2024 Pushor Mitchell LLP West Coast Brain Injury Conference

May 3, 2024

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2024 Pushor Mitchell LLP West Coast Brain Injury Conference

June 11 @ 8:00 am 5:00 pm

The Pushor Mitchell LLP West Coast Brain Injury Conference (WCBIC) 2024 will bring together inspiring change-makers and leading minds in the field of brain injury, public health, and politics for a full day of collaboration, dialogue, and learning.

In line with this year’s conference theme, “Brain Injury Breakthroughs: Current Issues and Emerging Solutions”, our focus is to explore the nexus of brain injury with crucial frameworks such as health, governance, and societal fairness and inclusion. Through insightful discussions, we will examine the criminal justice and healthcare systems from a current perspective and provide understanding into the possibilities that can be enhanced through community partnerships and research informed strategies.

By participating as an attendee, sponsor, or exhibitor, you’ll be actively supporting our endeavor to utilize the strength of community and collaboration to uplift individuals affected by brain injury who often face systemic challenges.

We invite you to join us for this significant and pioneering community gathering. Together, we’re confident that we can foster a community that is fair, compassionate, and inclusive for everyone.

Brain Injury Breakthroughs:
Current Issues and Emerging Solutions

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Sponsorship & Exhibitor Prospectus

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Contact us at [email protected]



Dr. Angela Colantonio

This presentation will focus on the highlights of a major research program focused on traumatic brain injury in underserved populations in Canada with a sex and gender lens. This will include findings from recently published systematic reviews on rehabilitation for individuals with brain injury relevant to the context of homelessness, the criminal legal system and gender based violence. Resources for these populations will be discussed. The session provides a forum for knowledge exchange among participants with the goal of addressing inequities in underserved populations.

In the Heat of the Moment: Emotion Management Research to Reduce Anger after Brain Injury
Dr. Jade Witten

Uncontrollable anger is a common and serious consequence of acquired brain injury (ABI), affecting the individual and their loved ones. Dr. Jade Witten’s talk will discuss the complications and long-term impacts of ABI, including changes to personality, mental health, and cognition. She will then describe evidence-based practical ways for people with ABI to manage daily situations of anger. Jade will also highlight the clinical implications of her research, and make suggestions for future directions in the field.

Beyond a Single Event: Understanding Traumatic Brain Injury as a Chronic Health Condition
Michelle McDonald

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a growing health crisis, impacting millions of Canadians with far-reaching implications on the physical, cognitive, emotional, and socioeconomic well-being of individuals, families, and communities. Mounting evidence reveals that moderate to severe TBI can manifest as a persistent, evolving health condition, giving rise to enduring health challenges and psychosocial complications across the lifespan. This presentation will: review the intersectional nature of brain injury; provide the rationale and benefits for classifying moderate to severe TBI as a chronic condition within Canada’s healthcare system; outline global efforts for a chronic designation for TBI that will align Canadian health policy with emerging global standards and facilitate international collaboration in research, policy development, and public health initiatives; and, most importantly highlight how this designation will lead to a future where the needs of individuals and families are acknowledged, supported, and integrated into comprehensive care frameworks.

Meeting of the Minds: Uniting Efforts to Address Brain Injury Across Government Levels and Bill C-277
Janelle Breese Biagioni

Join Janelle Breese Biagioni, a longstanding brain injury advocate, clinical counsellor, and CEO of the CGB Centre for Traumatic Life Losses, for an enlightening presentation titled “Meeting of the Minds: Uniting Efforts to Address Brain Injury Across Government Levels and Bill C277.”

During this session, Janelle will highlight the critical intersections of brain injury and the necessity for collaboration among all levels of government to address the challenges faced by individuals affected by brain injury. Get ready for an exciting update as Janelle unveils the latest developments in the 125 Days to Say Yes! campaign and outlines plans for phase two of this advocacy tool, set to unfold from September to December 2024.

Learn how every individual in Canada can contribute to the development of a National Strategy on Brain Injury as she leads the discussion on uniting efforts to address brain injury across all levels of government.

The Road to Recovery Initiative: An Overview of Innovations in Substance Use Care Aimed at Supporting Patients with Brain Injuries
Dr. Brittany Dennis

This session will provide an overview of the Road to Recovery Initiative, an innovate model of care being implemented within Providence Health Care, which seeks to address two aspects of BC’s substance use crisis through 1) increasing access to on-demand addiction care; and 2) reorganizing existing clinical services to support patients at every phase of recovery. This session will go further to describe the unique ways the Road to Recovery Initiative seeks to address the needs of patients with brain injuries. This presentation will offer real-world examples that illustrate the tangible impact of the Road to Recovery in transforming lives through breaking down barriers and supporting patients with brain injuries to secure access to the appropriate and necessary recovery-based services.

Dr. Angela Colantonio, PhD, OT. Reg. (Ont.)

Canada Research Chair in TBI in Underserved Populations, Professor and Director, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Temerty Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto, Senior Scientist, KITE-Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, Adjunct Scientist, ICES

Dr. Angela Colantonio is the Director of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is also senior scientist at the KITE Research Institute Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-UHN. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine, and the American College of Epidemiology. She received her PhD in epidemiology and public health from Yale University and has a MHSc in Community Health and BSc in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto.

