APTS Recognizes WETA for BrainLine, a Multimedia Project Focusing on Preventing, Treating and Living with Traumatic Brain Injury

WASHINGTON— April 4, 2011 — The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) recognized WETA today with a 2011 EDGE Award for BrainLine, an ambitious national project offering information and resources about preventing, treating, and living with traumatic brain injury (TBI). BrainLine includes a deep, video-rich website (BrainLine.org), an extensive social media effort, and a broad public outreach campaign in partnership with national organizations concerned about TBI. The EDGE Awards are presented annually to public television stations that use digital technology, groundbreaking partnerships and educational technologies to deliver innovative services to their communities. WETA-TV-FM is the flagship public broadcasting service in Washington, D.C.

“I am proud to present a 2011 EDGE Award to WETA for BrainLine, a critical project fulfilling a vital public health need of our country. In the best tradition of public broadcasting, WETA is using their scarce resources to provide a health care service that simply is not being done by anyone else,” said Patrick Butler, President and CEO of APTS. “This innovative project shows how local public television and radio stations have moved beyond traditional broadcast to engage their communities in new and innovative ways. WETA’s close collaboration with the Department of Defense makes this project stand out in the world of public broadcasting.”

“As a public media organization pursuing an educational mission, WETA continually seeks innovative ways to serve the American people,” said Sharon Percy Rockefeller, president & CEO of WETA. “Brainline.org is a superb example of how technology can help us bring important resources to a constituency in need of information, particularly the country’s wounded servicemen and servicewomen.”

Traumatic brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability among people between the ages of 15 and 35. According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year an estimated 1.7 million Americans sustain a TBI, mostly from falls, car crashes and sports injuries—and of those injured 52,000 die and another 275,000 are hospitalized. More than 5.3 million Americans are living with long-term disability as the result of a brain injury. Now their ranks are swelling as a result of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. TBI has been called the “signature wound” of those wars, and a Rand study in 2008 estimated that more than 320,000 service members have sustained a brain injury in the course of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.) said: “BrainLine has become a vital part of the brain injury community. In keeping with the history of public broadcasting, WETA has taken a complex issue and translated it for a national audience. They have demonstrated their ability and willingness to work with the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and the Defense Centers of Excellence to reach both the military and civilian communities. As more wounded warriors return home, the need for a project like BrainLine only increases.”

Noel Gunther, executive director of BrainLine, said: “A brain injury can affect everything that makes us human — our ability to think, to work, to remember, and to connect with family and friends. With BrainLine, we’re creating an online community for people with brain injury, their family members, and the professionals who work with them.”

Just two years after its launch, BrainLine offers more than 600 articles, more than 200 video clips, and more than 100 personal stories from people with brain injuries and their families. WETA has built vibrant social media channels on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, where BrainLine now has more than 40,000 followers.

BrainLine is funded primarily by the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center througha contract with the Henry M. Jackson Foundation. Government funding support is not an endorsement of WETA or any of its products, including BrainLine.org.

About APTS
The Association of Public Television Stations (APTS) is a nonprofit membership organization established in 1979. The mission of APTS is to conduct - in concert with member stations - advocacy, planning, research and communications activities in order to achieve strong and financially sound noncommercial television and advanced digital services for the American people. APTS provides leadership and information to help our members better accomplish their own missions and goals. APTS promotes the legislative and regulatory interests of noncommercial television stations at the national level through direct advocacy, and grasstops and grassroots campaigns designed to garner congressional support. For more information, visit www.apts.org.

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