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Annual Conference

BIAPA Annual Conference

Sunday, June 24 - Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square

Confronting the Challenges of Today for a Stronger Tomorrow

The conference dates are Sunday, June 24 to Tuesday, June 26, 2018. Once again, the Conference will be held at the beautiful Lancaster Marriott in Lancaster, PA. Registration information will be available in mid-March.


Sunday, June 24 – 7:00 pm

Traumatic Brain Injury (and then some): Insights from the Recovery Process
Speakers: Dr. Grace Dammann and Mark Lipman, Filmmaker



Dr. Grace Dammann narrowly survived a head-on crash on the Golden Gate Bridge in 2008 which left her with 17 broken bones, 3 brain bleeds and massive internal injuries. After spending 13 months in rehab facilities she returned home to the Buddhist Community where she had lived for twenty years. Dr. Dammann describes her journey of recovery and her eventual return to medical practice as the director of the pain clinic at Laguna Honda Hospital in San Francisco. The documentary about her recovery “States of Grace” will be shown on Sunday evening at the conference.

Dr. Grace Dammann Biography
Dr. Grace Dammann received her M.D. from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) in 1986 and has practiced medicine in the Bay Area for the past thirty-two years. In 1989 she founded and co-directed the HIV/AIDS unit at Laguna Honda Hospital, one of two public hospitals in San Francisco and the largest skilled nursing facility in the United States. In recognition of her work with AIDS patients, Dr. Dammann was honored in 2005 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Dr. Dammann’s work was interrupted in 2008 when she suffered a devastating, head-on crash on the Golden Gate Bridge - 17 broken bones, 3 brain bleeds and massive internal injuries. After 48 days in a coma, she awoke relatively intact mentally, but spent the next 13 months in rehab hospitals undergoing physical, occupational and speech therapies to regain use of her body and strengthen her executive function. In 2009 Grace returned home to Green Gulch Farm, the Buddhist center where she, her partner and daughter had lived for 20 years, and continued her recovery there with the support of her family and community. In 2011 Dr. Dammann returned to Laguna Honda Hospital as the founding Medical Director of the Pain Clinic. It is the only clinic of its kind in a skilled nursing facility, using a variety of non-drug modalities to treat chronic pain including acupuncture, meditation, massage, and music therapy. Dr. Dammann is currently in a Buddhist chaplaincy training program which she will complete in July 2018. She also holds a Masters in Religion from Yale University Divinity School and plans to work as a chaplain once she completes her training.

Mark Lipman, Filmmaker Biography
Mark Lipman has worked as a documentary filmmaker for over thirty-five years, exploring a wide range of subjects. His films have been broadcast nationally on public television and won numerous awards. His producing credits include To Have and To Hold (1981), the first documentary to look at domestic violence through the experiences of men; Holding Ground: The Rebirth of Dudley Street (1996), a film about the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative’s successful efforts to revitalize a Boston neighborhood devastated by redlining, arson and illegal dumping; Father’s Day (2003), an experimental documentary about the death of Mark’s father; and Gaining Ground (2012), a sequel to Holding Ground that explores DSNI’s success in preventing foreclosures and fostering youth leadership. After moving to San Francisco in 2004, and forming Open Studio Productions with Helen S. Cohen, they produced several films including States of Grace (2014), a feature documentary about the recovery of Dr. Grace Dammann following a head-on crash on the Golden Gate Bridge; and Arc of Justice (2015), a documentary about the first community land trust which developed out of the Civil Rights Movement in 1970 in rural Georgia. He also has extensive experience designing and implementing audience engagement campaigns for his films. Mark has an MFA in filmmaking from the Massachusetts College of Art and a BA in psychology from Harvard University.

Monday, June 25 – 9:00 am

You Are Stronger Than You Think
Speaker: JJ Virgin
On September 10, 2012, JJ Virgin’s 16-year-old son Grant was hit by a car while crossing the street in his neighborhood and left for dead. The doctors recommended that she let him die, but instead JJ overruled them and fought for her son. In this talk she will share how she was able to stay mentally strong and physically healthy during the months Grant was in the hospital and the mindset behind her 110% recovery approach for her son.

 JJ Virgin Biography
Celebrity nutrition expert and Fitness Hall of Famer JJ Virgin teaches clients how to eliminate food and carb intolerances so they can transform their health and their lives. As co-host of TLC’s Freaky Eaters and health expert on Dr. Phil, JJ is a prominent TV and media personality, including appearances on PBS, Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Access Hollywood, and the TODAY Show. JJ is the author of four NY Times bestsellers: The Virgin Diet, The Virgin Diet Cookbook, JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet, and JJ Virgin’s Sugar Impact Diet Cookbook. Her latest book, Miracle Mindset, shows warrior moms how to be strong, positive leaders for their families, while exploring the inspirational lessons JJ learned as she fought for her own son’s life. JJ hosts the popular JJ Virgin Lifestyle Show podcast, with over 3 million downloads and counting. She also regularly writes for Huffington Post, Rodale Wellness, Mind Body Green and other major blogs and magazines. In addition to her work with nutrition and fitness, JJ is also a business coach and founded the premier health entrepreneur event and community, The Mindshare Summit.

