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Peter Athanasopoulos has devoted his life to building relationships benefiting people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) for the past 23 years. He started his rewarding career at Spinal cord injury Ontario, formally the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario in 2001 as a Provincial Peer Support Coordinator. Peter has nurtured, grown and expanded Peer Support at Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. In 2008 he continued in the position of SCI Networks and Services Manager as a relationship builder working with people with SCI, service providers, researchers and other stakeholders to strengthen planning and delivery of services for Ontarians with SCI. Presently, Peter has been enhancing his services to people with SCI by working with communities across Ontario to address and resolve systemic barriers that impact quality of life of people with SCI through his role as Senior Manager, Public Policy and Government Relations and Executive Director of the Ontario SCI Solutions Alliance

Dr. Mohammad Alavinia has been working as a member of Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre within University Health Network since 2014. He graduated from Tehran Medical School as a family physician and subsequently completed MSc and PhD training in Clinical Epidemiology in the Erasmus-mc University in the Netherlands, where he studied workers’ health through application of the Work Ability Index (WAI). After graduation, he focused his research on communicable and non-communicable diseases and development of health quality indicators for Type II diabetes mellitus. Dr. Alavinia has served as an assistant professor of epidemiology at medical school, the director of the Program for Control and Prevention of Type-II Diabetes at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the Ministry of Health of Iran, and the director of the Vector-Borne Diseases Research Center, North Khorasan University of Medical Sciences. During his fellowship at Lyndhurst Centre, he participated in the design, implementation, and evaluation of care indicators for SCI rehabilitation locally and nationally (the SCI-HIGH project) as well as contributes to quality improvement activities related to minimizing Urinary Tract Infections.

 

 


Lisa Boivin is a member of the Deninu Kue First Nation in Northwest Territories. She is an interdisciplinary artist and a healthcare educator. Lisa is enrolled in the Doctoral Stream at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine. She is writing and painting an arts-based thesis on Indigenous perspectives of wellness and the disabling effects of colonialism. She uses digital paintings to address the colonial barriers Indigenous patients navigate in the current healthcare system. Lisa strives to humanize clinical medicine as she situates her art-based practice in the Indigenous continuum of passing knowledge through images.

 


Lauren Cadel
recently completed her Master’s in Pharmaceutical Sciences at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Toronto. Her thesis research, supervised by Dr. Sara Guilcher, explored the attitudes, beliefs and experiences of community-dwelling adults with spinal cord injuries pertaining to the management of prescribed and unprescribed medications. The purpose of this study was to optimize medication management for adults with SCI. Lauren is also a research associate at the Institute for Better Health at Trillium Health Partners.

 


Brian C.F. Chan
is a Post-doctoral Fellow with the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Pharmacology at the University of Toronto in 2001 and 2003 respectively. Brian was then a research assistant at the Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomics Research Centre. He returned to the University of Toronto to pursue his Doctorate of Philosophy earned in 2017. His doctoral work examined the ”Economic burden of chronic ulcers”. During his doctoral studies, Brian was employed as a Health Economist for Health Quality Ontario. Brian’s research interests are in economic analyses of spinal cord injury and rehabilitation. His strengths are in decision modelling, developing cost-of-illness studies and economic evaluations using administrative health care data and translating economic evidence to stakeholders. Current projects focus on examining the cost of secondary complication of spinal cord injury, the economics of virtual health care, characterizing home care utilization for individuals with spinal cord injury and the cost effectiveness of alternative public health care funding models. Brian is currently co- supervised by Dr. Cathy Craven and Dr. Walter Wodchis.

Dr. Cesar Marquez-Chin is a scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network. He develops technologies to assist and restore voluntary movement after stroke and spinal cord injury. Central to his work is the creation of devices that translate brain activity into control commands for electronic devices. Dr. Marquez-Chin holds a doctorate degree in biomedical engineering from the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto.

 

Angela Colantonio, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.), FCAHS, FACRM
Dr. Angela Colantonio is the Director of the University of Toronto’s Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, and a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Dalla Lana School of Public Health and Adjunct Scientist at ICES. She held a Canadian Institutes for Health Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health with a focus on brain injury. She is also a Senior Research Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, where she was the inaugural Saunderson Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury Research. Dr. Colantonio heads an internationally recognized research program on acquired brain injury, which focuses on women, sex and gender, return-to-work, violence, and marginalized populations. She has authored over 270 publications and has presented to over 500 research, clinical and lay audiences. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American College of Epidemiology. She received the 2015 Robert L. Moody Prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation and the 2019 ACRM Women in Rehabilitation Science Award.