Dr. Colantonio holds a Canada Research Chair in Traumatic Brain Injury in Underserved Populations. She currently co-leads an internationally recognized program of research on acquired brain injury (www.abiresearch.utoronto.ca) with diverse foci on women, sex and gender considerations, work-related traumatic brain injury, and brain injuries in underserved populations, such as women survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), individuals who intersect with the criminal legal system and persons who are vulnerably housed/homeless.

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Dr. Jade Witten, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy | Faculty of Medicine | University of British Columbia, GF Strong Rehabilitation Research Program

Dr. Jade Witten is a postdoctoral research fellow in the CEDAR Lab (Collaborative Evidence: Developing Awareness and Research for Brain Injury) at the University of British Columbia and in the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. She is a neuropsychologist by background (registered in South Africa), and completed her PhD in Psychology at Bangor University in the UK. Jade’s PhD research implemented emotion management tools to reduce frustration and anger for people with acquired brain injury (ABI) living in the community. Jade is committed to neurorehabilitation research that aims to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of people with ABI and their families.

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Michelle McDonald

CEO, Brain Injury Canada

Michelle is an accomplished non-profit professional with over two decades of experience working in the sector in both Toronto and Ottawa. She brings a wealth of knowledge to any role she undertakes and has a proven record of growth in both revenue and reach for small organizations. As Chief Executive Officer of Brain Injury Canada, she has led the organization in a new strategic direction solidifying its position as a credible information source, knowledge mobilizer and ally for those with lived experience, families, the healthcare/service provider community, as well as the medical and research community. In addition to managing day-to-day operations, she also oversees the development of all Brain Injury Canada’s education and awareness programs, as well as advocacy initiatives. Her demonstrated focus on collaboration and partnerships gives her the ability to look at the big picture, but also all the moving parts and how they fit together effectively and efficiently. She currently sits on the Executive Committee for the Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium, the Accessibility Advisory Committee for the Canadian Transportation Safety Agency, the Executive Committee for the Canadian Concussion Network and is Co-Chair of the Governing Council for Neurological Health Charities Canada. Past roles include Executive Director at the Brain Injury Society of Toronto and in Health Promotion at the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. Past committee involvement includes Toronto ABI Network Planning Advisory Committee, Toronto ABI Network Concussion Task Force and Ontario Advisory Council (OAC) for the Ontario Acquired Brain Injury Community Associations.

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Janelle Breese Biagioni

CEO & Founder, CGB Centre for Traumatic Life Losses

With over three decades of dedicated experience in trauma and brain injury advocacy, Janelle Breese Biagioni brings a wealth of personal and professional insight to her work. As the CEO of the CGB Centre for Traumatic Life Losses and a clinical counsellor, she spearheads initiatives aimed at providing support to individuals affected by trauma and loss, particularly survivors and their families grappling with the repercussions of brain injury.

In her advocacy role, Janelle serves as the Community Lead for the BC Consensus on Brain Injury, Mental Health, and Addiction. Notably, she played a pivotal role in shaping Bill C-277, advocating for the establishment of a National Strategy on Brain Injury Act at the federal level.

Driven by her extensive experience and unwavering dedication, Janelle is deeply committed to effecting positive change and raising awareness for those impacted by brain injury and associated challenges.

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Dr. Brittany Dennis, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Clinician Scientist, British Columbia Centre on Substance Use, Addiction Medicine Physician, St. Paul’s Hospital, Providence Health Care

Dr. Brittany Dennis MBBS, PhD is a clinician scientist with training in general internal medicine and an area of focused competency in addiction medicine. She currently holds academic appointments as a full-time Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Social Medicine at the University of British Columbia and part-time Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine – Adjunct at McMaster University. She joins the British Columbia Center on Substance Use as a Clinician Scientist, with protected time from her role as an attending physician in Providence Health Care’s (PHC) Division of Addiction. Dr. Dennis has been awarded the 2023 Michael Smith Health Research BC/BCCSU Partnered Scholar award to support her leadership role on the research evaluation of the Road to Recovery Initiative. Dr. Dennis’ program of research within the BCCSU includes a collection of studies investigating emerging treatments and novel models of substance use care.

Prior to her undergraduate medical training at the University of London (MBBS), she completed a PhD in health research methodology at McMaster University. To establish capacity in large-data base analytics she received post-doctoral training at Stanford University, the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), and through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Research in Addiction Medicine Scholars Program (Boston and Yale University). Dr. Dennis has been an important contributor to 100 peer-reviewed publications, 20 national and international presentations, an expert panel for Canada’s 2023 national guidance on opioids for chronic non-cancer pain, and a textbook chapter on opioid use disorder.

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Delta Grand Okanagan Resort – Conference Centre

Kelowna, BC

Delta Grand Okanagan Resort
1310 Water Street
Kelowna, BC V1Y 9P3


About the Area



WCBIC 2024 takes place in Kelowna, BC – the entry point to the breathtaking Okanagan Valley. Nestled in the Southern Interior of British Columbia, this area is renowned for its vineyards and fruit farms. Kelowna, the primary urban center, graces the picturesque shores of Okanagan Lake.

Tourism Kelowna


Discover the charm of Kelowna by indulging in its thriving culinary landscape. Embark on an adventure with a food or winery tour, or consult Tourism Kelowna’s guide for suggestions on some of our preferred dining establishments.



Kelowna is synonymous with year-round excitement! Whether you’re immersing yourself in the natural wonders of the valley or seeking indoor adventures, there’s an abundance of activities to suit every taste!