Doris Schumacher holds a B.A. in Elementary Education and M.A. in Learning Disabilities. She taught for 25 years, with 23 years being in the field of special education. At the end of her career, her 24 year-old son sustained an acquired brain injury due to near drowning. For the last six years, Doris and her husband have been his caregivers. Doris co-chairs the Brain Injury Support Group in Brookings. Doris is the current President of the BIASD.
Justine Ashokar is the Director of Clinical Services at The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center at Black Hills Works in Rapid City. She holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with an emphasis in Neuropsychology. Justine is also a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. She has experience serving veterans, people with developmental disabilities, and people with brain injuries. Justine is working with legislators to improve services for those with brain injuries in South Dakota. She is part of the Center for Disabilities’ Brain Injury Work Group, which is working towards improving education for survivors and caregivers and bridging gaps in brain injury services in South Dakota. Justine is the Co-President of American Association of University Women, which advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research. Justine is the current Vice President of the BIASD.
Karen Brokenleg lost her father as a result of a severe brain injury he sustained in a motor vehicle crash in 1965. Karen began working with individuals who sustained brain injuries in 1987 while working at Sioux Valley Hospital (now Sanford Hospital) in Sioux Falls. She and a neurology nurse began the Sioux Falls Area Brain Injury Support Group. Karen was on the Board for the Rocky Mountain Regional Brain Injury Center from 1989 to 1991. Karen is the current Treasurer of the BIASD.
Jennifer Williams is the Cognitive Services Coordinator at The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center with Black Hills Works in Rapid City. She works with individuals impacted by brain injury and their families to coordinate rehabilitation services, and she uses a person-centered approach to ensure services are tailored to each individual. Jennifer holds a M.S. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and is the current secretary of the BIASD.
Glenn Schumacher graduated from Goshen College (Indiana) in 2006. Glenn earned B.A. degrees in Sociology/Anthropology and Art. A near-drowning canoe accident in 2009 led to over one year of hospitalization for an anoxic brain injury. Currently, Glenn is working part-time at South Dakota State University in the Department of Agronomy, Horticulture, and Plant Science. Glenn is involved with the Brookings area Brain Injury Support Group and is a Board member of BIASD.
Mary Tommeraasen is an Employment Skills Supervisor at SD Vocational Resources, SD Rehabilitation Center for the Blind. Mary is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist and a co-facilitator of the Sioux Falls Area Brain Injury Support Group. Mary is also a member of the Center for Disabilities’ Large Work Group for Brain Injury. Mary is a Board member of the BIASD.
Jenny Hallan is a Program Director at Independent Living Choices. She has been with ILC for five years. Jenny holds a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies and a Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. She has experience working with individuals across the lifespan and with all abilities. She is an active member in her community and enjoys collaborating with individuals and agencies to help meet the needs of others. Jenny is a Board member of the BIASD.
Brian Poelstra has a master’s degree in physical therapy and is a licensed Physical Therapist. Brian has worked as a certified Athletic Trainer, he has been an EMT, and he taught Physiology labs at the collegiate level.
Brian became a part of the DRSD team in 2017 as an Intake Specialist/Advocacy Services Representative and is now the program lead for the Traumatic Brain Injury program. He says that he enjoys helping people and working to provide resolution to a problem that a person is dealing with. Brian is a Board member of BIASD.
Brenna Christiansen Director of Therapy at LifeScape in Sioux falls, SD. I have a masters degree in Occupational Therapy. My focus has been in Pediatrics with experience working with patients with neurological disorders including brain injuries, stroke and spinal cord injuries. In my current position as a Director, my role is to ensure clinical quality of our inpatient and outpatient brain injury programs and therapy services provided at LifeScape, as well as help identify and oversee new therapy programs and services needed in the community. As a board member of the BIASD, I hope to help improve education, community awareness, and opportunities for individuals living with a brain injury and help connect people and families impacted by brain injuries to resources and services in our state.