Brain injury awareness, treatment and recovery are focus of virtual conference

LuWanna Lawrence and Heather Steffl

BISMARCK – Brain injuries can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time. They can affect a person’s ability to think and solve problems; move and speak, or control behavior, emotion and reactions. The 10th annual Mind Matters virtual conference on March 25-26 will showcase new research, trends and innovative approaches to caring for individuals living with brain injuries. An entire day will be dedicated to learning about brain injuries caused by strokes.

On March 25, local and regional experts will cover topics on yoga and meditation for brain injuries, recognizing brain injuries as chronic health conditions and using a virtual care platform to promote learning following a brain injury. Dr. Dmitry Esterov will present on Mayo Clinic’s Knowledge Translation Center at 2:30 p.m. A survivor panel discussion will be held from 3:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Sandi Gruhot, a stroke survivor, will share her inspirational story with attendees starting at 8:30 a.m. on March 26. The day will include various stroke-related sessions including driving after a brain injury, stroke recovery therapy and neurorehabilitation following a stroke. Four additional mini sessions will explore alternative treatments for brain injuries, the recently approved North Dakota Medicaid 1915(i) State Plan Amendment, assistive technology and the University of North Dakota’s Performance and Recovery in Stroke (P.A.R.I.S.) group that provides conversation and literacy support to stroke survivors.          

Online registrations will be accepted until March 24 at 5 p.m. CT. The registration fee for the two-day virtual conference is $25 for students and brain injury survivors and their family members and $125 for other participants. Continuing education hours are available for select professions.

Individuals who need accommodations to participate should contact Carly Endres at 701-777-8004 or For more details or a schedule of events, visit

The conference is sponsored by the North Dakota Brain Injury Network and the North Dakota Department of Human Services. The department, through its Behavioral Health Division, is the designated lead agency for coordinating services to individuals with brain injuries and their families.

K. William Boyer is the Managing Editor of the Devils Lake News Journal. He can be reached at, or by phone at (701) 662-2127.  

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