Fifth Annual VC Brain Injury Conference Emphasizes “Surviving, Striving and Thriving”

                                                                For more information, contact:  Lisa Hayden at 805.701.7206

                                                                                                 or Donna Davies at 805.482.1312

            Dealing with the future after a life-changing brain injury is the focus of the fifth annual Ventura County Brain Injury Conference, April 26 at the VC Office of Education in Camarillo. The day-long conference offers specialized programs, presentations and workshops for brain injury survivors, their families and professionals in order to ease some of the burden of this severe and permanent disability.

            The conference is staged by the non-profit Brain Injury Center of Ventura County and is recognized as one of the leading educational brain injury events in the west.

            Under the theme “Surviving, Striving and Thriving” the event’s diverse lectures and workshops will address coping skills, behavioral challenges, finding a job, going back to school and other issues that emerge after a brain injury.

            Keynote Speaker Brock Travis, Ph.D, will address handling the grief that comes with acquired brain injury.  Dr. Travis is a noted psychologist, therapist and life coach based in Ventura County who has developed a special focus on providing guidance and support through major life changes.  He makes heavy use of meditation and spirituality in his therapy, workshops and seminars.

            “A person is much more than their brain,” Travis said.  “A brain can be injured and a person can be traumatized. But our mind, our heart, the soul of our being, can shine through any injury, any trauma, and we can be and do what we are meant to.”

            The VC Brain Injury Conference is the brainchild of BIC’s Professional Advisory Council, a group consisting of some of the leading brain injury specialists, neuropsychologists, physicians and therapists in the county.  Other professionals who attend will be able to earn Continuing Education Credits.  Dr. Lisa Hayden, Ph.D., the Brain Injury Center’s Program Director, is the organization’s executive in charge of the event.

            ““This year we are excited to have the active participation of people with acquired brain injuries,” Dr. Hayden said.  “They will speak about going to school and getting a job after a brain injury as well as other challenges.  Survivors Pete Ippel and Linda Wells will talk about their own battles to come  to terms with the new normal.”

            Other presenters include Eric Lande, Ph. D., a clinical neuropsychologist and director of the Assessment Clinic at UCSB;  Dr. Lisa Hayden, licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the psychological and behavioral difficulties associated with brain injury, developmental disabilities and severe mental illness; Dr. Cheryl Smith, Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist, author and educator;  Dr. Jarice Butterfield, author, educator, director of the Santa Barbara County Special Education Local Plan Area; Celeste Racicot, cognitive therapist, case manager and rehabilitation counselor; brain injury survivors Linda Wells and Pete Issel; and Donna Davies, longtime brain injury activist and BIC Board president and parent of a brain injury survivor.

            Event sponsors include the Camarillo Health Care District and the Ventura County Health Care Agency.  In addition to special themed programs and workshops, a Circle of Support will go on all day for survivors.  It will be facilitated by Racicot and Dr. Smith and will include presentations by other brain injury survivors.

 “This year’s conference addresses issues faced by brain injury survivors and caretakers who are part of our support groups, counseling sessions, classes and other programs during the course of the year,” Davies said.  “A particular emphasis will be providing wide ranging resources and ideas to build on as life continues after brain injury.”

Brain injuries can be caused by automobile accidents, falls, sports injuries, assaults or other means of head trauma or by strokes, heart attacks or infectious diseases.  Every concussion is a brain injury and so is every stroke.  The war-related brain injuries usually come from the repercussions of roadside bombs or suicide bombers.  Sometimes the resulting brain damage is immediate but sometimes the effects worsen with time.  Either way proper care, comprehensive rehabilitation and ongoing love and support from family and friends are essential in maximizing recovery toward a more normal life.

            The conference costs $15 per person ($75 for professionals earning CEUs) and includes lunch and informational handouts.  Pre-registration is required.  Reservations can be made by calling the Brain Injury Center at (805) 482-1312.  More information about the conference and the organization is available on BIC’s website  —

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