2009 Conference Speaker Bios

by biacadmin on May 29, 2009


Mélanie AndréMélanie André
Melanié is currently wrapping up her 2nd and final year as a M.Sc. student in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto where she is also part of the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience. She received her B.Sc. Honours degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from Laurentian University in May 2007.
She is also working as a Research Assistant for a project on community reintegration for people with traumatic brain injury at the Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied Research Unit, Baycrest. Her M.Sc. research focuses on strategy use in the acquired brain injury population.

Dr. Anthony AritaDr. Anthony Arita
Tony is a Commander in the US Navy and is currently the Director of the Clearinghouse, Outreach, & Advocacy Directorate at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury. Dr. Arita completed his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Kentucky and was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy in 1994. He was one of the first psychologists to be assigned to an aircraft carrier, USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70), in 1998. He has also served tours at Naval Medical Center, San Diego; Naval Medical Clinic, Pearl Harbor; National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, MD, and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at UCLA. He has served in temporary assignments at Detention Hospital, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and at Naval Hospital, Okinawa. Among his military awards are the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, and Navy Achievement Medal. Dr. Arita has worked with a wide range of clinical populations with psychological health and neuropsychological concerns. He has also provided consultation and training on issues related to interpersonal violence, threat assessment, personality assessment, and operational psychology. He has co-authored several research articles and is a consulting editor for the journal, Psychological Services.

Rob BeattyRob Beatty (Regina, Saskatchewan)
A survivor of a Traumatic Brain Injury when he was 15, Rob has worked in Emergency Services as a Fire Fighter and with EMS – and has first-hand experience with the unspeakable effects a brain injury can have on relationships, family, work, and life in general.

Dr. Carolina BottariDr. Carolina Bottari (Montreal, Canada)
Dr. Bottari is a registered occupational therapist with extensive clinical experience working with individuals with a traumatic brain injury. She completed her doctoral degree in biomedical sciences (rehabilitation option) at University of Montreal. She is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. Her research is focused on the development and validation of real-world observation-based measures of independence in everyday activities administered in an individual’s home and community environment. She is particularly interested in the relation between cognitive functions and everyday activities. Her current research is exploring the repercussions of mild traumatic brain injury on an individual’s everyday functioning.

Helene CarbonneauHelene Carbonneau.
Après avoir agit comme récréologue dans le milieu de la réadaptation et de la gérontologie, Hélène Carbonneau est maintenant professeur au département d’études en loisir, culture et tourisme de l’Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières. Elle est titulaire d’un doctorat en gérontologie de l’Université de Sherbrooke

Dr. Chris CarterDr. Chris Carter (Massachusetts)
Dr. Carter received his Doctorate in Psychology from the University of Denver in 1989. He has worked with brain injury survivors at various stages of recovery for nearly 20 years. He is currently the Director of Behavior Medicine at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts as well as a clinical associate in the Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital and a clinical instructor at the Harvard Medical School. The majority of his time is spent working with TBI survivors and their families as they move from the acute stages of care to re-entering the community. His areas of interest are PTSD and MTBI, Individual and Family recovery following TBI and agitation following TBI. Chris also lived in Montreal and went to school there as well as doing undergraduate work at York University in Toronto.

Michael CoyleMichael Coyle.
On September 24 1994, at age 15, Michael Coyle was struck by a car and suffered a closed head injury from a fractured skull. After months of rehab Michael tried to return to St. Michael’s College School, where he encountered many challenges. Before his accident, Michael had been identified, through testing, as “Gifted”. After the accident, he found himself, labelled as “Learning Disabled: Acquired Brain Injury” and in a Special Education Resource class at a new school. After making it through high school, Michael entered Dalhousie University where he finally admitted to himself that he needed to work with a team of specialists to learn compensatory skills.
Gradually, Michael also learned that he needed to advocate for himself. After completing his B.A., Michael travelled to Korea where he fell in love with teaching English as a second language. On returning home to Canada, Michael entered the Faculty of Education, where he took a particular interest in Special Education. After two years of teaching English, coaching everything from swimming to track and field and becoming involved with the Safe School Team, Michael was drawn to work with “at risk” and “special needs” students. In addition to his role as a high school Co-operative Education teacher, with a publicly funded Board in the Greater Toronto Area, Michael is currently pursing further professional development, completing an internship as a Life Coach and supporting students as they design their futures.

Marie MarcotteMarie Marcotte
Wellness Consultant, has worked in the field of Natural Healing for over a decade. A graduate from the engineering program at McGill University, she worked as an engineer for over 14 years. She temporarily left engineering to raise her young family when she discovered natural health and never looked back. Her passion to continually learn so as to understand how to better help others in their path to healing has led her to discover the benefits of Bouncing for Total Wellness. Bouncing on a therapeutic grade rebounder has been shown to improve lymphatic drainage, reduce inflammation, improve healing of injuries, increase fitness levels, improve coordination, vision and hearing, etc. The benefits are unlimited once you understand how the lymphatic system works. She will be offering a workshop explaining and demonstrating the benefits of Bouncing for Total Wellness.

Laura R. MollLaura R. Moll (Ph.F. Candidate), (Toronto, Ontario)
Laura Moll is a social worker with personal and professional experience working with students with disabilities in post-secondary education, and seniors in long-term care. She is currently completing her Ph.D. (Qualitative Research Scientist) in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the experience of individuals aging with a pre-existing physical impairment. She has been involved in knowledge translation of evidenced based research on long-term outcomes following traumatic brain injury at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and does presentations on aging and psychosocial attributes associated with long-term disability (including grief) for physiotherapy and occupational therapy students. Her career path and research interests have been partially informed by her experience of growing up and growing older with the consequences of a pediatric traumatic brain injury.

