Meeting of 4/30/15: ‘Brain Injury Association’

Picture 3
Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush
April 30, 2015

Attending (13): Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, April Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Terry Brewer, Jim Butterworth, Dick Drumm, A.J. Amato, Dean Calamaras, Len Leonidas, Peter Brown, Ray Hannan, Shannon Romanowski.

Guests (3): Karen Thomas, Hans Albanese, Shevaun Culmer-Reid.

PROGRAM: Brain Injury Association of NYS

BIANYS official Karen Thomas.
BIANYS official Karen Thomas.

Len Leonidas introduced our speaker,  Karen Thomas, director of family services for the Brain Injury Association of New York State.

Karen explained that the BIANYS is headquartered at 10 Colvin Avenue in Albany, with 15 staffers statewide. It was founded in 1982 as a grassroots organization and has grown to include a family help hotline, community based programs, support groups for patients and/or their families, a volunteer board of directors from various disciplines across the state, and brain injury response training.

She said that concussions are much more frequent than most people may know — one every 13.1 seconds across the nation. She said 2.5 million people suffer such injuries annually; 50,000 will die, 280,000 be hospitalized, 2.2 million treated and released.

Brain injuries are divided into two types — acquired, by such things as stroke, illness and toxicity, and traumatic, such as suffered in accidents. Most are classified as mtBI, or mild traumatic brain injury. The results can vary widely, and fit into five groups, the understanding of which can help individuals and their families, friends and colleagues realize the residual problem of such trauma:

• Physical: Characterized by, among other things, loss of smell, loss of taste, hearing difficulties, sensitivity to light and/or sound, seizures, balance problems, and sleep disturbances,

• Cognitive: Characterized by, among other things, short-term memory loss, problem solving difficulties and increased distractibility.

• Executive Functioning: Characterized by, among other things, problems with goal setting, planning, self-monitoring and adaptability.

• Affective Behavioral: Characterized by, among other things, becoming more impulsive, showing impaired judgment, depression, irritability, marked  personality change, and aggressive behavior.

• Psychosocial: Characterized by, among other things, educational/vocational problems, family issues, interpersonal difficulties (sexuality, alcohol/drugs), loss of self esteem, depression/frustration, shaken sense of self.

Karen made note of the annual BIANYS Conference scheduled for Thursday and Friday, June 4-5, at the Marriott on Wolf Road in Colonie. The Oscar-nominated actor Gary Busey, who suffered traumatic head injury in a 1988 motorcycle accident and often speaks of his experience and its aftermath, will be the keynote speaker at the Friday luncheon.

Karen listed several resources for people desiring more information concerning braun injury, treatment and support:
Centers for Disease Control


WELCOME TO GUESTS — President Bill welcomed speaker Karen Thomas, returning guest Hans Albanese (who spoke to us some weeks ago about his years teaching in Japan), and first-time guest Shevaun Culmer-Reid, a newcomer to the area who is interested in  learning more about Rotary.

CONGRATULATIONS — The club’s congratulations were offered to Murray Forth for recently being celebrated as one of the Capital Region YMCA’s “Heroes Among Us” for his untiring volunteer efforts. It was noted that this honor came just a month after Murray was named our club’s “Rotarian of the Year.” Murray said he plans to build a larger shelf for the awards.

TREASURER’S REPORT — Murray provided a verbal list of recipients of about $11,000 in club grants made in recent months. They range from the Gift of Life to ShelterBox to Ronald McDonald House to Boy Scouts to PolioPlus and so on.

CLUB ACTIVITIES —  (1.) Members were asked to check out the four summer offerings at the Mac-Hayden Theatre in Chatham and let Doris Calamaras, who is coordinating our annual outing there, know which show they would like to see so she can begin forming a consensus pick. The possibilities are “Hairspray,” “West Side Story,” “The Producers” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” (2.) Anyone who would like to host one of our casual picnic-style summer meetings should let Terry Brewer or Debbie Rodriguez know so the scheduling can begin for their year as president and vice president. Debbie will take over the scheduling chores from Bill on July 1, so anyone wishing to reserve a program date for 2015-16 should speak directly to her.

ROTARY ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE THE CLUB — (1.)  A reminder that the annual District 7190 Conference, set for May 15-17, will be a different experience this year, with events taking place at a variety of venues in Schoharie County, including a construction project. Details and registration links are available on our website. (2.) The annual Apple Festival, scheduled for Saturday, May 9, at Riverview Orchards in Rexford is offering free admission to all visiting Rotarians, courtesy of the Shenendehowa club. Riverview Farm is more than 100 years old, and, in addition to being a farm, it is a bakery and country store. (3.) Bill said if  anyone would like to accompany him to a meeting of the Lansingburgh club on Tuesday, June 2, where he will be presenting a program on genealogical research, to please let me know in the next few weeks so he can give them a headcount.

LOOKING AHEAD — President-elect Terry spoke on some efforts he plans to make during his 2015-16 presidency. Among them — more involvement by club members so we are not endlessly reliant on the same small core of activists; a busy summer of casual get-togethers as well as such field trips as ValleyCats baseball and Mac-Haydn theater; an upcoming poll of members to see what they want to get out of being a Rotarian.

NEXT MEETING — 6:15 p.m. Thursday, May 7, at Quigley’s. The speaker will be Richard Hodge, a board member of the Gift of Life who will be updating us on GOL’s latest medical mission which our club helped underwrite.


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