It’s impossible to separate the history of this organization from its founder’s experience and vision. With over 30 years of experience, Gail Pascoe has worked tirelessly for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) prevention and improved care for survivors. TBI is a blow to the head which causes damage to the brain. It is known as “concussion” in its milder, more temporary form. Long before TBI entered public awareness as the signature wound of the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars, Pascoe worked with and advocated for this prevalent yet underserved population.
As a registered nurse in the 1970s she observed that many brain injuries were improperly diagnosed and did not receive appropriate care. She began to educate the public, social work and healthcare establishments, schools, and legislators, who were unaware of the millions of people affected by TBI. Gail became a Marriage & Family Therapist providing counseling and psychotherapy for individuals and families. In 1999 a dream came to fruition as Gail and her colleague, Lynn Figueiredo founded Making Headway, a nonprofit organization—the only facility of its kind within 300 miles of San Francisco, California and 400 miles of Portland, Oregon.
Making Headway Center for Brain Injury Recovery continues to provide TBI counseling, case management, prevention services, support groups, classes, and services to veterans. Pascoe’s work helps thousands in an isolated rural area where low median income and inadequate insurance coverage are common. Efforts to recognize her are met with humility, grace and her well-known humorous touch of dismissal.
Making Headway is the result of Gail’s vision, hard work, and her ability to give voice and understanding to a growing and stigmatized population, and for that she will be very much missed. We wish her a long and happy retirement and hope that with her vision, we can carry on the very important work here at Making Headway.