Kenneth MurnaghanKenneth Murnaghan, Charlottetown, PEI. Ken suffered his injury in 1970 when he was ten years old. After finishing school he was employed at summer jobs and later went to college.Kenneth then started his own business in web page design before problems with his legs forced him to go on disability. That may have been the end of employment for Kenneth but he persevered and found there were still some things he could do. Today he does volunteer work; he is President of the Brain Injury Coalition of Prince Edward Island and sometimes turns that work into paid projects. His motto is “I believe that if I think I can, I usually can.”

Lolita T. O’DonnellLolita T. O’Donnell, PhD, RN
Deputy Director, Clearinghouse, Outreach & Advocacy Directorate Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE)
Dr. O’Donnell, a Medical-Surgical Clinical Nurse, is one of the original staff members of the DCoE since its establishment in November 2007. She was involved with the initial planning and continue to be involved with the development of the Concept of Operations, Strategic Plan, programs and initiatives in outreach and advocacy efforts for service members, veterans and their families with psychological health and traumatic brain injury concerns

Prior to her appointment with the DCoE, Dr O’Donnell was an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the College of Nursing and Health Science, George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. from 2003-2007. Her military experiences include serving as a Clinical Nurse in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps, 1988-1993. She was deployed during Desert Storm and Desert Shield and also served as a Flight Nurse. Her previous civilian nursing positions include Quality and Risk Management, Hospital Accreditation, Case Management, and clinical nursing.

Dr. O’Donnell completed her doctoral studies and graduate work in Nursing Administration at George Mason University in 2002. Her nursing research focus is on case management and ethics.

Mike SieferlingMichael Seiferling began his career in the human services field in 1999 working in a small village in the southern part of Peru. After a short stay in South America, he returned home to pursue a bachelor of social work at the University of Regina and was hired at Phoenix Residential Society in 2001. Starting first in the Dual Diagnosis Program, Michael was soon offered a position in the Acquired Brain Injury Program. Over the years Michael has been part of the ABI team, which has worked hard to improve services provided to the local community.

Marilyn Price SpivackMarilyn Price Spivack
Marilyn Price Spivack’s involvement in traumatic brain injury (TBI) rehabilitation began through a personal journey after the injury of her daughter, Deborah Lee Price, in March 1975. Resources, support and expertise in the treatment and rehabilitation of TBI survivors were virtually non-existent at that time. In 1980, Marilyn along with her husband, Marty, and a group of other similarly affected families and professionals founded the National Head Injury Foundation, now known as the Brain Injury Association. Marilyn served as its first president and CEO from 1981-1999.

Marilyn is a tireless advocate for the special needs of TBI survivors as well as raising awareness in safety issues focusing on prevention of brain injuries. She has given numerous lectures for hospitals, universities, national associations, organization conferences and seminars across the U.S. and Canada. She has presented TBI as a national health issue to the media, federal agencies, NIH, Department of Education, NIDRR, U.S. Congressional committees, Committees of Massachusetts Legislature, and the Department of Defense. She has been featured in a made-for-TV documentary that aired on Public Television entitled, The Journey Back, and also featured in a video entitled, If Only. Marilyn was invited by the Australian Government to present as one of the keynote speakers at the International Conference on TBI held in Canberra.

In recognition of her contributions to the field of rehabilitation, Marilyn has received numerous awards. These include a Distinguished Service Award for creating opportunities through the creation of Americans for Disabilities Act by President George H. Bush. In 2006 she received 3 awards, the Robert L. Moody Prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation in Texas; the prestigious Gold Key Award presented by the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM); and an award from the Massachusetts rehabilitation Commission in recognition for her public service.

Marilyn has served on several editorial and review boards. These included peer reviewer for Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the National Institute of Disability Research (NIDRR) under the US Dept of Education; a consultant and grant reviewer to the federal agency, TBI Technical Assistance Center under Health Research Services Administration (HRSA) and on the Advisory Board of Mt. Sinai Hospital Rehabilitation Research and Training Center.
Included among her many appointments is one from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to serve as an Advisory Council Member to the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Strokes at National Institutes for Health from 1990-1995. She also serves as Chair of Rehabilitation Research Policy and Legislation and Policy Committee of the American Congress of Rehabilitation; Chair of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital TBI Model System Advisory Board and is currently the coordinator of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Neurotrauma Outreach Program.

Bonnie SwaineBonnie Swaine PT., Ph.D.
Bonnie is a professor in the physiotherapy program at Université de Montréal and a researcher and the Scientific co-director of the Montreal Center of Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Research in Montreal.

She has been conducting traumatic brain injury research (e.g. use of health service, risk of 2nd head injury among children, risk of suicide) from her laboratory at the Montreal Rehabilitation Institute since 1996.

Sheila Wignes-PatonSheila Wignes-Paton (Regina, Saskatchewan)
Sheila has a Diploma in Psychiatric Nursing and has worked for over 35 years in community based organizations. For the past 12 years she has been the Program Supervisor for an Acquired Brain Injury residential program which assists residents in living more independently in the community. Sheila has almost 25 years experience in the Mental Health field. She has experiences in all areas, from casework to program management. Sheila holds a Diploma of Psychiatric Nursing from Wascana Institute and a Certificate in Continuing Adult Education from the University of Regina. She is certified in Reality Therapy and is a Certified Psychosocial Rehabilitation Practitioner. Sheila has many years of experience with Community Based Organizations and has served on the Board of Directors of Cheshire Homes of Regina. Sheila is also a Certified St. John Ambulance First Aid and CPR Instructor.

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