Agitation after Traumatic Brain Injury: Current Concepts of Pathophysiology, Assessment and Treatment
Speaker: Dr. Brian Greenwald
This presentation will compare the commonly used Ranchos Los Amigos Scales to the changes seen at a brain level as recovery occurs after moderate to severe traumatic brain injury (TBI). The assessment and differential diagnosis will be reviewed. Agitation will be differentiated from aggression. Current concepts of non-pharmacologic treatment early on after TBI will be addressed. Risk and benefits of pharmacologic treatment of for targeted agitation, aggression and irritability will be reviewed.

Dr. Brian Greenwald Biography
Dr. Greenwald is currently the Medical Director of Center for Brain Injuries and the Associate Medical Director of JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. He is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is the Director for the Brain Injury Medicine Fellowship at JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Greenwald is also the Medical Director for the JFK Johnson Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems of care grant. He is board certified in both Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Brain Injury Medicine. Dr. Greenwald has been the recipient of multiple awards for his clinical work, research work, and teaching. Dr. Greenwald has published multiple articles and book chapters in the areas of brain injury rehabilitation. Currently he is involved in several research studies to improve the care of brain injury survivors.

Tuesday, June 26 – 1:15 pm

Strength in Numbers: Yesterday, Today, & Tomorrow
Speakers: Ajani “AJ” Murray and Cynthia McFadden
The importance of strength through your network of support; family community, medical professionals, education, awareness, etc. and using these tools to empower yourself. We will discuss adversity and the importance of using your past to strengthen your future. How to seize the day with your talents abilities and resources that enable you to strive, survive and be happy. Preparing for a better tomorrow and learning from experience how to be flexible with your plans. Setting goals and preparing for change.

Ajani “AJ” Murray Biography
Ajani “AJ” Murray is a professional disabled actor represented by KMR Talent, North Hollywood, CA. His breakout feature documentary film Becoming Bulletproof opened several doors for this aspiring actor who has since played roles in several films. Bardo Blues (2015), Take a Look at This Heart (2018), and The Homecoming (post-production). His breakout television debut role on Drunk History (Comedy Central) has brought notoriety to his passion as an advocate in the disability community. AJ's 2nd tv role is another dream come true. The groundbreaking ABC show Speechless opened up the door for him to be a part of a sitcom. Ajani enjoys working on film projects. From a story consultant on the film Dealt (2017) to a current script consultant on the film My Hilarious Life (2020), he loves all aspects of film making. He also programmed the Martha's Film Festival (2015), juror and presenter for the Miami Film Festival (2017 & 2018), and juror for Heartland Film Festival (2017). He holds the position of Spokesperson for the Inspire Film Festival, The Woodlands Texas, for which he interviews filmmakers, actors, and subjects. His most challenging and creative endeavor thus far is his first short film/pilot entitled Able. He hopes to launch production the summer of 2018. AJ has partnered with his mother Cynthia McFadden to formulate the speaking duo, I Push U Talk, and they travel the country speaking to diverse audiences.

 Cynthia McFadden Biography
"I am a believer in utilizing whatever you have because on the road to mastering who you are, what you want, and keeping your dreams alive your best bet is to rely on your strengths.” Cynthia McFadden. 'I PUSH U TALK' was literally birthed AJ's first year of life. Cynthia’s desire to empower AJ coupled with his curious mind and never-ending conversations were a balance in a world that seemed uncertain at the time. Cynthia is very excited and eager to share their experiences, their stories, their challenges, their set-backs, their miracles and most important.... her liberation.



Exhibitors, Sponsors, Advertisers
This is your opportunity to support the Brain Injury Association of Pennsylvania and make contact with over 350 professionals, persons with brain injury and family members. Monies raised through exhibits, advertising, and sponsorships are the organization’s main financial support for the year. Make your company a part of brain injury advocacy, education and support through one of the excellent opportunities available.



Exhibiting, advertising or sponsoring our conference is an excellent way to reach over 350 attendees that are a wonderful blend of professionals, persons with brain injury and family members. 


Award nominations are now being accepted. Consider making a nomination for one or more of these awards:
   Pioneer in Brain Injury
   Service to the Brain Injury Community
   Organization Award
   John Sears Inspiration Award
   Barb Dively Advocacy Award
   Dennis Minori Family Tribute Award
   Service to the Association
   Leadership Award
   Public Policy Award
   Direct Service Award

Award nomination forms are due no later than Friday, April 20, 2018. 


Join us for the BEST conference of 2018! 

For more information, contact Kara Latshaw at admin@biapa.org or (717) 692-5569. 

950 Walnut Bottom Road, Suite 15-229, Carlisle, PA      Phone 1-866-635-7097      Fax 1-717-692-5567
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