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Joanne Susi

"It's the difference between surviving and thriving...and I'm thriving here."Joanne Susi was BIA-MA's keynote speaker at the 35th Annual Brain Injury Conference. On March 16, 2011, Joanne Susi's life was transformed. After three long years in a nursing home, she moved into the community as a result of the ABI Waiver Program. Read Joanne's story

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Current Advocacy Efforts

There are two current advocacy efforts BIA-MA needs help with:

  1. Effort to increase the FY'17 MRC SHIP Budget Ask (line item 4120-6000)
  2. Effort to support the Cognitive-Rehabilitation Bill

Effort to increase the FY'17 MRC SHIP Budget Ask (line item 4120-6000)

FY'17 AskIn the Fall of 2015, Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) and Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP) will begin a collaborative, grass roots advocacy campaign seeking funding for the FY’17 Budget for Statewide Head Injury Program (SHIP).

In the past, BIA-MA began significantly advocating for the annual MRC SHIP Budget Ask (funded by Line Item 4120-6000) once the Governor has released the budget. This year, however, in order to provide the brain injury community with early and up-to-date information to advocate for the FY’17 Budget Ask, our grass roots campaign will start in the Fall of 2015 - the earliest and most inclusive start ever!

The Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission’s (MRC) SHIP program provides a broad range of community-based services that support individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and their families. The SHIP program is part of the community Living Division at MRC. Services for eligible applicants include: Service coordination, regional service centers, residential services, case management, individual skills training, companion services, consultation for families, substance abuse services, and social and recreational programs. For more information visit

There are currently 4,318 individuals who have suffered a TBI and are eligible for SHIP services through MRC. In order to aid these individuals, the state would need to increase SHIP funding by an additional $24.9 million over the FY’16 budget of $15.8 million. Many of these individuals have waited for services for a number of years.

In order to work toward this goal, BIA-MA will be orchestrating this grass roots advocacy campaign. We will ask those interested to educate their elected officials through a large number of emails and/or phone calls at different points in the campaign. Elected legislators typically:

  • Base most of their decisions on what they hear from their constituents
  • Care about what their constituents think, especially those who communicate their views
  • Need the votes of their constituents to get re-elected

The target audience will vary depending on timing. The key players include:FY'17 Ask

  • Executive branch:
    Governor Charlie Baker
    Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristin LePore
    Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders
    MRC Commissioner Nicky Osborne

  • Legislative branch:
    Senate President Stanley Rosenberg
    Senate Ways and Means Chair Karen Spilka
    Speaker of the House of Representatives Robert DeLeo
    House Ways and Means Chair Brian Dempsey

  • Your individual State Senator and Representative
    Find your legislators at:

Click here to view the MRC FY'16 MA Budget Ask Flyer

Click here to Find my Legislator. 

For more information about BIA-MA's Advocacy efforts, contact us at 508-475-0032 or