 



Dr. Cathy Craven
is the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute/ University of Toronto Chair in Spinal Cord Injury SCI Rehabilitation. She is an Associate Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Medicine with cross appointments in the Institutes of Health Policy Management and Evaluation and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Toronto. Dr. Craven is a Senior Scientist and Team Leader of the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Research Team. She has a passion for patient engagement in research which has manifest as Lead for the Central Recruitment Process at KITE-UHN. Dr. Craven leads the field with her clinical and research expertise in the prevention and management of osteoporosis and health service innovation for individuals living with spinal cord injury. Dr. Craven has published over 200 articles on related topics. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?cmd=PureSearch&term=Craven%20BC%20%5Bauthor%5D).  External to UHN, Dr. Craven is a Fellow of the American Spinal Injury Association, Chair of the Rick Hansen Institute’s CARE Committee, Co-Chair of the 1-8th National SCI Conference and founding Chair of the Canadian Spinal Cord Injury – Rehabilitation Association (CSCI-RA). CSCI-RA was created to promote access and inclusion for individuals living with SCI through research, education and advocacy (www.cscira.com).

 

 


Dr. Katrina DeZeeuw is a clinical fellow in Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation at the University of Toronto. She completed her residency training at the University of Ottawa Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program in June 2019. She plans to return to Ottawa after her fellowship to work both with patients with spinal cord injury in a tertiary health care center as well as patients in complex continuing care and starting a multidisciplinary wound care clinic.

 

David S. Ditor, Ph.D. Director, POWER CORD.
David Ditor is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Brock University, and his research program focuses on the secondary health complications that accompany spinal cord injury. More specifically, Dr. Ditor’s research interests involve i) chronic inflammation after SCI and the associated range of negative effects, ii) cardiovascular disease and dysfunction  after SCI, and iii) sexual dysfunction after SCI. As some of these health complications are modifiable, Dr. Ditor is also interested in the role of exercise and diet in managing and reversing them. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities at Brock University, Dr. Ditor is also the Founder and Director of POWER CORD; an accessible facility that provides specialized and supervised exercise for individuals with SCI, MS and lower limb amputations. POWER CORD is both a community-based exercise centre and a research facility, and it offers unique experiential learning opportunities to the Brock University students who implement the exercise programs. Dr. Ditor is in the early stages of developing a nutrition program at POWER CORD.

 

Chris Downey, RN BScN CPN(C) MSc RNFA has been a Perioperative Registered Nurse for 43 years and is currently a consultant in the area of Perioperative Nursing Practice. Chris also practices as an RNFA(PT). Chris is an alumnus of the University of Ottawa, (BScN- Magna Cum Laude), and Queen’s University, Kingston (MSc-Nursing ) and the British Columbia Institute of Technology (RNFA). Chris was initially certified CPN(C) in 1998. Chris has been a member of the Operating Room Nurses Association of Ontario (ORNAO) since 1990. Chris is a Past President of ORNAO and served on the ORNAC board as President Elect- ORNAO, 2003-2005, President- ORNAO, 2005-2007, and 2009-2011 as the Chair of the Registered Nurse First Assistant Network of Canada (RNFANC) ORNAC Affiliate group. Chris was a member of the ORNAC Standards Committee during each of these periods of service. Chris has practiced as a general duty Perioperative Nurse, a Perioperative Clinical Educator and a Perioperative Nurse Manager. Chris has implemented two computer applications within the Perioperative setting (ORSOS and PICIS) and has always had a passion for computers. Chris was recruited in 2013 to become the Pillar Chair of Research and Nursing Informatics and was asked to continue the role until 2017. As part of the mandate of this pillar, Chris chaired the 2014-2015 ORNAC website redesign committee. Chris served as a CoChair with the ORNAC Standards Committee 2015-2017 (Standards Validation Process). Chris continues to work with the Standards Committee in a resource capacity, and now as Pillar Chair for Professional Practice/Research.

 

 

Dr. Stacy Elliott, Sexual Medicine Physician, consultant and medical director, BC Center for Sexual Medicine and GF Strong Sexual Health Rehabilitation Service .
Dr. Stacy Elliott is a Sexual Medicine Physician whose interests lie in the sexual and reproductive consequences of medical or surgical problems, particularly neurological disability. She is a Clinical Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Urologic Sciences, a PI at International Collaboration of Repair Discoveries (ICORD), University of British Columbia. Dr. Elliott is an internationally recognized expert in sexual rehabilitation and fertility following spinal cord injury, and in 2012, received the QE II Jubilee medal for her work. In 2014, she was also awarded the Rick Hansen Difference Maker Award for her continuing work in sexual rehabilitation for those with neurological disability. Dr. Elliott participates on several national and international academic committees, advisory boards, guideline consensus and clinical practice panels. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters. She teaches undergrad medical students, occupational and physical therapists and medical residents at the University of British Columbia, and works with post-doctoral students in her research.

