Area Brain Injury Round Table (PABIR) started in 1996. The group first came together with help from its predecessor, the Northern
Alliance of Brain Injury survivors & service providers (NABI).
NABI had been meeting on the Iron Range for
about 6 years. This group was affiliated with the MN Brain Injury Association (formerly the MN Head Injury Association). NABI
had sponsored several well attended regional trainings for professionals, survivors of brain injury and interested others.
By 1996 this group had worn itself out and had decided to disband. Before disbanding they hoped to find a good use for their
profits from past trainings. Three NABI member organizations volunteered to try to launch a Duluth - Superior ports area group
interested in supporting brain injury understanding in the region. NABI members hoped that the larger, less geographically
dispersed Duluth-Superior community could better sustain the work that NABI had started. A three person NABI committee was
formed to work on this new ports area venture. This committee was made up of Laurie Berner of the Epilepsy League, Scott Anderson
of the NE MN Center for Independent Living, & Mary Enge of the NE MN office of the Department of Human Services -Traumatic
Brain Injury Program. An informational lunch at Fitgers was planned using funds from NABI, a supporting gift from the Miller
Dwan Medical Center and support from other regional organizations.
Approximately 50 people came together for the
luncheon in Duluth. Fran Conklin from the MN Brain Injury Association keynoted the event. Representatives from each attending
organization introduced themselves and explained how their organization connected with people living with a brain injury.
A common theme of the lunch was quickly established - attendees were all surprised to meet so many agencies in the area serving
people with brain injuries. Agreement was reached to continue to meet. Initially the purpose of each meeting was to find out
more about locally available services for people living with brain injury.
Each bi-monthly meeting held in 1997
and 1998 was hosted by a different Duluth area agency and included a tour or presentation about the host agency. In these
years the group adopted the Ports Area Brain Injury (PABIR) name and developed its current mission statement.
continues to contribute to the Ports area and all of northern Minnesota & Wisconsin in much the same way as its predecessor
had in the early 1990s. PABIR sponsors at least one conference every two years for people interested in knowing more about
brain injury. Over the years PABIR has both sponsored and collaborated with other agencies to provide information about brain
injury & to support brain injury prevention activities in the region. PABIR continues to be an invaluable resource to
people with brain injury, their families, service providers and the community.