters covering an overview of TBI and diagnostic imaging; medical, physical, cognitive, neurobehavioral, and psychosocial consequences of injury; TBI in pediatrics and adolescents, as well as aging with a brain injury; concussions and mTBI, as well as disorders of consciousness; rehabilitation philosophy, outcome measurement, and care management; effect of injuries on families; cultural, gender, and sexuality issues; military populations; neuropsychology; and participation and return to work.

CBISTs have been advised of changes in training materials and testing procedures; if you have more questions, please email Jessica Lucas, ACBIS coordinator.

Certificant Survey Results

A recent survey of ACBIS participants found that certificants would appreciate changes in several areas. For example:
  • Certification should be an actual tool that continues to help build awareness around BI by supporting its members with continuous education that filters into their daily life.
  • Certificants would like more interaction among CBIS members within community/region, and to have a website or central location of best practices allowing for information sharing among providers in the industry.
  • The process of becoming certified has  too many steps and is cumbersome.
  • Certificants would like to see it easier to get CEUs and find CEUs at reasonable rates. 
  • Certificants would appreciate a wider range in webinar subject/content areas that relate to working with people with TBIs (for CEUs).
  • New updated EBIG [see above announcement!].
  • The certification would be more valuable if insurance companies and Worker’s Comp saw it as a measure of excellence for therapists providing rehab to clients.
The ACBIS Board of Governors is discussing these and other comments at regular meetings. Please check this page for updates in the program. 

Other results from recent surveys include the following: 


September 2015

New ACBIS Board of Governors Members

The Academy is delighted to profile our newest board members.

Dr. Juan Carlos Arango is an Ikerbasque professor at Deusto University in Bilbao, Spain. Dr. Arango areas of expertise are traumatic brain injury, and rehabilitation. He has been instrumental in securing over $5 million dollars in grant funds as PI and co-PI. He has received recognition for his work in the area of brain injury and rehabilitation, including early career/emerging professional awards from the American Psychological Association’s, the National Academic of Neuropsychology, and the International Brain Injury Association.  Dr. Arango is a prolific researcher. He has published 5 books and more than 200 articles and book chapters. He has been a guest editor of 6 special issues in prominent rehabilitation journals. He serves on the editorial boards of 20 journals and is a reviewer for an additional 34 journals worldwide. As a renowned expert in his field, he is often invited to national and international conferences to speak on brain injury, neuropsychology, and rehabilitation. 

Christina S. Cetnar, MS, MT‐BC, holds a master’s in music therapy from SUNY New Paltz and is a board certified music therapist. She will graduate with an additional master’s degree in clinical social work in December 2015 from Boston University. She has practiced primarily in long-term care settings, most recently as a music therapist at Worcester Music Therapy Services in Worcester, MA. Earlier, Chrissy partnered with the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts as a presenter for Brains at Risk, a program focused on brain injury education and prevention. Chrissy has conducted several music therapy and TBI in-services for direct care and clinical staff as well as an interactive music therapy presentation at the 33rd BIA-MA conference for survivors and their caregivers. Her interest in brain injury was sparked early on in her music therapy career and she also enjoys working with the geriatric population including those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and varying dementias. Outside of work and school Chrissy enjoys spending time with her family, her husband Todd & their two dogs, Bella and Jersey.

Mary Voegeli FNP-BC, MSN, CRRN, is a nurse practitioner in the department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin. She is part of the inpatient Traumatic Brain Injury Consult Service as well as a core member of the Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. Ms. Voegeli is also a rehabilitation consultant at Lakeview Specialty and Rehabilitation hospital. Mary has been involved in the field of traumatic brain injury since 1983. She has been highly involved with the Brain Injury Alliance of Wisconsin for several years as Vice President of the Board of Directors, as well as a spokesperson, member of the state brain injury planning committee and volunteer for charity outings. She has presented at numerous traumatic brain injury conferences. Ms. Voegeli was the recipient of the Clinical Service Award from the Brain Injury Association of Wisconsin in 2011, the recipient of the Clinical and Educational Contribution to the MCW PM and R Residency Program award 2014, and the recipient of the Froedtert/MCW Excellence in Patient Care Award for the Advanced Practice Nurse, May 2015. Mary works tirelessly for her patients and families who need a voice. Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation is her life’s work.

