Dr. Paul van Donkelaar and Karen Mason
Dr. Paul van Donkelaar is the Associate Vice-Principal, Research at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus and a professor in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences. His research team examines the mechanisms and effects of traumatic brain injury on cerebrovascular, sensorimotor, and neurocognitive function. They use these approaches to better understand head impacts in contact sport athletes, and the interface between traumatic brain injury and intimate partner violence.
Karen Mason is executive director of Kelowna Women’s Shelter, a non-profit organization that provides emergency and transitional housing, food, clothing, counselling support and education to women and their children who have experienced intimate partner violence. A former journalist and communications professional, Karen is a dedicated community collaborator driven by a desire to help change lives by working on behalf of causes and organizations she believes in.
As partners in life, Karen and Paul are enjoying the unique opportunity to bring together their professional expertise and commitment to helping others by undertaking a community-based research study focusing on traumatic brain injury in victims of intimate partner violence. They hope the research sheds more light on the still relatively unknown prevalence, and impacts, of concussion on victims of intimate partner violence, and leads to improved education and training for shelter staff and others who work with women who have experienced violence and abuse at the hands of their partner.