2018 Forum Speaker Biographies

Violence Against Women & Traumatic Brain Injury Forum
Speaker Biographies

Forum Overview

Forum Agenda


LinLin Haag
Lin is a PhD candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Faculty of Social Work. Her work focuses on women survivors of intimate partner violence with resultant brain injury, exploring factors influencing mental health, return to work, and social inclusion. As part of an interdisciplinary research team, she recently completed a project exploring brain injury awareness in intimate partner violence service agencies and is currently working on the development of an educational tool kit to be used in this arena. Lin is committed to improving outcomes through direct practice, innovative research, and professional education, believing that increased knowledge and understanding in the community is key. As someone with lived experience of TBI, she has been a guest speaker addressing issues of disability, brain injury, and marginalization for a variety of international academic, professional, and community-based organizations. Her work is generously funded by the Ontario Women’s Health Scholar Award.
VijayaVijaya Kantipuly
Vijaya is a concussion support group facilitator with Ontario Brain Injury Association. She is Registered Social Worker and has experience with domestic violence, sexual assault, and mental health settings.
NNekaNneka MacGregor
Nneka is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Centre for Social Justice, better known as WomenatthecentrE, a unique non-profit organisation created by and for women survivors of gender-based violence globally. By engaging its members in social and community activism, the organisation ensures that policies and practice are responsive to the needs of survivors. She sits on a number of Boards and committees, and is a member of the federal government’s Advisory Council on the Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence. She is the proud mother of three amazing children, Aly, Alexander, and Christiana, and human companion to Basil (The Wonder Dog) and Renfrew, the cat.
FloraDr. Flora I. Matheson
Dr. Matheson, Ph.D. is a medical sociologist and mental health and addictions specialist. She is particularly interested in how gender inequities and other social determinants of health affect people experiencing problem gambling, substance use, mental illness, poverty, homelessness, and imprisonment. She has particular expertise in integrated knowledge translation approaches with community-based partners and with people with lived experience of addictions, mental health concerns, and homelessness. She is a Scientist at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital; Scientist in the Mental Health and Addictions Program at IC/ES; and, Associate Professor with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, the Centre for Criminology and Sociolegal Studies, and Institute for Medical Science, University of Toronto.
MelanieMelanie Marsden 
At Springtide Resources, Melanie enjoys networking with other organizations, as well as providing education, training, and awareness through a crossdisability lens using a gender-based approach with an anti-oppressive framework. In the future, she looks forward to making Springtide a household name by expanding upon their networks - in particular, expanding SPIN the Strength-based Parenting Initiative which she is the coordinator and founder of. SPIN is a collaborative made up of community partners which aims to provide education and awareness surrounding parenting with a disability while addressing the rights and barriers we face. As an Indigenous parent of 3, and new grandma, she wants to make parenting a success for people with disabilities regardless of what parenting may look like. Currently, Melanie also serves on the Accessibility Consumer Advisory Committee at Nellie’s, a Toronto women’s shelter and a community based feminist organization. She is also a current member of the Health Standards Committee for the AODA. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and hopes to complete her Masters of Social Work, studying Aboriginal Elder teachings. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, listening to music, playing the piano, singing, cycling, and traveling.
AkosoaDr. Akosoa McFadgion
Dr. McFadgion is the Director of the Office of Interpersonal Violence Prevention at Howard University. She is a trained social worker and research psychologist with over 20 years’ of experience conducting research that includes examining child sexual abuse prevention, the intersection of HIV, substance use and domestic violence, and the prevalence of interpersonal violence on college campuses. Her research interest is examining the relationship between intimate partner violence and traumatic brain injury, and how these facets of trauma affect women’s mental health. Her passion is educating others in the area of trauma, domestic violence, family violence, and how these factors influence the health of women and girls. Her research and practice experience has blessed her with the insight to frame healthy relationships from an evidence-based and trauma-informed approach.
WinnieWinnie Muchuba