Work-Related Stress in Brain Injury Professionals 

Treatment after brain injury involves management of physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. In addition, mood disorders, depression, and substance abuse after brain injury further complicate treatment interventions and outcomes. Recovery is difficult for individuals with brain injuries, their families, and rehabilitation professionals. The recovery process is long and providers typically have limited time to provide needed care and to accomplish rehabilitation goals due to limited funding sources. 

Work-related stress is a concern for brain injury professionals: several research studies concluded the daily stress and emotional exhaustion experienced by brain injury rehabilitation professionals leads to burnout. Saban et al. (2013) conducted a study in 2013 investigating burnout in healthcare professionals treating Veterans with TBI and discussed that “the intense emotional and demanding work of caring for those with TBI can also take its toll on professional healthcare providers” (p. 307-308). It was concluded that there are higher levels of emotional exhaustion experienced by those workers who spent more than 50% of their time treating TBI as compared to workers who spent less than 50% of their time treating TBI (Saban et al., 2013). In a study conducted by Mooney, Doig, and Fleming (2009), providers of community based rehabilitation to individuals with TBI reported frequent home visits, increased hours spent driving to client homes, and working in an isolated setting as risks for stress and burnout. 

Although it is known that the daily stress and emotional exhaustion experienced by brain injury rehabilitation professionals leads to an increased risk for burnout, there have been very few studies researching this issue. There has not been any research conducted to investigate what brain injury rehabilitation professionals would find helpful and effective in decreasing work-related stress. The need for further knowledge about the impact of staff burnout on brain injury rehabilitation professionals leads to the need for further research on this topic. 

Brain injury rehabilitation professionals are currently being recruited for a research study investigating what about brain injury rehabilitation is difficult, why brain injury professionals are at risk for work-related stress, and what would be helpful to reduce this risk. Brain injury professionals are eligible to participate should the following criteria be met: (1) have at least two years of experience working in an outpatient community based brain injury rehabilitation setting; (2) provide direct clinical care to individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) or acquired brain injury (ABI); (3) possess at least a Bachelors Degree in Psychology, Social Work, Disability Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, Nursing, or Counseling; and (4) be a Certified Brain Injury Specialist or Therapist through the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists.  

Participants will be interviewed and asked questions about what makes working in brain injury rehabilitation difficult, what is stressful about working in the brain injury rehabilitation field, and what would be helpful to reduce this risk. Interviews will last approximately one to two hours. Interviews will be recorded and all information discussed and audio recordings will be strictly confidential. Participants will receive a small gift as compensation for their time.

It is hoped that this research will lead to a better understanding of what about working in the brain injury rehabilitation field is difficult, why brain injury rehabilitation professionals are at risk for work-related stress, and what recommendations can be made to brain injury rehabilitation professionals and brain injury rehabilitation providers to reduce this risk. It is also hoped that a more apt term to operationalize the work-related stress experienced by brain injury professionals will emerge and be identified. If you have questions about this study, or are interested in participating, please contact Gillian Murray, MSW, LSW, CBIS, at 

  • Mooney, O., Doig, E., & Fleming, J. (2009). Risk assessment and management for providers of community-based rehabilitation to people with acquired brain injury:  Health professionals' perspectives. Disability & Rehabilitation, 31(6), 500-507. 
  • Saban, K. L., Hogan, T. P., DeFrino, D., Evans, C. T., Bauer, E. D., Louise-Bender Pape, T.L., Steiner, M,  Proescher, E. J., Vlasses, F. R., Smith, B. M. (2013). Burnout and coping strategies of polytrauma team members caring for Veterans with traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury, 27(3), 301-309.