 


Dr. Karen Ethans is an associate professor at the University of Manitoba and is a physiatrist specializing in spasticity management. She has been treating patients’ spasticity for over 20 years at Winnipeg’s Health Sciences Centre Rehabilitation Hospital, as well as in outreach clinics in Northern Manitoba and in long-term care homes in Winnipeg. She treats spasticity with oral medications, baclofen pumps, and chemodenervation, including both botulinum toxin and phenol nerve blocks.

 


Dr. Nader Fallah is a senior biostatistician at the Praxis Spinal Cord Institute and adjunct professor in the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. His predominant area of interest is the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in neuroscience research. During his PhD, he was a fellow visitor at the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy, in 2003, and at Dalhousie University in 2006-2007. Upon completion of his PhD in July 2008 (from Tehran University of Medical Sciences), he continued his work at Dalhousie University as a postdoctoral fellow, and later completed his second postdoctoral training at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Fallah has been engaged in medical and health services research in collaboration with physicians and researchers since 2000. These studies have resulted in more than 75 publications in refereed methodological and medical journals. The main focus of his current research is to establish and develop an interdisciplinary research program by using artificial intelligence to improve quality of spinal cord injury research.

 

Farnoosh Farahani is a member of the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre within University Health Network. Farnoosh has been working in the area of spinal cord injury (SCI) rehabilitation since 2009 and has managed qualitative and quantitative research projects, national registries, participated in conferences and report out meetings, as well as collaborated with other acute and rehab sites across Canada. In her current role as evaluation manager, Farnoosh will be involved with the SCI Implementation & Evaluation Quality Care Consortium, supporting health indicator evaluation and quality improvement across rehabilitation sites in Ontario.

 


Dr. Michael G. Fehlings MD PhD FRCSC FACS FRSC FCAHS
is the Vice Chair Research for the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto and Senior Scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network. Dr. Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, a Neurosurgeon at Toronto Western Hospital, holds the Gerry and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, is a Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Fehlings was appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program (which he held until June 2012) and is currently Co-Director of the University of Toronto Spine Program. Dr. Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments to improve functional outcomes following spinal cord injury (SCI). He has published over 850 peer-reviewed articles (h-index 90) chiefly in the area of central nervous system injury and complex spinal surgery.
Dr. Fehlings’ seminal 1991 paper outlined the severe and lasting consequences of SCI due to a cascade of secondary injury mechanisms following the initial trauma. His work examining the use of regenerative approaches, including neural stem cells, to repair the injured nervous system has led to numerous international awards and has helped lead the field toward clinical translation in this area. He has cultivated a multi-disciplinary team of researchers in his laboratory with expertise in generating models of SCI, cell transplantation, behavioural testing, immunohistochemistry, electrophysiology and advanced imaging techniques. His work has major implications for spinal cord injured individuals, as relatively small improvements in function can have a large impact on patient quality of life. Recently, Dr. Fehlings’ work demonstrating that midcervical excitatory interneurons are essential for the maintenance of breathing in non- traumatic cervical SCI and critical for promoting respiratory recovery after traumatic SCI was published in Nature.

 

Julio C. Furlan, MD, LLB, MBA, PhD, MSc, FRCPC is a staff neurologist and a Clinician Investigator in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and the SCI Rehabilitation Program at the Lyndhurst Centre, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network, Affiliated Scientist at KITE, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Toronto. He is a trained head and neck surgeon from Brazil, who holds a MBA degree in Health Administration, an MSc degree in Clinical Epidemiology, and a PhD degree in Neuroanatomy. He completed residency training in Adult Neurology at University of Toronto in June 2014, and he completed a two-year clinical fellowship in Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and the University of Toronto in June 2016. Dr Furlan´s research has been focused on outcome measures (including clinical assessments, neuroimaging analysis, and neurophysiological assessments) and predictors of outcome (including sex and age) after traumatic and non-traumatic spinal cord injury. In addition he has interest and expertise in autonomic dysfunction after spinal cord injury and economic analyses.

