Tacoma and Puyallup Brain Injury Support Group (Schedule Change NEW): Beginning in September 2019, these two Puget Sound Washington support groups have new meeting times (locations remain the same). See flyer attached.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) impacts many populations; however, there is one population where the impact is especially significant.
In prisons, it is estimated that 40% to 60% of those incarcerated have experienced a brain injury. It has also been shown that those in the correctional system with a traumatic brain injury may experience behavioral, emotional, mental, and physical issues as a result of being in a correctional setting.
The results can impact the safety, wellness, and health of the incarcerated brain injury survivors, as well as those who work with these individuals in this kind of setting.
Washington State is looking to address this important issue with a dedicated multidisciplinary task force compromised of prison and re-entry representatives, heath services, community corrections, subject matter experts from the University of Washington, and other community organizations that support brain injury.
The task force is looking at means to create awareness, education, resources, tools, strategies and training for front line staff to effectively interact with those who have a traumatic brain injury.
The Brain Energy Support Team’s (BEST) own Jeff Hartson serves on this task force, lending his expertise in corrections, law enforcement and traumatic brain injury awareness and support.
“Using my experience as a correctional officer and the skills and training that I obtained during that time, help me to understand the correctional system and as line officer dealing with inmates on a one to one basis,” says Hartson. “It wasn’t until after I sustained my own TBI that I saw things in a different light as a TBI survivor and understanding the difficulties and daily challenges on what a TBI survivor has to go through.
So, I have learned to combine my experience as an officer and as a TBI survivor to help educate those that are working with inmates with brain injuries, and as well as staff that have a brain injury, on ways to help those that have had a TBI, as well as trying to improve on de-escalation skills and listening skills to better understand what a TBI survivor is going through.”
For Hartson, the most important aspect is safety when it comes to corrections and TBI.
“Being safe is paramount working as a correctional officer,” shares Hartson. “Having the skills and knowledge on how to work around inmates that have brain injuries can promote a safer working environment for all. It also improves inmate and staff relations so the prison can be a safer place to be for all.”
Click here to be connected to the University of Washington Traumatic Brain Injury in Corrections website. Here, you’ll learn more about the research, resources and facts on this critical topic.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is deeply honored to support veterans and their families.
And we also like to take every opportunity to offer our thanks and appreciation to our veteran community, today and every day.
Yesterday, BEST presented special handcrafted thank you cards for local veterans for the Pierce County Heroes to Hometown (H2H) organization in Tacoma, Washington. H2H works with a coalition of community partners to build community and establish support networks around our veterans and their loved ones.
BEST is honored to be one of the community support partners and wanted a personal and special way to share our appreciation to veterans.
BEST Veteran Appreciation project leads, BEST Board Director and Support Group Facilitator, Jeff Hartson, and BEST Gratitude Specialist and local artist, Diane Rasch, coordinated a team of BESTies to create the unique and special cards of thanks with a heartfelt message of thanks.
Several of these special cards from the BEST community are shown in the picture above.
Thank you Jeff, Diane and all the Tacoma-area BESTies who participated in this project.
Most of all, thank you to our veterans. We appreciate YOU!
Our BEST Superhero of the Month for March 2018 takes a passion for community service to a whole new level.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is delighted to announce that our latest BEST Superhero of the Month is Jeff Hartson.
Hartson serves in numerous roles as an energetic leader and supporter in the brain injury community. He is a BEST board director, brain injury support group facilitator, Washington State TBI Council member and a subject matter expert for various community projects that include law enforcement, emergency and disaster preparedness.
In Hartson’s personal life, he has over 30 years of experience in public service as a corrections officer, law enforcement officer, search and rescue team member and emergency medicine.
As a brain injury survivor, he often refers to himself as a brain injury thriver.
Here’s what Hartson’s nominator had to say about him:
I nominate Jeff Hartson, for the impact he’s making in so many arenas; he is making a difference in the brain injury community and in people’s lives.
Congratulations and BEST wishes to Jeff Hartson! We thank you for all that you do for the brain injury community and beyond.
Have a superhero in your life that you would like to share with us? Click here for our fast and easy process to nominate a superhero!
According to the Brain Energy Support Team’s Jeff Hartson, brain injury is prevalent in correctional facilities and the numbers of those affected to continue to grow. While estimates vary from facility to facility, traumatic brain injury (TBI) typically impacts from thirty to seventy percent of those incarcerated. Those individuals who have a TBI may experience significant and additional challenges in these kinds of settings.
