NaBITA was founded in 2009 by TNG Partners Brett Sokolow and W. Scott Lewis, both of whom remain active with the association. Brett serves as Founder and Advisory Board Chair and Scott is both a NaBITA Advisory Board Member and a lead trainer for NaBITA.
After the shootings at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University in 2007, TNG’s CUBIT model for intervention teams became very popular. Scott and Brett traveled the country, helping to establish and train more than 800 teams between 2007-2009. As the number of teams grew to a critical mass, Brett and his wife Cori (then head of sales/marketing for TNG) were brainstorming how to popularize BITs as live-saving mechanisms beyond the limited audience Brett and Scott could reach each year. Cori came up with the idea of a not-for-profit association, where the ideas could be disseminated without cost, where teams could share with each other, and professional development could be institutionalized.
Despite only having three employees at the time, Brett ran with the idea, and NaBITA was launched. The idea was that TNG would seed the resources needed to start NaBITA, as a way to give back to the field that was so receptive to hiring Scott and Brett for training. While there was every intention to spin NaBITA off independently of TNG, to be member-run, early efforts to encourage that level of member involvement did not gain traction.
At the same time, TNG was growing and learning that the agility of a proprietary association had its merits. With new employees, TNG could sustain its management of NaBITA. Today, NaBITA is a bit of a hybrid in its management. TNG manages the association by agreement, and consults an Advisory Board on decisions of significance affecting the business of the association. Each year, NaBITA elects its president from the advisory board membership. This model has worked to be inclusive of membership voices while also keeping NaBITA from being bogged down by a ponderous bureaucracy.
In 2017, Brett Sokolow stepped back from daily management of the association, appointing Brian Van Brunt as Executive Director. Brian had joined NaBITA in 2012, and quickly became its star trainer. Brian took the body of knowledge as originally conceived by Scott and Brett, and built upon and greatly expanded it with a broad team of industry experts. The NaBITA Threat Assessment Tool was joined by companion, empirically-based assessment instruments, including the ERIS, VRAW-2, SIVRA-35, and DD-12.
Today, NaBITA is the leading association for behavioral intervention teams. With 1,550 members, NaBITA has grown steadily every year since 2009. It offers an annual conference, a regional West Coast conference, an annual case management summit, and multiple certification course offerings for teams throughout the year. NaBITA’s library of publications and resources is vast, and it continues to innovate to keep teams at the leading edge of violence prevention, mental health resources, and effective intervention mechanisms.