After more than two decades as the Executive Director and three decades of involvement with the organization, Arlene Korab will retire from The Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) as of June 30, 2013. Current Assistant Executive Director Nicole Godaire has been named as Korab’s successor to begin July 1.
“Arlene helped form this organization from its humble beginnings in a small building in Waltham, Mass. more than 30 years ago. She transformed her personal need for an organization like BIA-MA to a desire to provide information and resources to other survivors of brain injury and their family members and caregivers,” says BIA-MA Board President Teresa Hayes. “She has conscientiously prepared the organization to not only function without her, but to continue to grow and meet the needs of many more individuals affected by brain injury.”
Korab helped found the organization in 1982 after her son sustained a life-altering brain injury in a car accident. She also played a significant role in establishing the Statewide Head Injury Program which is a division of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. In addition, Arlene Korab served on BIA-MA’s Board of Directors for a decade prior to being appointed as the organization’s Executive Director in 1992.
Under Korab’s leadership, the organization expanded from one main office in Westborough to two additional regional offices in Pittsfield and E. Wareham serving 60,000 people across the Commonwealth. There also are now more than 30 BIA-MA support groups for survivors and their families. BIA-MA was the only state affiliate to successfully file a class action suit. In 2007, BIA-MA and four plaintiffs filed a class action complaint charging the Commonwealth with violating the Americans with Disabilities Act by failing to provide adequate community services to survivors. The following year, a settlement was reached allowing the opportunity for thousands of survivors who are currently residents in nursing homes to move into the community with financial and other supports.
“Arlene’s greatest accomplishment is transforming the organization from an idea at a kitchen table to the fantastic organization that it is today,” says BIA-MA Board Member David “Chip” Bradley, Jr.
“She has helped create many of the programs that serve the brain injury community, and has spearheaded much of the legislation that has been adopted on Beacon Hill. She has helped Massachusetts become the model by which all other state brain injury associations are measured.”
During Korab’s tenure, BIA-MA has been honored with many awards, including a “20 Years of Excellence” Award from the Civil Justice Foundation, an Outstanding Advocacy Award from the Brain Injury Association of America, a National Lifesavers Award from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, two Gold Awards from the New England Society for Healthcare Communications for a veterans with TBI billboard and the Faces of Brain Injury project, and a Leadership Award from Riverside Community Care, Inc.