In an exciting development, the U.S. Department of Education's National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) recently signed an Interagency Agreement (IAA) with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the NIDRR-funded Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems National Data and Statistical Center (NDSC) located at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado to provide consultation, training, and technical assistance to the VA and the VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers. The Agreement calls for Craig and NIDRR to assist the VA to create a new registry of military service personnel and veterans who are returning from Iraq or Afghanistan with traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
BIAA has long been a strong advocate for collaboration between VA and NIDRR's TBI Model Systems of Care Program, and last year BIAA played a critical role in ensuring the inclusion of legislative language mandating such collaboration in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008 (H.R. 4986). BIAA also played a vital role in obtaining $900,000 in additional funding last year to maintain research capacity within the TBI Model Systems of Care program.