Our Team

 

Staff

Richard Wagar

Richard Wagar

Executive Director

 

Richard believes that brain injury survivors deserve more help than they currently receive. A former executive coach and trainer, Richard struggled to find help while recovering from his own brain injury and wanted to help smooth the path of others undergoing similar challenges. “I want to change the way brain injury survivors are treated, both collectively and individually.”

Mackenzie Trenaman

Mackenzie Trenaman

Office Administrator

 

Mackenzie Trenaman is a third-year nursing student at University of Calgary. Her current position at VBIA is assistant to the executive director, as well as researcher. When she manages to fit some free time in her busy schedule, she enjoys reading and watching Netflix. She also enjoys playing soccer, and played competitively in high school.

Founders & Board

Richard Wagar

Richard Wagar

Executive Director

Richard believes that brain injury survivors deserve more help than they currently receive. A former executive coach and trainer, Richard struggled to find help while recovering from his own brain injury and wanted to help smooth the path of others undergoing similar challenges. “I want to change the way brain injury survivors are treated, both collectively and individually.”

Dr. Shirin Hadizadeh, Ph.D.

Dr. Shirin Hadizadeh, Ph.D.

President

PhD Neuroscientist and President of Vancouver Brain Injury Association, Shirin facilitates the West Vancouver Persian Brain Injury Support Group. Shirin’s PhD thesis was written investigating and analyzing the effects of crowding agents on protein folding and stability. Following this, she spent time doing research as a post-doctoral fellow at a brain research centre at UBC Hospital. Today, Shirin is a researcher at BC Cancer Agency.

Mitra Hadizadeh

Mitra Hadizadeh

Director and VBIA Secretary

West Vancouver resident Mitra Hadizadeh is a Vancouver BIA’s Secretary.  Mitra is fluent in Farsi as a first language and was a translator of technical documents working in Iran for a Canadian company. Mitra also serves on our Social Media Group..

Jennifer Bonderoff, Ph.D.

Jennifer Bonderoff, Ph.D.

Founder

Co-founder Jennifer Bonderoff, Ph.D., has her doctorate in molecular biology.  Founder & Board Member through 2016

Penny Luke, M.Ed.

Penny Luke, M.Ed.

Founder

Founding member Penny Luke, M.Ed. has decades of experience as a Special Education/Resource teacher in Lower Mainland school systems. Her experience in working with special needs students is invaluable.  Penny experienced a near-fatal brain injury when, as a very small child, she was struck by a car in the street.

Bill Luke, Ph.D.

Bill Luke, Ph.D.

Founder

Founding member Bill Luke, PhD is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology & Biology at Trinity Western University. Dr. Luke is involved with establishing policy and guidelines for fitness and health enthusiasts who wish to become fitness leaders for individuals of all ages. He has been involved for many years with BCRPA (British Columbia Recreation and Parks Association – Fitness). In addition, he is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a Registered Kinesiologist in British Columbia. He is the creator of the training program in British Columbia for the development of older adult fitness leaders. Graduates of the older adult fitness leaders program qualify for certification in the Province and across Canada.

Volunteers

Dr. Shirin Hadizadeh, Ph.D.

Dr. Shirin Hadizadeh, Ph.D.

West Vancouver Persian Brain Injury Support Group Facilitator

Shirin, a neuroscientist, Facilitates the West Vancouver Persian Brain Injury Support Group. Currently, Shirin is a researcher at BC Cancer Agency. Her PhD thesis was on the topic of a protein fold in the human brain followed by research as a post-doctoral fellow at a Brain Research Centre at UBC Hospital.

Kaitlyn Li

Kaitlyn Li

Social Media Coordinator

Kaitlyn Li is a high school international student who has taken this position since 2016. She takes the responsibility of updating all of our social media cites including Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter, and manages to rebuild our website for aesthetical pleasure. She is going to university in this September.

Kim Spracklin

Kim Spracklin

North Shore Brain Injury Support Group Facilitator

Kim has a background in business and a black belt in karate.  Kim is a great communicator who volunteers as North Shore Brain Injury Support Group host and facilitator at NSBISG meetings.

Gina

Gina

Task-Mistress and All-Around Wonder

We met Gina at our very first North Shore Brain Injury Support Group meeting at Lions Gate Hospital. She was a volunteer from the opening minutes of that meeting, and ever since.  In our first year, Gina never missed a meeting.

Kamelia Abadi

Kamelia Abadi

Brain Recovery Fridays Volunteer

Kamelia helps out at Brain Recovery Fridays in various roles where possible.

Saman Darabian

Saman Darabian

VBIA Volunteer and UBC Brain Club Founder

Saman, a first-year student at UBC, founded the VBIA UBC Brain Club. The first UBC Brain Club Brain Injury Support Group meeting is April 23, on the UBC campus in the IK Barber Learning Centre, room 315, at UBC at 7 PM.

Bill Luke, PhD

Bill Luke, PhD

Volunteer Presenter on Neuroscience & Exercise

Founding member Bill Luke, PhD is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology & Biology at Trinity Western University.  Dr. Luke volunteers in presenting exercise and neuroscience in brain injury recovery.

Mitra Hadizadeh

Mitra Hadizadeh

Communications Coordinator

Armita Hezarkhani

Armita Hezarkhani

Social Media Team Member

Gerry

Gerry

Handy Helper and Transporter Extraordinaire 

Gerry is an acquired brain injury survivor of a workplace accident. for years, Gerry spent years trying to get help dealing with WorkSafe BC.  He volunteers with all aspects of set-up and take-down for the support group meetings and assists with transportation and flyer distribution.

Charity Number

Vancouver Brain Injury Association is a Canadian charity, registration number 82988 0392 RR0001.

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the support of:

The City of North Vancouver through their Community Grants program,

The District of North Vancouver through their Community Grants program,

The District of West Vancouver through their Community Grants program,

The Province of British Columbia through their Community Gaming Grants program,

The Province of British Columbia through the BC Brain Injury Alliance,

The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia through their Community Grants program.