Marilyn Price Spivack, who co-founded the National Head Injury Foundation (now the Brain Injury Association of America) with Dr. Martin Spivack and co-founded the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts – will receive the Founder’s Award in honor of her hard work and dedication in the field of brain injury. She has been a Neurotrauma Rehabilitation Outreach Coordinator at Spaulding Rehabilitation Network for more than 15 years.
Spivack, whose daughter Debby suffered a brain injury as a teenager, started the National Head Injury Foundation at her home in Framingham, Mass. with a small group of 17 families and professionals in August of 1980. “Our loved ones had sustained severe head injuries,” explains Spivack. “Their prognosis was grim, and services were nonexistent.” With few professionals to turn to for help, the group was determined to build an organization which was based on their needs and deep frustrations as they searched for treatment options and services for individuals with brain injuries, she adds.
The organization was the first of its kind and not easy to build. “We learned from one another and we listened,” Spivack says. “Our accomplishments took time, patience, resources and many voices along with helping hands.”
While BIAA and BIA-MA have come a long way and had many successes, Spivack hopes the national organization and its chapters will continue to flourish and expand their visions by adding their voices to the health care reform discussions, tireless advocacy work on behalf of survivors and families and by taking advantage of the exciting advancements in the field of neuroscience.
Currently, Marilyn serves as a member of the BIA-MA Board of Directors and continues to advocate for brain injury services. Her tireless efforts have lent to legislative victories as well and she continues to travel extensively for conferences and speaking engagements. She is an advocate, through and through.