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Healthy Blue Nebraska Awards the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska $100,000 to Implement Brain Injury Screenings with Douglas County Youth Center


January 5, 2023

Omaha, Neb. - The Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska (BIA-NE) is excited to announce its receipt of a $100,000 program sponsorship from Healthy Blue Nebraska to implement brain injury screening, education, and management processes as part of a collaborative project with the Douglas County Youth Center. 

To celebrate the funding of this program, Healthy Blue Nebraska will be holding a check presentation ceremony at Healthy Blue’s Welcome Room at 2910 K St. Ste. E, Omaha on January 11, 2023, at 3:30 p.m. 

The Reason for the Program

Brain injury is often an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed co-occurring condition in behavioral health. Those who do report a history of brain injury will also have longer and more severe histories of substance use and more co-occurring behavioral health issues. For this reason, as many as 75% of the people seeking services for concurrent mental health and substance use disorders are living with the effects of brain injury. Because brain injury is often an invisible disability, it is easy to miss and misunderstand. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), TBI may affect around 8.5% of the population during their lifetime. However, the prevalence of brain injury is much higher among certain populations such as victims of domestic violence, homelessness, juveniles, and adults in the criminal justice system. 

Based on preliminary screening conducted at a local youth detention program, 51 percent of youth are screening positive for a lifetime history of brain injury. This finding aligns with a similar study conducted in two Pennsylvania juvenile detention centers between 2014 and 2018 by Nagele, Vaccaro, Schmidt, and Myers where 49 percent of the 489 youth screened positive for a history of brain injury.  

The Program’s Goals

This collaborative project is an effort to create a better means of meeting the mental and physical health needs of justice-involved youth, not only to improve individual well-being but also to direct those with underlying health problems to appropriate services–reducing recidivism and the costs incurred by what is termed as the “revolving-door” population. 

One of the facets of this project is to bring brain injury training and awareness as another component to the Douglas County Youth Center’s (DCYC) Behavioral Health Initiative, which is intended to increase access to needed behavioral health services and improve overall outcomes of justice-involved youth. Unfortunately, decades of viewing brain injury as a medical condition have caused many behavioral health providers to feel they are not trained or equipped to treat brain injury. Because of this, it is critical to demystify brain injury for behavioral health professionals working with justice-involved youth. The BIA-NE will accomplish this by providing brain injury training and mentoring for DCYC staff, multidisciplinary treatment team members, and community-based providers working with justice-involved youth. 

Additionally, BIA-NE will provide brain injury screening and offer suggestions on how to better support justice-involved youth who screen positive for brain injury at DCYC.

The Impact of This Program and Its Funding

The funding provided by Healthy Blue Nebraska is critical in the implementation of this project–allowing the BIA-NE to dedicate a part-time Resource Facilitator to this project and provide the required resources, training, and assistance needed to successfully achieve the project goals. 

Executive Director of the BIA-NE, Peggy Reisher, states “Given the prevalence of brain injury within the justice-involved population, we are excited to have this opportunity to bring the brain injury component to DCYC’s Behavioral Health Initiative.”

About the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska

The Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska (BIA-NE) was founded in 2009 to create better futures for all Nebraskans through brain injury prevention, education, advocacy, and support.

Serving the brain injury population means securing and developing community-based services, providing support groups and access to pertinent information and medical resources, and service referrals. It also means educating professionals who work with children and adults with brain injury. 

These impactful services are provided by BIA-NE resource facilitators located throughout the state of Nebraska who are available to help individuals living with the effects of brain injury. To learn more about the BIA-NE resource facilitation program and its staff members, visit 


For more information on the Brain Injury Alliance of Nebraska and its efforts to serve justice-involved youth affected by brain injury in Nebraska, contact Peggy Reisher, MSW, Executive Director, at or 402-890-0606. 

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PO Box 22147, Lincoln, NE 68542