Community brain injury associations and researchers are working together to navigate the current and future pandemic landscape: The Brain Injury Pandemic Preparedness (BIPP) project
The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for many of the over 1.5 million Canadians who live with brain injury and their caregivers/families. Community brain injury associations were visionary during the pandemic, quickly adapting to meet the needs of Canadians affected by brain injury. However, two major problems emerged: (1) there was limited information sharing and collaborative partnerships between associations and researchers across Canada; and (2) over-time people have started to forget what happened, what they did, and what did (not) work well. This has resulted in decreased preparedness for the remainder of this pandemic and future ones. Early in this pandemic, association executive directors and researchers began to talk about the issues facing associations and Canadians affected by brain injury. Out of these discussions came the Brain Injury Pandemic Preparedness (BIPP) project, with the aim of optimizing community pandemic strategies. The BIPP project team includes executive directors from Brain Injury Canada and six provincial associations and researchers from four provinces. This 2-year nationally funded project aims to connect Canadian brain injury associations and co-create a pandemic preparedness resource. At this presentation, aimed at people affected by brain injury, researchers, and service providers, the BIPP project team will discuss how this project developed, project methods, lessons learned about community association and academic partnership, and initial project findings. This project is facilitating connections to navigate the landscape of brain injury in a pandemic context. It is imperative to learn now from our experiences to prepare for the future—before we all forget.