 

Dr. Sara Guilcher (PT, PhD) is an Assistant Professor (tenure-track) at the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy and has cross-appointments to the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evaluation and Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Guilcher also has scientific appointments at ICES (ICES@UofT), and West Park Healthcare Centre. As a clinician scientist with a background in physical therapy, Dr. Guilcher is a Canadian Institutes for Health Research-funded Embedded Clinician Scientist working with Health Quality Ontario (Ontario, Canada) to improve transitions in care for populations with multimorbidity and disability. Using mixed-methods, Dr. Guilcher and her team are examining optimal medication management for persons with spinal cord injury/dysfunction, with the goal to improve medication self-management strategies and support.

Dr. Guilcher has a MSc in Physical Therapy from the University of Toronto, MSc in Psychology (Clinical) from Western University and PhD in Clinical Epidemiology- Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation from the University of Toronto. During her doctoral training, Dr. Guilcher completed two collaborative programs: (1) Ontario Training Collaborative Program in Health Services and Policy Research and (2) Collaborative Program in Women’s Health. Dr. Guilcher also completed two post-doctoral fellowships: Canadian Institutes for Health Research Strategic Training Initiative in Health Research Training Action For Health Equity Interventions (ACHIEVE) program at the Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario; and Health System Performance Research Network (University of Toronto, Ontario).

 

Charlie Giurleo is an Occupational Therapist in the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at Parkwood Institute Main St. Joseph’s Health Care London. He has had over 10 years of experience working as an occupational therapist in neurological, musculoskeletal and mental health rehabilitation. Charlie strongly believes in the importance of clinical and research integration, as he feels collaboration undoubtedly leads to enhanced patient care in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. Charlie has recently completed a course through the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Sexual Health Rehabilitation. He has also co-led the development and implementation of the SCI Sexual Health Practice at Parkwood.

 

 


Dr. Chester Ho is a Professor and Division Director of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Endowed Chair of Spinal Cord Injury Research at the University of Alberta; and Alberta Health Services (AHS) Edmonton Zone Section Chief of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and AHS Senior Medical Director for the Neurosciences, Rehabilitation & Vision Strategic Clinical Network.
Dr. Ho graduated from the Clinical School at the University of Cambridge in UK, before moving to the United States where he completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Harvard Medical School/Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation/University of Medicine & Dentistry New Jersey.
Dr. Ho has a special clinical and research interest in the rehabilitation of persons with spinal cord injury, specifically, on the health services delivery of persons with spinal cord injury, as well as the management and rehabilitation of complications following spinal cord injury, such as pressure injuries and use of functional electrical stimulation. He is particularly interested in the integration of research into clinical practice, and has numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on pressure injuries. He co-authored the Wounds Canada Best Practice Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Injuries, as well as the Consortium of Spinal Cord Medicine Clinical Practice Guidelines on Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment Following Spinal Cord Injury, 2nd edition.
In addition to his academic pursuit, Dr. Ho also holds a number of provincial and national leadership positions. He believes that the combination of his clinical, research and administrative positions will have good alignment to create positive impact on patient care and experience.

 

Jane Hsieh, M.Sc. has over 30 years in spinal cord injury (SCI) research through affiliations in academia, industry, and non-profit organizations. Her current role as Executive Director of the Accelerated Translational Program of Wings for Life includes managing a portfolio requiring up to date knowledge of SCI clinical trials from both scientific and operational perspectives. Involvement in large multi-centre drug trials in chronic SCI and many smaller but highly complex multi-centre trials in acute, chronic, drug, device, and biologic therapeutics has afforded Jane extensive experience in all aspects and types of clinical trials. This experience provides informed participation in Spinal Cord Outcomes Partnership Endeavor (SCOPE), Spinal Cord Injury Trials Toolkit (SCITT) and Spinal Trials Understanding Design and Implementation (STUDI).

 

 

Anita Kaiser, BSc MSc became a quadriplegic as a result of a motor vehicle crash in 1996. She went on to complete a Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Science through the University of Toronto. Anita has been Director of Research for the Canadian Spinal Research Organization since 2005 and a board member of the Canada International Scientific Exchange Program and Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. Anita is also a member of the North American Spinal Cord Injury Consortium and sits on the Project Review Committee. Anita works as a Research Consultant and Assistant at KITE, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network. Anita has been a Peer Support Volunteer with SCI Ontario and an Injury Survivor Presenter with Parachute’s No Regrets program for 20 years. Anita has been a strong advocate within the community to help educate her peers on healthy living, promote inclusion and increase active participation in research, and address systemic barriers within society that prevent people living with SCI from living the life they choose.

