The Hawaii Neurotrauma Special Fund
For people living with spinal cord injuries in Hawaii, the Neurotrauma Special Fund is one of the best resources available. Created in 2002 by the Hawaii state legislature, they mandated that the state’s Department of Health develop a comprehensive system to support and provide services for survivors of paralysis, ie, neurotrauma injuries (brain injuries, strokes and spinal cord injuries in the state.
Over the last 18 years, this fund has been collecting a minimum $10 surcharge (and more, up to $250) on traffic violations, such as speeding, drunken driving and not wearing a seat belt. Many of these violations lead to a spinal cord injury or a brain injury, hence this surcharge going to recipients of the Neurotrauma Special Fund. This fund has approximately $600,000 annually deposited into it from various traffic-related fines. Read on to learn exactly where this fund money is spent to help those injured.
What Does the Fund Cover?
The Neurotrauma Special Fund first and foremost is 100% dedicated to providing education on neurotrauma injuries to the community. These means educating the public, as well as those with injuries, on neurotrauma prevention and general information about how these injuries affect humans. Secondly, the trust fund connects injured individuals as well as organizations with funding for services they may need. Services and organizations available on each island are organized and shared on their site under “Resources.”
Conference funding is a large aspect of the funding this trust fund provides. Grant amounts over $50,000 can be awarded to large conferences focused on neurotrauma, as well as requests under $50,000 (requests below and above $50,000 have different deadlines see here https://health.hawaii.gov/nt/neurotrauma-special-fund/). Helmet requests by individuals and organizations are another popular service provided by the Neurotrauma Special Fund. And lastly, the trust fund disperses grants to spinal cord injury research and brain injury research.
Lastly, when the fund was created it was tasked with creating a registry of individuals with neurotrauma injuries in Hawaii. Registry lists of those injured are one of the most common components of similar publicly-funded trust funds in other states. These lists allow these programs to get a better understand of the depth of need of those with neurotrauma injuries and how the funds can be best spent.
Staff members work on distributing materials at various statewide events, such as senior fairs, neighborhood board meetings, sports festivals, Boys and Girls Clubs meetings, wellness fairs, and support groups. Signing up for this registry is completely voluntary.
How to Apply
There is a specific procedure all must follow for Hawaii Neurotrauma Special Fund requests. You must complete your form in full and it must be approved by the Department of Health at least 10 working days before the Neurotrauma board needs. Also, if you need funding for a conference, you must admit your request three months before the event.
For amounts less than $50,000 requested, the form must be sent at least six months in advance of the desired start date. And for requests that are over $50,000, they must be requested one year before they are needed. Applying on-time is required, but it does not automatically mean your request will be approved. Click here for the forms (located at the bottom of the page): https://health.hawaii.gov/nt/neurotrauma-special-fund/ or here https://health.hawaii.gov/nt/files/2019/09/Neurotrauma_Special_Fund_Request_Form.pdf
For more information about the Hawaii Neurotrauma Special \Fund, a downloadable brochure is also available with highlights of the program. You can find that here https://health.hawaii.gov/nt/files/2018/05/Neurotrama-Supports_-August-2017.FINAL_.press_.pdf
- Official page for the Neurotrauma Special Fund https://health.hawaii.gov/nt/
- Hawaii Neurotrauma Registry https://www.hntrsurvey.com/
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