Northeast Center for Special Care Leads New York State in Certified Brain Injury Specialists

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Twenty-one clinical and direct support staff from Northeast Center for Special Care in Ulster County, NY have become certified brain injury specialists (CBIS) under the American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists (AACBIS) training program.

Ann Marie Belcher, CEO of the Northeast Center for Special Care, a traumatic brain injury rehabilitation program located in Ulster County, NY, has announced that twenty-one clinical and direct support professional staff of the Center have become certified brain injury specialists (CBIS) under the American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists (AACBIS) training program. This brings the total number of persons that have received the CBIS certification at Northeast Center to twenty-eight individuals -- the highest number of certified staff in any rehabilitation program in New York State.

This prestigious credential is awarded by the American Academy for the Certification of Brain Injury Specialists (AACBIS), the voluntary national certification program whose mission is to improve the quality of care for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) through the establishment of best practices in education and training of those who work in the field of brain injury. Applicants must complete a rigorous course of study and pass a two-hour AACBIS written certification exam. To maintain this certification, all applicants must also satisfy continuing education requirements or retake the exam every two years. Because of the spectrum of unique skills and specialized knowledge required of clinical and support staff that work with individuals with TBI, the certification is designed to address specific issues in the delivery of brain injury services and to complement other existing staff and program credentials. The Northeast Center for Special Care is a program focused on the needs of individuals with acquired brain injuries, neurobehavioral disorders, and ventilator dependency.

The Northeast Center is also staffed full-time with two AACBIS Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainers (CBIST), the highest AACBIS certification. Training classes were conducted at the Center using the latest AACBIS curriculum and educational materials. The class was led by Gerry Brooks, MA, CCC, CBIST, and Director of Brain Injury Programs at Northeast Center for Special Care. The AACBIS certification is nationally recognized as the gold standard for clinical and direct support professional staff working in the field of brain injury. For more information about AACBIS visit their website: http://www.aacbis.net/

Founder and President Anthony Salerno said of the latest graduating class: "Northeast Center has been a leader in promoting the education and competency of our remarkable rehabilitation staff-the AACBIS certification helps us provide cutting edge rehabilitation and services for TBI survivors and their families."

The twenty-one staff members who graduated to achieve AACBIS certification are:

•Julie Cole, CNA
•Melonie Cousin, MA, CCC, SLP
•Katherine Davies, AS
•Kari English
•Jean Faichney, MS, OTR/L
•Robin Fairley, RN
•Joan Gage, BSN, RN
•Joyce E. Garee, LMSW, CCFC
•Brooke L. Gabriels, MS, OTR/L
•Paula J. Kindos-Carberry, LMSW
•Christine M. Lawlor, MSED
•Anthony P. Marmo, BA, MPA
•James P. McConnell, LPN, EMT
•Kathy McCormick, RN, WCC
•Michael Plante, RRPT
•Cynthia Pope, LPN
•Francine Rivenburgh, LPN
•Paul Scarpati, MS, OTR/L
•Rick Soshensky, MA, MT-BC, NRMT
•Janine Williams, BA
•Val Zocchi, MS, RN

Northeast Center for Special Care Program Director Gerry Brooks noted: "Our talented and dedicated staff at Northeast Center have worked to be the best in the field of brain injury rehabilitation; on behalf of the people we serve, congratulations to all of you for achieving this great distinction."

In furtherance of its mission, the Northeast Center for Special Care has a fully resourced staff inservice educational program. In addition to the two CBIST trainers, it staffs two full-time Nurse Trainers, regularly enrolls its staff in specialized regional, state and national trainings and conferences, and maintains one of the country's most extensive digital resource libraries and databases in the field of brain injury rehabilitation. For the past three years, the Center has developed and sponsored the annual Mid-Hudson Brain Injury Rehabilitation Conference, which has been attended by clinicians from all over the United States. The conferences have presented educational sessions by noted experts in the area of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, including experts on staff at the Center.

Northeast Center for Special Care is a state-of-art rehabilitation program for individuals with brain injury, neurobehavioral disorders, spinal cord injury, and ventilator dependency. Established in 1999, it is located on a 39-acre campus in the beautiful Hudson Valley. The mission of Northeast Center for Special Care is rehabilitation, recovery and community reentry for individuals with disabilities. Since its inception, hundreds of individuals have "graduated" from its programs and have moved on to integrated settings in their communities. Northeast Center has been honored with numerous awards including: The New York State Health Facilities Association (NYSHFA) Clinical and Quality Services Committee 2007 Innovative Practices Award, The Advance Magazine Award for Innovative Clinical Program, The American Association for Respiratory Care Quality Respiratory Care Recognition Award for 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007, The Gateway Community Industries Employer of the Year award and the Mid-Hudson Employment Alliance Outstanding Employer of Individuals with Disabilities.

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Deborah Muise

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