 


Dr. Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan is a Clinician Scientist in the field of upper limb assessment and recovery and spine pathology at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Lyndhurst Centre and is also Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto, Department of Physical Therapy. Her research is oriented to establishing methods to quantify neurological change after injury and studying neuro-restorative methods to enhance and optimize function for those with neurological impairment. She has recently transitioned into a new role at TRI where she is Clinic/Scientific Lead of the Rocket Family Upper Extremity Clinic. Within this platform she has created her lab, called the Upper Extremity Neuro-Restorative and Innovations Lab. Her role is to build a strong research foundation that will propel the clinic, while enhancing access to care for patients with SCI, and implementing new innovations and technologies. Dr. Kalsi-Ryan provides academic teaching within the Neurosurgical Resident training and Physical Therapy programs at the University of Toronto. She is the founder of her own company, which manufactures the GRASSP; she acts as a consultant for neurological trials worldwide. Her interests include: outcome measurement, upper limb recovery, traumatic and non traumatic SCI, quantification of neurological disorders.

Jacqueline D. Kathnelson is a fifth year PhD Candidate in Kinesiology and Health Science at York University who researches in the area of sexuality after spinal cord injury. She has a Master’s of Science from Brock University and has also studied at the University of British Columbia. Jacqueline has examined the experience of sexuality for women who were concerned about urinary incontinence as a result of spinal cord injury. Her current work focuses on the psychological and emotional experience of sexuality for men after spinal cord injury as well as the current state of resources available to support sexual adjustment post-injury from the perspective of both the patient and the health care provider. Her work has recently been featured in a research-focused newsletter and podcast.

 

 

Dr. Eldon Loh (MD, FRCPC) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Western University, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and Consultant Physiatrist at Parkwood Institute and the St. Joseph’s Health Centre Pain Clinic in London, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Loh is also an Associate Scientist at the Lawson Health Research Institute and medical director of the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation program at Parkwood Institute. He completed undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in 2001, and medical school at Western University in 2005. He completed residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Alberta in 2010 and a clinical fellowship in interventional pain management at HealthPointe Medical Centre in 2011. His clinical and research interests include interventional pain management and chronic neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury. He is chair of the panel that developed the Canadian Best Practice Guidelines for Neuropathic Pain after spinal cord injury (the CanPainSCI guidelines). He is also chair of the research division of the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (CAPMR).

 

 


Shane McCullum , MScPT, is currently the Clinical Trials Manager at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation (SCCR) in Fredericton, New Brunswick. He has worked with patients with neurological conditions for 10 years, beginning as a clinician and as a researcher for the past 8 years. Shane has been a coordinator for the Rick Hansen SCI Registry at SCCR since 2011, and has been a part of the Standing and Walking Measures working group since its formation. He has worked on several projects during his years as a researcher, but has a special interest in research into mobility improvements and functional electrical stimulation (FES).

 

Amie (Jackson) McLain, MD, Chair, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine.
Dr. Amie (Jackson) McLain has been conducting research and clinical care activities involving spinal cord injured individuals for several decades. She is currently Chair of the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Dr. McLain is Project Director for the Regional Model UAB Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Care System grant (2000 – 2021) and holds the rank of Senior Scientist in the UAB Centers for Exercise Medicine and Comprehensive Neuroscience Center. She served for many years on the board of the American Spinal Injury Association becoming President of the organization in 2008-2009.  One of her proudest accomplishments has been establishing and directing the nation’s first Women’s Clinic for the Disabled which was founded in 1989 at UAB’’s Spain Rehabilitation Center.  She was one of the few clinical investigators at that time to realize the lack of information and services for women with disabilities.  This lead to many collaborative studies and partnerships across the country to emphasize and study this important concern.  Dr McLain served on the NIH Committee for Health of Women with Disabilities and has been the Principal Investigator for many inter-academic center collaborative research projects, such as Gynecological and Obstetrical Complications in Females with Spinal Cord Injury; Effects of menopause after SCI: A Comparison Study of Women with SCI, Able-bodied Women, and Men with SCI; and A Prospective Study of the Pregnancy Experience after SCI. She authored the chapter “Women with Disabilities” in the well-known obstetric textbook, Obstetric medicine: Management of Medical Disorders in Pregnancy, (Cohen) 6th edition, and the was author of the chapters “Women’s Health Issues” in the 2nd and 3rd editions of Spinal Cord Medicine (Lin and Kirshblum & Lin.) She is also interested in secondary complications after SCI and has published several research studies such as Respiratory Complications after Acute SCI. She has participated in many SCI-related trials for NIH, NIDILRR, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and industry. Several awards have been bestowed to her such as the American Academy of PM&R Distinguished Clinician Award, Association of Academic Physiatrist Distinguished Academician Award, Martha Meyers Role Model Award, American Spinal Injury Association Inaugural Fellow and Spina Bifida Association of America’s Special Recognition for Service.  Dr. McLain was instrumental in founding an interdisciplinary transition clinic for young adults with spina bifida, and also a clinic for patients with transverse myelitis. She continues to teach and mentor medical students, residents, and neuroscience postgraduate students and enjoys a robust clinical practice.

