DMCBH members are leading several research teams across British Columbia who will be putting knowledge into action, thanks to funding awarded by Michael Smith Health Research BC.

The Convening & Collaborating (C2) and Reach funding programs are enabling health researchers to foster collaboration, disseminate and implement evidence, and increase the impact of their research — ultimately improving the health of people and communities in BC.

These team-based funding programs mobilize communities for research impact as well as build research talent for BC’s future. The programs support research collaborations and co-development between researchers and the people who will use the research; and also enable health researchers and professionals to develop skills and experience in knowledge translation. This translating of knowledge then plays a crucial role by accelerating the pathway from evidence to impact on policy and practice.

Congratulations to the DMCBH members who have received awards for 2023:

2023 Convening & Collaborating Award Recipients

Paul van Donkelaar: Ethicolegal implications of screening for intimate partner violence-caused brain injury: Co-creating research priorities and practice recommendations

Brain injury (BI) is known as an invisible injury. Intimate partner violence (IPV) is equally invisible, often happening behind closed doors with no witnesses. Almost half of women in Canada report experiencing at least one incident of physical or sexual violence at the hands of a partner in their lifetime, and as many as 92% of women who seek help from abuse at a hospital emergency room or a women’s shelter may have experienced a BI. IPV-caused BI is a public health emergency, overdue for research and attention. BI can have chronic and devastating health implications. Our research indicates it may also be weaponized against a survivor in family court where custody of, or access, to children is contested, based on assertions the injury makes a mother unfit to parent.

In this project we will bring together experts from legal, community, and healthcare-focused agencies, to review the research findings, and analyze and prioritize their attendant recommendations. In response, our team will conceive, draft, and disseminate an action plan and position paper designed to inform future research and practice, and spark system change with the hope that this will result in better outcomes for survivors.

Kamyar Keramatian: Early identification of bipolar disorder in adolescents and young adults:
Establishing a collaborative research agenda

Bipolar disorder (BD) is a psychiatric condition that affects about 2 percent of Canadians. Individuals with BD experience extreme changes in their mood, as well as their energy and ability to function. Research from our group and others has shown that BD often goes unrecognized for years, making it hard for affected individuals to receive the care they need. This can result in negative consequences including inappropriate treatment, more hospitalizations, and an increased risk of suicide. Factors that may play a role in this delay are complex and include, among others, the presence of co-occurring conditions, inadequate use of screening tools, and limited access to specialized mental health services. Therefore, finding the best strategies to address this challenge requires collaboration among multiple individuals and institutions. Our project will establish a collaborative network of healthcare leaders, clinicians, researchers, and international experts, as well as those with lived experiences of BD and their families. By organizing a series of workshops and meetings, we will co-create a research agenda aimed at finding ways to reduce the delay in the diagnosis and treatment of BD among youth and young adults in BC and beyond.


2023 Reach Award Recipients

Shelina Babul: Drawing Attention to an Invisible Injury: Increasing Awareness and Reducing the Burden of Concussion among Workers and Workplaces in British Columbia

Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury, is the most common form of brain injury, causing physical, emotional, and mental health symptoms, with the potential for long term impacts, particularly if not managed properly. Concussion can happen to anyone, anywhere, and is a top five cause of workplace time-loss. In BC, from 2017-2021, concussion accounted for 4.8% of all time-loss claims and 8% of claims by retail salespersons, mostly among young workers. The aim of this project is to increase concussion awareness and education within the retail industry by highlighting key messages from the evidence-based online resource, the Concussion Awareness Training Tool for Workers and Workplaces. By leveraging existing partnerships, we will engage a large retailer to promote concussion education within their workforce. Information sessions will be delivered on concussion prevention, recognition, recovery, management, and Return-to-Work. We will create a concussion infographic and recruit a worker to share their personal story via video for wide dissemination. Not only will this initiative create awareness and change attitudes about concussion at work, but the safety messages will be applicable to workers’ lives beyond the workplace.

Janice Eng: Primary Care and Spinal Cord Injury – Filling the Knowledge Gap with Continuing Medical Education and Partnership

Over 13,000 people live with a devastating spinal cord injury (SCI) in British Columbia. People with SCI need specialized care from their family doctors for health issues such as bladder, bowel, skin, pain, blood pressure, fertility, and breathing conditions. However, most family doctors have received little training on how to help a patient with SCI. We will host a Continuing Medical Education event where family doctors and people with SCI can learn about key health issues about SCI and speak freely about their concerns. The Continuing Medical Education content will be developed by doctors with expertise in family practice and spinal cord medicine, as well as by people with SCI who experience these key issues. The event will be broadcast by videoconference and recorded to accommodate people who cannot attend. These activities will complement our existing Spinal Cord Injury Research Evidence (SCIRE) website ( which has a special section for Primary Care and SCI and is accessed by over 300,000 health care providers annually. The Continuing Medical Education event will be posted on our website so that it can continue to be accessed by stakeholders. Lastly, all activities will be evaluated for their impact.

Teresa Liu-Ambrose: Exercise for Healthy Aging: Mobilizing Knowledge with Users and Clinicians in BC

The number of adults over the age of 65 is expected to double in the next 20 years. Maintaining both cognitive function (i.e., thinking abilities) and mobility (i.e., the ability to move) are vital to functional independence and quality of life. Exercise can improve cognitive function and mobility in older adults. However, many older adults are inactive. Key barriers to exercise include: 1) lack of motivation; 2) medical conditions, such as arthritis; and 3) lack of knowledge on how to exercise safely and effectively. To address these barriers, we will: i) disseminate the latest evidence on the benefits of exercise for cognitive function and mobility via a public forum; ii) deliver interactive workshops during which older adults (and caregivers) will learn how to exercise safely, how to individualize exercises, how to progress exercises, how to use popular wearables (e.g., Fitbit), and strategies to achieve a balanced 24-hour activity cycle for overall health; and iii) develop online resources capturing the content of the interactive workshops. The intent of the public forum, workshops, and online resources is to motivate and enable older adults to uptake exercise, and thereby contribute to the global agenda of healthy aging.

Mypinder Sekhon: Targeting rural healthcare professionals, trainees and patients in
disseminating neuroscience-based research 

Ischemic brain injury refers to brain injuries that occur from a lack of blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. Current clinical management strategies and therapeutics have shown little effect on patient outcomes. As such, urgent research is ongoing with promising breakthroughs in this field by a multidisciplinary group of researchers in British Columbia. Given the urgency of disseminating research findings, this project will involve knowledge translation activities that target three main groups of knowledge users: a) healthcare providers in rural and remote settings in BC; b) healthcare professional trainees; and c) patients, caregivers and the general public. By undertaking targeted knowledge translation activities to each of these groups, the implementation of research findings will be equitable (for all British Columbians including those from rural settings), long-lasting (healthcare professional trainees will be equipped up-to-date knowledge) and patient-centered (disseminating the findings directly to patients and the public).