The increased incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) over the course of the 1980’s and 1990’s led to efforts to advocate for expanded services for persons with brain injuries. This occurred largely through the efforts of the Nebraska Brain Injury Association (BIA-NE), spearheaded by individuals with TBI and their families. The Nebraska Department of Education (NDE), Special Education Office received two one-year planning grants from the Health Resources Services Administration, Maternal Child Health Bureau (HRSA/MCHB) for 2000-01 and 2001-02. Accomplishments included legislation in 2000-01 for state matching funds to sustain the Head and Spinal Cord Injury Registry through the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). A 15 member TBI Advisory Board was created and authorized in state statute until June 2002. During the two-year planning phase, the TBI Advisory Board led activities to ensure that the required four core components of a culturally competent state system for TBI services were established; a lead agency, an advisory board, a statewide needs and resources assessment and a statewide action plan. The first Nebraska Plan for Systematic Services for Individuals with Brain Injuries and their Families was drafted based on findings from the 2001-2002 Needs and Resources Assessment. In August 2002, Nebraska received the first of several TBI Implementation Partnership Grants from the Federal TBI Program located in HRSA/MCHB with NDE serving as lead agency.
In 2008, Governor Dave Heineman designated Nebraska VR as lead agency for the grant. The Commissioner of Education appoints members to the Council, which serves as an advisory body and makes recommendations to the coordinating agencies regarding implementation of grant goals and those of the statewide action plan. Recognizing the need to represent the interests of Nebraskans with all acquired brain injuries (not only TBI), the members voted in 2011 to change the Council’s name to the Nebraska Brain Injury (BI) Advisory Council. The statewide action plan was updated in 2007 and again in 2012, based on results from the 2010 Needs and Resources Assessment.
The Council initiated strategic planning activities in 2017, which led to development of the Statewide Vision for Brain Injury Policies and Services.