 


Greta Mighty is a transformational leader with a keen interest in patient safety, quality care, and enhancing the patient experience. With proven leadership skills in developing and engaging effective teams; Greta is instrumental in the planning, implementing, embedding of quality indicators, and accreditations standards in clinical practice.

 

Sandra Mills, BRLS, TRS, MEd. Patient Education and Engagement Lead
Sandra has had many diverse employment opportunities including building and managing Canada’s first Peer Mentoring in Employment Program for people with spinal cord injury; building a fitness centre for people with SCI, designing and implementing a first-of-its-kind national injury prevention program in snow sports and teaching in a post-graduate academic program. Working in Spinal Cord Rehabilitation at University Health Network in Toronto with a Master of Education, Sandra coordinates the development and implementation of SCI education tools, resources and strategies for patients, families and caregivers. Sandra builds staff capacity in delivering effective and timely patient and family education. She has developed a large number of training and mentoring workshops to enhance skills in the areas of plain language, health literacy, cultural competence, adult education and health care communication. Sandra is the co-lead of the Teach Back SCI PODS initiative which is an effective means of centering health literacy principles in the patient experience.

James Milligan is a family physician at the Centre for Family Medicine (CFFM) in Kitchener-Waterloo. He is Director of the CFFM Mobility Clinic, an interprofessional primary care clinic that helps individuals with SCI and other physical disabilities and their primary care providers. As well as clinical work, the team does research into SCI and primary care. Dr. Milligan is an Associate Clinical Professor McMaster University Department of Family Medicine, Adjunct Clinical Professor Western University Department of Family Medicine, Clinical Specialist in Mobility and Falls Schlegel Research Institute for Aging.

 

 


Colleen O’Connell
Truly an East-coaster, and never far from water, Colleen completed medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Dalhousie University. She specializes in neuro-rehabilitation, and is Research Chief at New Brunswick’s Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation. Despite no medical school in Fredericton, she holds appointments at Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine and the University of New Brunswick Faculty of Kinesiology. Believing in the strength of collaboration, or perhaps having difficulty saying no, she is a member of many networks: she is Co-Chair of the Canadian ALS Research Network, the Rick Hansen Institute, Canadian SCI Knowledge Mobilization Network, Canadian Neurologic Diseases Network, Canadian Neuropulmonary Consortium, Atlantic Mobility Action Project, Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids. Research interests and outputs are broad, and generally reflect tendency to being an early adopter, so include treatments and applied technologies for mobility impairment and function. Development of best practice recommendations are priorities, and she contributes as member of the PVA SCI Guidelines Consortium, Heart and Stroke’s Best Practices Advisory Committee, MS BEST guidelines group, ALS Canada Best Practice Recommendations Working Group and and the Canadian Home Mechanical Ventilation Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee. International health work predates medical training. With few options for rehabilitation professionals to contribute through established organizations, along with husband Jeff Campbell she founded Team Canada Healing Hands in 2002, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing rehabilitation care and training in developing countries. She has had opportunity to work in areas of rehabilitation care delivery, training, and research in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia, and in disaster response in Haiti and Nepal. She is a member of the International Spinal Cord Society External Relations Committee and the International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine Disaster Committee. She has co-authored numerous publications on and provided technical guidance to the World Health Organization on rehabilitation in the humanitarian field. She is a hockey mom of her teenage sons Sam and Vénel. In another life, she would have been an adventure travel agent.

 

 


Olinda Habib Perez completed her B.Sc. in Kinesiology at the University of Ottawa and is a Registered Kinesiologist. She continued her M.Sc. at the University of Ottawa, which examined the adaptation of infant bouncers in different jolly jumper environments. Olinda joined the SCI-Mobility Lab with Dr. Kristin Musselman in late 2017 as a Post-Doctoral Fellow after completing her PhD from the University of Toronto. Her doctoral work focused on understanding inter-limb coordination in balance control and how this was altered in individuals with traumatic brain injury. She has been leading a study that investigates the causes and consequences of falls across the continuum of care in individuals with subacute spinal cord injury, and has examined the balance control in individuals with chronic spinal cord injury.