A new project, Traumatic Brain Injuries in Corrections, is a collaborative effort with the University of Washington, the Washington State Department of Corrections and other participating entities, to assist front line correctional staff to understand the most effective ways to interact with people who have a TBI. The project team is working on creating brain injury training programs, resources and tools for correctional staff to utilize. In addition to corrections staff training, tools and resources that are being implemented, brain injury support group structures and other educational opportunities are being explored as well.
Hartson has been serving on the project as a subject matter expert, due to his vast professional and personal experience.
Hartson is a Brain Energy Support Team board director, brain injury support group facilitator and was recently appointed to serve on the Washington State TBI Council. Hartson’s previous professional experience in the public sector has prepared him well for his newest role: he has a combined thirty years of public service as a correctional officer, emergency medical technician, search and rescue team member, a role as a reserve sheriff’s department deputy and a volunteer firefighter. Hartson’s other recent projects have included providing subject matter expertise in brain injury awareness and education for disaster preparedness and local emergency preparedness efforts in Pierce County, Washington.
On the personal side, Hartson is also a brain injury survivor himself.
It’s with this foundation of experience and passion to serve his community that he can lend his support, ideas and energy to this critical project.
For Hartson, his participation has been deeply rewarding.
“Along with my role as a corrections officer for over 20 years, other experiences in public service, and now as a TBI survivor, I have taken my experiences and being a TBI ‘thriver,’ to help the team create and provide tools for the staff to work with to help them deal with de-escalation, crises and interactions with inmates who have TBI,” says Hartson.
“It’s been a great experience overall,” continues Hartson. “The interest has been phenomenal and there’s great comradery amongst the project participants.”
To learn more about the Traumatic Brain Injury in Corrections Project, please click here for more information.
The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is pleased to announce that Jeff Hartson was recently appointed to the Washington State TBI Advisory Council. Hartson, a BEST board director, support group coach, facilitator, law enforcement consultant and brain injury survivor, is passionate about serving and supporting the brain injury community.
With Hartson’s background in law enforcement and emergency medical services, he has offered critical information and insight about brain injuries to state emergency providers, disaster management planners and first responders. One of Hartson’s most recent efforts was presenting at a local disaster management summit over the summer.
In Hartson’s new role, he will share his expertise to address the needs and gaps in services for the Washington State brain injury community.
Our BEST congratulations, thanks and deep appreciation to Hartson for his dedication, hard work and support to our community and beyond.
BEST Director and Support Group Coach, Jeff Hartson, recently presented important information about brain injury and brain injury awareness at the 2017 Tacoma-Pierce County High Risk Populations Disaster Planning Summit at the Star Center in Tacoma, Washington on June 14, 2017. The summit was organized by the Pierce County High Risk Populations Disaster Planning Coalition, a coalition formed in 2007 that is comprised of interested agencies, organizations and individuals who are dedicated to serving the needs of vulnerable populations, before, during and after disasters.
Hartson presented in the Challenges in Communications segment of the summit. Traditional avenues of emergency messaging do not always fully address or relate to individuals with disabilities. Hartson shared valuable and important information about brain injury and brain injury awareness to help build education, understanding and to help support the refinement, development and enhancement of communications during a disaster to best support and inform. individuals with brain injury and their families.
For Hartson, it was a great experience to share information, connect with others and learn more.
“It was a very positive experience,” says Hartson. “It was a great opportunity to educate people about brain injuries and other disabilities that people don’t hear enough about.”
Many thanks to Jeff Hartson for his terrific community representation at this event.
BEST Board Member, Support Group Facilitator and Law Enforcement Consultant, Jeff Hartson, recently presented at the Pierce County Functional Assessment Service Teams (FAST) team event. FAST is a collaborative effort between the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management, Pierce County Community Connections and TACID (Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities). The program was designed to meet the needs of people with access and functional needs of the Washington State area during disasters.
Hartson’s educational presentation centered around brain injury awareness and working with individuals with brain injuries.
Hartson is the founder and owner of JPH Consulting, a consultation firm that specializes in bringing brain injury and law enforcement together. He served as a corrections officer for two decades. He also served as an emergency medical technician and a reserve deputy sheriff, each for 10 years.
For more information on JPH Consulting, please contact Jeff Hartson at email@example.com.