Winnie has earned a Masters in Human Rights and International Human Rights at the Universite Catholique of Bukavu in 2010. Recently graduated from Niagara College on the Lake, Winnie has been involved with a number of organizations in various capacities. She was a student intern at KAIROS Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiative, a trainee at Immigrant Women’s Integration and Leadership Program, and an active member at Romero House and Jubilee Church in St. Catharines. Though her experience volunteering in an advisory women’s connection at Parkdale Health Centre, she gained the strength to advocate for human rights issues and to fight against forms of violence and discrimination women face. She is a Director at the board liberal members and a Co-chair of WomenatthecentrE’s Francophone Women’s Committee.
JeanJean Quinn
Jean is the Chair of Kingston Anti-Violence Advisory Council (KAVAC) and the Kingston Chapter of WomenattheCentre which is comprised of a group of women survivors of domestic abuse. The committee, through its members’ experiences, identifies gaps and loopholes in services and provide possible solutions to make it easier for new victims to navigate through the systems. They attend community events, providing information about types of abuse, signs to look for, and where to go for help. Jean is very proud of the completion of a Public Service Announcement called Faces of Abuse which is being shared widely through community organizations, social media and other methods of communication. She is happily retired and volunteers on several committees dealing with domestic abuse. She hopes her participation on these committees will make a difference in other women’s experience going through the various services, making something good come from the abuse she went through. She is a proud mother of two daughters, Cindy and Wendy, and three grandchildren, Dylan, Riley, and Austin. Her constant companions are Willow, a grey female cat with attitude and Tazz, a male siamese who is a complete and utter baby.
DeirdreDeirdre Reddick
Deirdre is a survivor of intimate partner violence who shares her experiences to educate and improve practices of social institutions. She is a founding member of Kingston Anti-Violence Advocacy Committee the Kingston chapter of WomenatthecentrE, a unique non-profit organization that was created for women survivors of gender-based violence, by women survivors. Deirdre has had the privilege of participating in the Ontario Brain Institute Public Talk: Intimate Partner Violence and Concussion last year. She has also presented to various agencies including: Kingston Police, Lennox and Addington Family and Children Services, Victim Witness Services in Kingston, Queen’s Medical Students.
JoLeeDr. JoLee Sasakamoose
Dr. Sasakamoose is an Anishinabe (Ojibwe) from the Three Fires Confederacy in Michigan and Ontario with membership in M’Chigeeng First Nation and is an active citizen of Ahtahkakoop Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Dr. Sasakamoose is the recently appointed Research Director of the Indigenous Wellness Research Community Network in Saskatchewan. She is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology and Counselling at the University of Regina. Dr. Sasakamoose serves as a methodologist with the Saskatchewan Centre for Patient Oriented Research (SCPOR). In partnership with the First Nations communities of Saskatchewan, JoLee authored the Indigenous Cultural Responsiveness Theory (ICRT), a theoretical framework to guide research that improves the health of Indigenous peoples in Saskatchewan. Dr. Sasakamoose has received funding from the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Community Initiatives Fund, the Saskatchewan Instructional Development and Research Unit, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Canadian Heritage Foundation. She teaches Group Counselling, Counselling Girls and Women, Counselling Children and Youth, Indigenous Family Therapies, and Decolonizing Research Methodologies.
EveDr. Eve Valera
Dr. Valera is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a Research Scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital. She has been working in the field of domestic violence for nearly 25 years. Her current work uses a range of methodologies to understand the neural, neuropsychological, and psychological consequences of Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs) resulting from Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). She published one of the first studies examining the prevalence of IPV-related TBI and its relationship to cognitive and psychological functioning, and has more recently provided the first neural mechanistic evidence of IPV-related TBI. Her work is ongoing and expanding to address other potential neural consequences of TBIs from partner violence.
RuthRuth Wilcock
Ruth is the Executive Director of the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA). Since 1986 OBIA has been working to enhance the lives of those living with brain injury through education, awareness, and support. Over the past year OBIA has been running an awareness campaign Concussion Hits Home which highlights the correlation between domestic violence and brain injury. Ruth has worked in the community services field for over 30 years and is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists Ontario. Ruth has and continues to serve on numerous committees for special projects and research by representing the needs and concerns of those living with acquired brain injury.