Wanda Gardner-Slater, Director of Spiritual Care at Regional One Health, was appointed by Governor Bill Haslam to the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Advisory Council.
The Traumatic Brain Injury Program was established in May 1993 by the Tennessee General Assembly in order that the special needs of survivors of brain injuries and their families could be addressed. The legislation authorized the Department of Health to establish the program and to designate a TBI Coordinator to oversee its implementation.
The legislation defined several objectives for the TBI Program, the first of which was the establishment of an Advisory Council to advise the TBI Coordinator in developing program policies and procedures, make recommendations, and perform other duties as might be necessary to implement a state-wide TBI plan. The council has nine members who are appointed by the Governor.
Governor Halsam recently appointed Wanda Gardner-Slater to the TBI Advisory Council representing the TBI community in West Tennessee. She has two driving forces that give her a unique perspective and insight into the day-to-day challenges both brain injury survivors and their families face following a TBI. Her eldest son, now 23, was 2 days shy of his 6th birthday when he was involved in a significant motor vehicle crash and his TBI was misdiagnosed. Many wanted to label him as “slow”, “mentally handicapped,” or “low functioning.” He has since graduated college and is in graduate school but still struggles with reading and having his accommodations realized and accepted. The second driving force behind her strong interest in TBI is her daughter. At one week after her 15th birthday, she experienced a stroke resulting in partial blindness in her left leg that, as she puts it, that does not always cooperate and PTSD. She is now in college with accommodations and a lighter class load than most second semester freshmen.
Wanda’s personal experience with TBI makes her willing to serve in this important capacity and she will be a valuable asset to the TBI Advisory Council.