Rebecca Quinn, a local authority on brain injury, is scheduled to address the 2019 Governor’s Summit on Innovative Education on Thursday, Aug. 15 in Jamestown, N.D.

Quinn, director of the North Dakota Brain Injury Network, based at the UND Center for Rural Health, is scheduled to give a talk, “The Hidden Impact of Brain Injury,” on the second day of the two-day meeting.

The summit is the first of its kind in North Dakota, she said.

A gathering of teachers, students, administrators and community leaders, the program will focus on innovative instruction, best practices to personalize learning and other strategies to better prepare students for life after graduation from high school.

An emphasis has been placed on behavioral health in educational settings and potential opportunities for the behavioral health and educational systems to collaborate in a meaningful way, according to a statement from the North Dakota Department of Public Instruction.

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Quinn said the summit is a “great opportunity” for professionals in behavior health and education to gain awareness.

“This is a primary opportunity to bring these two forces together to improve all services in our state,” she said.

With her talk, Quinn said she hopes to increase attendees’ understanding of issues related to brain injuries, based on the work she has been doing with the state Department of Human Services’ Division of Behavioral Health.

“I will be sharing information about the high prevalence of brain injury in our communities and the potential long-term impacts” if brain injuries are not recognized and individuals are unable to access services to recover, she said.

Brain injuries could “lead to future difficulties,” she said, noting that her goal is “to help with that recovery sooner in order to prevent that.”

“People with brain injuries are overrepresented in the homeless, criminal justice and substance abuse populations,” said Quinn, noting that most of these injuries result from childhood injury, such as trauma, falls or being shaken as a baby.

“The primary cause of brain injury is from falls, which occur in the under-4-year-old category, but also from playground, bicycle or motor vehicle (accidents) -- there are lots of different causes to be on the watch for,” Quinn said.

Her talk may lead to discussion about ways schools can integrate screening for brain injuries, she said. Severe injuries might be recognized but mild injuries may not, or a student may have had an injury earlier in childhood that later-grade teachers may be unaware of, she said.

She hopes attendees will leave the summit with “tools and resources which they can use, and a better understanding that they can apply to their work whether in education or behavioral health,” she said.

The timing of the summit, is “great,” Quinn said, not only because it’s occurring shortly before the start of the school year, but also because of “changes in developments happening in behavioral health and in education in our state.”

The summit has been organized by the North Dakota Governor’s Office in partnership with the state departments of Human Services and Public Instruction.