 

 


Dr. JoAnne Savoie is a licensed Clinical Psychologist at the Stan Cassidy Center for Rehabilitation. She completed her doctoral studies in Clinical Psychology at the University of Ottawa in 1999, followed by a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology at McLean Hospital and Harvard University in Massachusetts in 2001. In 2005, she began work at the Stan Cassidy Center for Rehabilitation (SCCR). At SCCR, she provides neuropsychological services in French and English to individuals with various neurological illnesses and injuries, including stroke, brain injury and neurodegenerative illnesses. Her work also includes program evaluation and research. Dr. Savoie also has a particular interest in psychology training issues. She is currently the Director of Training at the Horizon Health Clinical Psychology Residency Program, she was a member of the Accreditation Panel of the Canadian Psychological Association that oversees training standards in the professional psychology community, and she serves as site visitor for professional programs seeking accreditation. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Savoie is a clinical associate at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) where she supervises practicum students, serves as the community representative on the UNB Clinical Training Committee and occasionally teaches courses in Adult or Neuropsychological Assessment in the clinical doctoral program. Finally, she has a small private practice that offers neuropsychological assessments to adults with various neurological illness and injuries.

 

Christine Short
I completed my degree in medicine at Dalhousie University in 1994. I completed my fellowship (FRCPC) in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Dalhousie (June 13, 1999). During my residency training I developed a particular interest in Spinal Cord injury/neurorehabilitation and pain management. I have been a fulltime medical staff member in the Dept. of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the QEII Health Sciences Centre since September of 1999. I have a cross appointment with the Division of Neurosurgery. I am an Associate professor and the Head/Chief for the Department of Medicine Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine and the Nova Scotia Health Authority (Central Zone). My clinical duties include inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation care for persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) and disease, Multiple Sclerosis, spasticity and pain disorders. At Dalhousie University Medical School I participate in the education of both undergraduate medical students and residents in training; as well as continuing medical education sessions for physicians around the province. I served as the residency training director for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation program from June 2005- September 2008 and continue to be active in our residency training program. I have several active research projects and my research focus is on improving function in patients with neurological disorders with a focus on mobility, pain and spasticity management. I served as Division Chief for Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and co-Lead for the Rehabilitation Program from 2008-2017. In September 2017 I was appointed Head of the Department of Medicine by the Faculty of Medicine Dalhousie and the Health Authority. My interests in rehabilitation medicine are broad. I have developed clinical expertise in SCI medicine, Multiple Sclerosis management, spasticity management and the treatment of chronic pain in neurologic and musculoskeletal disorders. I am a fellow of the American College of Physicians. I was a member of the Board for the Canadian Paraplegic Association, Nova Scotia From 1999 to 2011 and continue active in supporting that group. I am a member of the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and served as a member of our Royal College Specialty Committee for PM and R from 2005 to 2013. I currently serve as a member on the Royal College Subspecialty Committee for Pain Medicine. I am a member of The International Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, The American Paraplegic Society, The International Spinal cord injury society, The Nova Scotia Medical Society, the Canadian Medical Society and the Nova Scotia Neurotrauma Society. In addition to my work, I am a wife and mother of three. My Credentials should read: Christine Short MD, FRCPC, FACP Associate Professor Head/Chief of Department of Medicine Dalhousie University, Faculty of Medicine and Central Zone Nova Scotia Health Authority

 

Hardeep Singh is an occupational therapist and a third-year PhD candidate in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. Hardeep’s research focuses on using qualitative methods to understand the causes and psychosocial consequences of falls on the lives of individuals living with spinal cord injury. Dr. Olinda Habib Perez is a registered kinesiologist and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Her research focuses on the motor and balance recovery, and prevention of falls after traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury. Dr. Kristin Musselman is a physical therapist, Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – Lyndhurst Centre and Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on the recovery of walking and balance and prevention of falls after spinal cord injury.

 


Dr Karen Marguerite Smith MD FRCPC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
Professor, Department of PMR, Faculty of Health Sciences Queen’s Unviersity

Dr Smith served as Department Head 1998-2008 and as Associate Dean of Continuing Professional and Faculty Development 2011-2018, Queen’s University. She is affiliated with Providence Care Hospital and Kingston Health Sciences Centre. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Diplomat of the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine and the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation with subspecialty certification in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine attained in 2003 and recertified in 2013. Clinical practice focuses on Acquired Brain and Spinal Cord Injury including Neuromuscular Disease. Research interests are in the area of primary care for persons with disabilities, exercise guideline development, wound care education and neurogenic bowel management.

