Toronto ABI Network

ABI Conference 2012

Info for Families

Referral Forms

Keynote Speakers

speaker photoMark Bernstein, BSc, MD, MHSc (Bioethics), FRCSC
Professor of Surgery, University of Toronto and Neurosurgeon, Toronto Western Hospital

Dr. Mark Bernstein is Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and a neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. His main areas of interest are neuro-oncology, bioethics and advancing surgery in the developing world, where he regularly spends time operating and teaching.

He is a committed educator and has won numerous teaching awards. In addition to 300 academic papers, book chapters and a book on brain tumours, he has published nearly 150 popular articles that bridge the gap between the medical profession and the public. In 2011, he was awarded the Greg Wilkins-Barrick Chair in International Surgery. His current research interests include: qualitative research studies in neuroethics; informed consent; medical error; surgical innovation; novel resource utilization; and the patient's experience.

speaker photoPaul Nadler
Survivor/student/director and author

Paul Nadler, the subject and director of Braindamadj’d…Take II, was a firebrand artist in the world of television before suffering severe brain damage in a near-fatal car accident. He worked at MusiquePlus (a French-language music-video television station) in the early 1990s as packaging designer for popular shows Perfecto, Clip Postal and Transit, before creating the hit show Zone X. He also acted as field producer for CBC’s Street Cents and was instrumental in the Gemini Award-winning show’s redesign.

The brain damage he experienced in the car accident in the mid-1990s forced Mr. Nadler to re-invent himself and he returned to university to earn his Master’s degree in Communications. Braindamadj’d…Take II is a film that documents his strong-willed and creative efforts to regain his life. Mr. Nadler has presented the film at festivals around the world and is currently working on an accompanying book. The film won Gemini awards for Best Biography Documentary and Best Direction in a Documentary, the Grand Prix award at the prestigious Japan Prize and Peabody competitions, and the Grand Prix Award at the Moscow Disability Film Festival.

speaker photoMichael Blois
Law Student, University of Western Ontario and former Master Corporal of the Royal Canadian Regiment, injured in Afghanistan

Mike Blois is a happily married father of one daughter. In 2006, he was deployed on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan, where his infantry platoon was tasked with removing Taliban fighters from the Panwai district of Kandahar province. During an extended firefight, Mr. Blois suffered a mild Traumatic Brain Injury. Upon returning to Canada, he underplayed the seriousness of his injury in order to be able to return to Afghanistan. This delayed any treatment of his head injury for eighteen months; when he began treatment at St. Michael's Head Injury Clinic, it became apparent that his injury would force him out of the military. He was medically released in 2011 after eleven years of service in the infantry.

Blois is currently enjoying the challenges of law school and enjoys spending as much time with his family as possible.

speaker photoJeffrey Kleim, PhD
Associate Professor, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering (SBHSE), Neuroscience, Arizona State University

Dr. Jeffrey Kleim studies how neural plasticity supports learning in the intact brain and “relearning” in the damaged or diseased brain. His research is directed at developing therapies that optimize plasticity in order to enhance recovery after stroke and Parkinson’s Disease.

The brain is a highly dynamic organ that is capable of structural and functional reorganization in response to a variety of manipulations. This neural plasticity is the mechanism by which the brain encodes experience. Dr. Kleim examines how plasticity supports learning in the intact brain and “relearning” after stroke. His research is being used to test novel therapies for enhancing motor recovery in stroke patients.

speaker photoAbe Snaiderman, MD , FRCP(C)
Director, Neuropsychiatry Clinic Neuro-Rehabilitation Program, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute/UHN; Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine, University of Toronto

Dr. Abe Snaiderman is a psychiatrist and director of the Neuropsychiatry Clinic in Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s Neuro-rehabilitation program where he has worked for the past 16 years. He is also a consultant to the Acquired Brain Injury, Stroke, Continuing Care and Spinal Cord Injury programs at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and several community agencies.

A Clinician Teacher in the Departments of Psychiatry and Medicine at the University of Toronto, Dr. Snaiderman was co-winner of Department of Psychiatry's Ivan Silver Award for Excellence in Mental Health Education in 2007. His expertise is in the cognitive, emotional and behavioural effects of neurological problems such as multiple sclerosis, stroke, severe traumatic brain injury and seizure disorders. Dr. Snaiderman is a frequent guest keynote speaker and lecturer at several institutions, and community organizations nationally, provincially and locally.