A translational research network to study and improve the clinical care of brain injury in intimate partner violence (IPV) on Vancouver Island

IPV is a serious societal and medical challenge worldwide that has severe impacts on the lives of survivors. In Canada, >40 percent of women over the age of 15 who have been in an intimate partner relationship (~6.2 million women) have experienced IPV. The prevalence of IPV is particularly high in the Nanaimo and Duncan regions of Vancouver Island. Among many challenges faced by IPV survivors, the physical assaults often result in brain injuries that have short- and long-term consequences. Brain injury occurs in the vast majority of IPV survivors, yet the nature, identification, and treatment of this brain damage has been remarkably understudied. Consequently, care pathways to improve patient outcomes are extremely limited. To address this issue, the proposed activities will bring together a diverse and balanced group of scientists, clinical practitioners, trainees, patients, and community leaders on Vancouver Island, as well as other national and international experts on the topic. Specifically, the primary goal of this application is to apply a patient-oriented approach to identify key knowledge gaps and establish a research network capable of investigating these issues and translating the findings into meaningful clinical outcomes.

Team members: Aimee Falkenberg (Island Health); Kix Citton (Nanaimo Brain Injury Association); Uta Sbotofrankenstein (BC SUPPORT); Jodie Gawryluk (University of Victoria); Paul Van Donkelaar (UBC – Okanagan); Karen Mason (Supporting Survivors of Abuse and Brain Injury through Research); Taylor Snowden (University of Victoria); Justin Brand (Vancouver Island University); Naz Saadat (University of Victoria); Jackie Demmy (Island Health; nursing students; Vancouver Island University); Janet Hildebrand (Island Health); Sasha Dallaire (Island Health); Coral Taylor (Island Health); Janet Calnan (Island Health); Charlotte Breakey (Island Health); Carrie Esopenko (Icahn School of Medicine Mount Sinai); Cheryl Wellington (UBC); Stuart McDonald (Monash University); Josh Allen (Vancouver Island University).