“To create a better future for those impacted by brain injury through awareness, support, advocacy, community engagement, and prevention.”
“A world where all preventable brain injuries are prevented, all unpreventable brain injuries are minimized, and all individuals who have experienced brain injury maximize their quality of life.”
History of BIAMT
There were three known support groups meeting around the state on an irregular basis. A core group of eight individuals dedicated themselves to forming a state organization for the benefit of brain injury survivors and their families throughout Montana. Angela and Jim Spall and Maria Nyberg of Helena, Ty and Scotty MacLeod of Billings, Joyce Steele of Great Falls, Jim Malloy of Bozeman, and Heather Joern of Kalispell. The group of individuals met in Helena in 1985, worked diligently, and dedicated the time, money, and love needed to start a statewide organization.
The Montana Head Injury Foundation was officially formed with an eight-member Board of Directors. It also quickly became a chartered and affiliated organization of the National Head Injury Foundation. After this occurred, the organization evolved rapidly.
The organization’s first educational conference was held in Billings, Montana. The conference brought together members of the brain injury community to network, provide peer-to-peer support, and share knowledge.
The growth of the organization led the office to move from Ty and Scotty MacLeod’s garage to an office at Eastern Montana College where it was staffed by volunteers and a graduate assistant. The toll-free number was established.
The office was moved to Missoula and resided on the University of Montana campus. The organization continued to develop and expand under the guidance of the board of directors.
The organization participated in an implementation grant of the Resource Facilitation Service, now called the Brain Injury Help Line. Initially engaging five hospitals in the referral process, we were able to connect with patients early in their recovery.
Further development resulted in the organization joining the United States Brain Injury Alliance as a member affiliate.
The Brain Injury Alliance of Montana worked closely with Senator Anders Blewett and the Governor’s Advisory Council on Traumatic Brain Injury to bring the Dylan Steigers Protection of Youth Athletes Act to the 63rd Session of the Montana Legislature. Many parents, coaches, physicians, and athletes shared their message, and in April 2013, Governor Bullock signed the bill into law.
Meet Our Members
Brain Injury Alliance of Montana Staff
John Bigart III
John joined BIAMT in November 2016. John has a strong and diverse professional background. He has served on a number of boards for local nonprofits, is an elected mayor, and is an entrepreneur in the corporate world. John’s experience and passion support BIAMT’s mission in areas of fund development, engagement with community leaders, and participation in policy and legislative matters. Born and raised in Montana, John spends as much time as possible with his family in the beautiful outdoors.
Hannah joined BIAMT in October of 2023. Hannah is an involved member of the Missoula community, dedicating many hours to local nonprofits as both a volunteer and board member. With an educational background in psychology and social work, and professional experience in crisis intervention services, Hannah has a diverse set of skills that support the mission of BIAMT. In her free time, Hannah enjoys spending time in nature with her partner and beloved dog.
Kevin is a retired athlete, who suffered from a Traumatic Brian Injury in a rollover accident and saved by his Brittany Spaniel in 2014. Also a recent heart attack victim, yet Kevin stays active in the Outdoors with Flyfishing, Bowhunting and Canoeing. His own recovery efforts led him to Brain Injury Alliance, where he shared his own TBI story, while learning of hundreds more and spreading BIA’ s Mission to all those Victims impacted in Big Sky Country. Kevin also rec’d his Dept of Labor Certificate for training Service Canines to place with disabled Veterans across the Country .
Brain Injury Alliance of Montana Board of Directors
Dana Henkel, Esq.
Board Vice President
Healthcare Professional — Joined 2020
Neuroscience Operations Sr. Manager
TBI Survivor — Joined 2020
Exercise Science with focus in neurology and cardiology.
Family Member of Survivor — Joined 2020
Cabinet Designer, Direct Source MT
M.S., CCC-SLP — Joined 2023
Ben Olson, DC
Healthcare Professional- Joined 2020
Mother of TBI Survivor — Joined 2020
Pre School owner, advocate
Michael Crews, CCC-SLP.
Healthcare Professional —
Speech Language Pathologist
TBI Survivor – Joined 2021
Family Member of Survivor – Joined 2021
April Ildvad, MA
TBI Survivor – Joined 2021
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor
Former college football player, concussion awareness advocate, marketing professional