Community Champions

Scott McDowell Program Coordinator, REM Iowa
Grant Recipient, Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa

Scott McDowell has been facilitating the Beginning Again Survivor Group in Cedar Rapids, Iowa for the past three years for individuals with brain injury who live independently. This support group is sponsored by the Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa whose mission is to create a better future through brain injury prevention, advocacy, education, research, and support. Twice a month he organizes either a social or educational opportunity for the participants of the support group. The group, consisting of 15-25 members, may go out to eat, attend a play or move, learn cooking or gardening skills, or learn about self-advocacy.

“Scott has a deep passion for individuals with brain injury and wants to give them every opportunity possible to be part of their communities,” said Susanna Streng, Business Development Director, REM Iowa. “Without this support group some of these individuals may not have the opportunity to connect with their communities, learn new life skills, or socialize with others that truly understand their experiences.”

Many of the members who attend the support group utilize wheelchairs so accessible transportation is a necessity. Scott has worked tirelessly to foster good relationships with local transportation companies to ensure that each member is picked up and dropped off safely and in a timely manner. The increase in number of members that now attend this group reflects Scott’s work with the transportation companies over the years.

Scott also frequents the Iowa State Capitol to lobby for issues for brain injury and serves on a board that fights for greater regulations for high school athletes who incur concussions.

“They need people to fight for them,” said Scott. “If people don’t speak up and speak out then nothing will change. I am motivated to give so much of my time to this cause because I can see that we can make a difference in the lives of individuals with brain injury. I will talk to anyone about issues of brain injury to change legislation.”

To learn more about Brain Injury Alliance of Iowa please visit their website at