September 2014 

Message from the Chair of the Board of Governors, Bud Elkind, MS, CBIST  

A hearty congratulations to ACBIS and to our 6,206 certificants (CBIS – 5,923, CBIST – 205, and our newest certification PCBIS - 78). Breaking 6,000 is not only a milestone, it represents a significant increase in knowledge and a step forward as we endeavor to improve the quality of care for individuals with brain injuries. A very special thanks to each of you.   

New Feature 

The ACBIS Board of Governors wants to create a community of enrichment – an Academy – that supports Certified Brain Injury Specialists and Trainers. To meet that goal, we will periodically send ideas for gaining new information or skills. We will start by letting you know about a tool we find valuable in our daily business and education lives. Google Alerts is one of the most powerful free tools available but it is often overlooked. It monitors the Web for words and phrases and will send you an email or update an RSS feed every time it finds a new result. It sounds pretty simple, right? You will be amazed at how powerful a simple tool like Google Alerts can be. It has a huge range of uses which are limited only by your imagination.   You can set up an alert for “brain injury” and you will get any breaking information that contains the words “brain injury”.  We have set up this alert and get approximately 10 news stories on brain injury stories from around the world every day (you can set the frequency of emails in the Google Alert tool).    

  • Monitor your own organization or others             
  • Monitor questions/key phrases in your niche 
  •  …and everything else!

Okay, so we have lives outside of work, too!  You can set up alerts for anything!  Following something in the news, coupons for a specific store, breaking news from events around the world, favorite band, or any person that influences you is easy to set up.  What about a specific job search for an organization, in a specific location in the country…around the world?   

There are many great “how to” tools on the web so we’ve included some links (out of many) for setting up your FREE Google Alerts that work for you!   If you’re comfortable setting up basic web searches, you can go directly to the Google Alert site, For step by step guides and more details, please visit:

New ACBIS board members    

We are delighted to inform you of two new ACBIS Board members.   

Dr. Drew Nagele is the Executive Director of Beechwood NeuroRehab, a life-long living program for adults who have an acquired brain-injury. A neuropsychologist, Dr. Nagele currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists, Co-Chairs the National Collaborative on Children’s Brain Injury, and Co-Chairs the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine’s Pediatric and Adolescent Task Force. Founding President of the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania, he also teaches in the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Post Doctoral Certificate Program in Neuropsychology, and frequently speaks on brain injury prevention and rehabilitation around the country.   Dr. Nagele received his BS in Psychology from Ursinus College, his MA in Community Psychology from Temple University, and his PsyD in Professional Psychology from Central Michigan University. He is a Licensed Psychologist in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.   Dr. Nagele is especially pleased about Beechwood’s new brain injury clubhouse, which has been very well received by members and families.

Barbara O'Connell is co-founder of Acquired Brain Injury Ireland (ABI Ireland), where she has been Chief Executive for over 13 years.  ABI Ireland is a national organization that provides community neuro-rehabilitation for people with an acquired brain injury.  Barbara has built the organization from an idea to a national organization that now serves over 2000 clients across the island of Ireland and has an annual budget of over 12 million Euros.  Prior to setting up ABI Ireland, Barbara worked as an Occupational Therapy Manager in Ireland’s National Rehabilitation Hospital, pioneering the design, implementation and management of social re-integration programs for people with an ABI, bridging the identified gap between post-acute services and return to the community.  Across her career she has worked directly with clients and staff in Adult and Adolescent Psychiatry and Intellectual Disability. Barbara has an MBA in Healthcare & Business from Smurfit Business School UCD.  Along with Women in Leadership training she completed an Executive Education course in Non-Profit Strategic Management in Harvard Business School in 2012 and Strategic Decision making in the Harvard Kennedy School in 2013.  Additional achievements for Barbara include the two awards she received in 2012: Women Mean Business - Social Entrepreneur of the Year and National Winner of Ulsterbank’s Business Achievers Award for Social Enterprise.

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