2022 Fall Edition
Letter From the Chair
Dr. Tom Bergquist
I am writing this, my final column as Chair of the Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (BI-ISIG) as we near the end of what has been an eventful summer for my own family. I am also looking ahead to the fall, to see many of you, my professional family in person for the first time in 3 years. This meeting will be another opportunity to do what we have always done, working collaboratively as a team, advancing the field and helping ensure that our stakeholders both receive and are well informed of, the best possible evidence-based care. Given this will be the first in-person meeting in three years, things may be a bit different. There will be perhaps be some awkward moments as we reacquaint ourselves with meeting in person, but I also anticipate bigger smiles, longer hugs and maybe even a few tears. While of necessity we have learned a lot about how to get things done remotely, including delivering first-rate care over the last 2 1/2 years, this will never replace being together in person with the people we respect and treasure.
From the group of dedicated professionals that formed several decades ago and was once small enough to enjoy dinner together, we have grown to have 7 task forces, several hundred members, and countless projects, studies, surveys, publications, and educational materials which collectively have helped to shape our field. If you are an ACRM member and not part of one of our BI-ISIG task forces or not participating in one of their projects, you are really not getting the full value of your membership. Becoming an active participant in one of the Task Forces will not only enhance your professional career but will lead to developing new relationships with friends and colleagues that can last a lifetime. As we all know, rehabilitation is not a solo act. Lenny Diller, one of the fathers of brain rehabilitation, said during his ACRM Presidential address many decades ago, that rehabilitation is a team sport, and our best work is always done through working in collaboration with others. We are defined not so much by who we are, but what we do together. Whatever your credentials, what best determines how far you will go in this field and how much satisfaction you will derive from it, is more defined by how well you work toward common goals together with a team of like-minded professionals. This is true whether those goals involve producing the best-informed research in the field or helping the persons we serve regain meaning and purpose in their lives after devastating illness or injury.
My late father, who passed away around the time I began my tenure as Chair of this group, worked most of his professional career as a principal in a large architectural firm in St. Paul Minnesota. For much of that time he was in charge of hiring new staff and told them that it was their job to push the firm, not the firm’s job to push them. Dad was right. I invite you each to push us as a Brain Injury Community Group. Ask hard questions. Propose new projects that might seem to be a stretch. Challenge the status quo, with new and different ways of solving old problems. You should expect, and if need be, demand that the BI-ISIG and ACRM do everything they can to support these pursuits.
While I am stepping down as Chair, I am not going away. I will be the new Past-Chair and continue in other roles. I look forward to working together with many of you in the years ahead.
Wishing the best for all of you,