Ten years ago in 2006 the American Burn Association (ABA) and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) organized the first State of Science (SOS) meeting in Washington, DC. Representatives from the burn community—healthcare practitioners, fire service professionals, researchers, and burn survivors, among others—came together to set priorities for burn research and practice. Phoenix Society brought to the table a broad national perspective and the ability to identify survivor and family advocates who could share their personal experiences, as well as those of the survivors and family members they support through the Phoenix SOAR (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery) program. In February 2016, the ABA and NIDILRR convened the second SOS Progress in Burn Research Acute and Rehabilitative Care meeting, read on to review the progress made in the last decade.
Captain Oscar Barrera was a long-time firefighter; after struggling through burn recovery alone, he came to realize that he needed help.
You come to know the value of peer support when you’re faced with a life changing injury. Peer support for burn survivors helps speed and strengthen recovery by offering hope at a challenging time, and the simple truth is that the sooner burn victims connect to resources and caring people, the sooner they can get back to living. Phoenix SOAR® (Survivors Offering Assistance in Recovery®) connects burn survivors to a community of people who share their experience. Mitch Dryer, burn survivor, peer supporter, and retired firefighter, shares his story in a compelling video testimonial. Watch for more featured stories in the coming weeks, of those who's lives have been impacted by Phoenix SOAR!
Discovering The Journey Back has benefited me in my role as a trainer for an "after the crisis" program (TECIP) as well as a Director of Student Services for a small school district. While I would never wish a traumatic event on anyone, we have learned that crisis does not discriminate. When I hear about a student who has suffered from a fire, I feel like The Journey Back has provided me a gift to deliver to that student and his/her family.
Growing up is hard work and every child copes differently with the social, emotional, and academic rigors of attending school. After a burn injury or traumatic loss, day-to-day challenges are compounded by additional stressors. Helping a child regain a sense of normalcy to their lives after burn injury and reconnect with their peer community is critical. School reentry is an important part of that process. Parents, teachers, guidance counselors or caring adults can get the information from The Journey Back to offer support.
Helping children regain a sense of normalcy to their lives after burn injury and a reconnection with their peer community prompted the development of The Journey Back school re-entry program several years ago. When I was a child life specialist, I had been asked several times to present a school re-entry program on very short notice and without much preparation on how to implement such a program. School re-entry programs can be instrumental to a child’s transition in healing and after learning that many other colleagues were challenged with the same task -- and many schools and families were desperately searching for help -- it motivated me to figure out how we could make this process easier.
Phoenix Society member involvement is crucial to research work. By bringing together the researchers, care providers, and burn survivors we have had the opportunity to not only understand the challenges in burn recovery but truly address them with interventions/programs that will promote the best outcomes for those with burn injuries.The size of the Phoenix Society membership enables us to address one of the greatest challenges within burn care research—obtaining the number of subjects needed to conduct valid research. The Phoenix Society clearly has a network of burn care providers, survivors, and family members with a breadth of experience and passion for this work that is unparalleled. We are currently working with our partners on several research projects that will benefit from your involvement. We ask that when you receive an invitation to take part, you consider the value of your voice, feel the empowerment, and understand the impact you may have on the future of burn care if you choose to participate. We may not be researchers, but we live with a burn injury every day. We hold the keys to what will help us live the fullest life possible.
Reg Richard is a world-renowned burn rehabilitation expert and generous supporter of the Phoenix Society. Reg was moved to make annual donations after his remarkable experience at Phoenix World Burn Congress 2007. You may have received a note from Reg that closed "Yours in Burn Rehab". That is because he believes we are all partners in burn recovery, and supporting the Phoenix Society is an important part of being a true partner in burn rehab that extends beyond the physical. Reg states "My support ensures everyone has the opportunity to be empowered in his or her recovery".
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