News release

Acquired Brain Injury Group Announced

NOTE: A list of members follows at the end of this release.

Government is moving forward on its commitment to help brain injury survivors with the formation of the Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Group.

The 13-member group will be chaired by the Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia's executive director Leona Burkey, and executive director of Continuing Care at Department of Health and Wellness, Ruby Knowles. The group met for the first time today, Nov. 6, in Halifax.

"Helping to develop Nova Scotia's first Acquired Brain Injury Strategy is an exciting project," said Ms. Burkey. "While we have high-quality medical services in the province, we must do more to help survivors' recovery and their return to a productive life."

The group will provide input and make recommendations to the Minister of Health and Wellness on key strategic priorities to support the development of an acquired brain injury strategy by summer 2016.

Between 50,000 and 60,000 Nova Scotians have an acquired brain injury, which can occur after a head injury or an illness such as meningitis. Brain injury survivors may experience changes in their cognitive, physical, emotional or behavioural abilities which can last a lifetime.

"I completed university and earned a degree after my brain injury," said Jake MacDonald, of Wolfville. "My hope is that this committee will make more Nova Scotians aware of what people with brain injuries can do - with proper support - instead of what we can’t do."

Additional members may be added to the group if needed.


A 13-member Acquired Brain Injury Advisory Group met for the first time today (November 6th), in Halifax, the government has announced.

Between 50- and 60-thousand Nova Scotians have a brain injury and the group will identify strategic priorities that might prevent acquired brain injuries, and health and social supports needed for brain injury survivors, their families and caregivers.

Jake MacDonald, from Wolfville earned a university degree after his brain injury. He says he hopes the committee will make more Nova Scotians aware of what people with brain injuries can do rather than what they can't do.


Media Contact:

Tony Kiritsis
902-424-0585 Email:

Acquired Brain Injury Committee Co-Chairs:

  • Leona Burkey, Brain Injury Association of Nova Scotia
  • Ruby Knowles, Health and Wellness/Continuing Care

Acquired Brain Injury Committee Members:

  • Dr. Erica Baker, psychologist
  • Bobbi Beaulieu, caregiver
  • Dr. Richard Braha, Nova Scotia Rehabilitation Centre Acquired Brain Injury Program,
  • Lisa Cicchelli, RN, IWK Neuro Response Team
  • Dr. Andrew Harris, Nova Scotia Health Authority psychiatrist
  • Jennifer Heatley, Health and Wellness/Injury Prevention
  • Jake MacDonald, living with acquired brain injury
  • Anne MacRae, Disabled Persons Commission
  • Diana Nichols Nelson, Brain Repair Centre
  • Joe Rudderham, Community Services/Disability Support Program
  • Susan Stevens, Nova Scotia Health Authority Continuing Care