The Story of the CORE Health Foundation
Eric Makowski learned from a very early age about discrimination towards individuals who are “different.” Born with no vision in his right eye, Eric never felt that he was different from other children. Upon entering kindergarten, however, he was relentlessly picked on and bullied for his deficits due to his vision loss. A few months after school started, a new kid joined the class—he had major burn scars on his face from a gas stove. This new classmate had problems with hearing loss, speech and vision, and he became the new fodder for the class bullies. Eric, however, had found a best friend.
It was at that young age that Eric realized that he wanted to work with people. He wasn’t sure yet how he could make a difference, but he knew that he wanted to bring about change. Throughout school he greatly enjoyed classes in anthropology, sociology and psychology and knew that he would need to learn to read and write effectively to make a difference for others. Volunteering in nursing homes and group homes, he began to realize how often people single out others’ differences, and he wanted to advocate for those who could not do so for themselves. It became his mission to help people feel that there are no barriers to their abilities.
For Jim Misko, Psy.D., a career in the field of rehabilitation was not a clear path from an early age. However, he knew that he wanted to focus on solving problems and helping people. At the age of 15, Jim’s mother passed away. This extreme loss allowed Jim to understand suffering and pain and enhanced his ability to communicate with others through their difficult experiences. He felt that he could really be in tune with others’ tragedies and use his skills as a problem solver to advocate making a difference in their lives.
Jim began college at Resselaer Polytechnic Institute, working toward a degree in computer engineering. He loved the intellectually stimulating work; however, he felt that he was missing a key interest: working with people. He changed colleges and began to study neuropsychology. His training led him to work in a variety of healthcare settings including ICU, acute care, long-term care and outpatient rehabilitation. He believes that his success in the field has come from an uncanny ability to put himself in the shoes of the families he works with and to provide comfort in stressful situations.
CORE Health Foundation
After working together for many years in healthcare, Eric and Jim found that they had become strong leaders in helping people navigate unusual situations. They have each worked tirelessly to ensure that families secure funding for treatment and access to community resources. They have surrounded themselves with a team of individuals with tremendous skill sets and the best of intentions. As Eric and Jim began to step back from the day-to-day operations at CORE Health Care, they found themselves devoting more time to projects that were close to their hearts. They created the CORE Health Foundation as a way to enhance their efforts helping patients and families affected by brain injuries through advocacy and research.
Over the years, Eric became very involved on the state level with the Brain Injury Association of Texas and lobbying for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services’ (DARS) Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services (CRS) funding for individuals with traumatic brain injury. Jim became involved on a national level as a member of the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of America and as Chairman of the Academy of Certified Brain Injury Specialists.
Combining a keen business sense with nurturing and inquisitive natures, Eric and Jim work tirelessly to help advocate for individuals. Now they hope to work with other like-minded individuals to fulfill the mission of the CORE Health Foundation.