 


Janelle Unger is a physiotherapist doing her PhD at the University of Toronto in Rehabilitation Sciences. She is interested in the development of novel methods of improving outcomes for people who have experienced a spinal cord injury. She is currently studying the effects of a newly developed training program to improve reactive balance in this population.

Randy Upper MSW, RSW Randy has been a paraplegic since a motor vehicle accident in 1988. Since that time, he has embarked upon several personal, educational and career pursuits. He received his Bachelor’s in Psychology from Brock University and his Master’s in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. Randy went on to work as an individual and group counsellor at the University of Waterloo. He has also worked as a life skills counsellor in St Catharines, assisting individuals with acquired brain injuries maximize their independence and integrate them back into the community. Randy has fulfilled a variety of roles while working for the Canadian Paraplegic Association (Spinal Cord Injury Canada) including information coordinator, program development, peer support coordinator and peer support volunteer. He has done contract work as a research assistant at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Lyndhurst Centre, being involved in studies exploring such things as quality of life post SCI. Randy enjoys public speaking and has presented both formally and informally to groups of all sizes on such topics as risk awareness, motivation, as well as sexuality and disability. He has also lectured at universities and for the Guelph Sexuality Conference. Most recently Randy worked as a social worker at the W. Ross Macdonald School for the blind and deafblind. He is a lifelong athlete, transitioning from varsity rower to becoming a member of the Canadian Handcycling Team. He was nationally ranked 2nd in Canada and his accomplishments include placing 1st in the Boston Marathon, 3rd at the New York City Marathon, 5th at the World Championships in Time Trial and 6th at the World Championships in Road Race. Helping people to overcome physical and mental health barriers, as well as addressing the lack of services in remote areas, Randy is now looking to provide counseling to people with SCI and other traumas via telephone and point to point video conferencing.

 

 

Dr Jan van der Scheer is currently based at the University of British Columbia (UBC) Okanagan as part of the Southern Medical Program, and affiliated to Loughborough University (UK) as a Visiting Fellow. He completed his BSc and MSc in Human Movement Sciences at VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and then obtained his PhD in medical/rehabilitation sciences from the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. From 2015 to 2018, Dr van der Scheer has worked within the School of Sport, Exercise and Health Sciences as part of the National Centre for Sport and Exercise Medicine and the Peter Harrison Centre for Disability Sport, including work placements at Wakayama Medical University (Japan), McMaster University and UBC. Dr van der Scheer’s guideline development work focuses on people with disabilities and their health care providers to benefit from improved fitness, health and well-being. Specifically, this work focuses on the development, dissemination and implementation of internationally-accepted, evidence-based exercise guidelines for adults with SCI. Dr van der Scheer for example works on developing clinical practice guidelines for screening body composition in people with SCI, and currently has a leading role in developing functional electrical stimulation (FES) cycling guidelines for adults with SCI. For this project, he works closely with Dr Chester Ho (see below), Dr Vicky Tolfrey (UK), Dr Glen Davis (Australia) and research, clinical and community partners from various continents. Dr. Chester Ho is a Professor and Division Director of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Endowed Chair of Spinal Cord Injury Research at the University of Alberta. Dr. Ho graduated from the Clinical School at the University of Cambridge in UK, before moving to the United States where he completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the Harvard Medical School/Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and fellowship in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation/University of Medicine & Dentistry New Jersey. Dr. Ho has a special clinical and research interest in the rehabilitation of persons with spinal cord injury, specifically, on the health services delivery of persons with spinal cord injury, as well as the management and rehabilitation of complications following spinal cord injury, such as pressure injuries and use of functional electrical stimulation. He is particularly interested in the integration of research into clinical practice, and has numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on pressure injuries. He co-authored the Wounds Canada Best Practice Recommendations for the Prevention and Management of Pressure Injuries, as well as the Consortium of Spinal Cord Medicine Clinical Practice Guidelines on Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment Following Spinal Cord Injury, 2nd edition. In addition to his academic pursuit, Dr. Ho also holds a number of provincial and national leadership positions related to pressure injury. He is co-chair of the Alberta Health Services Pressure Injury/Ulcer Prevention committee, and he also co-chaired the revision of the Canadian Spinal Cord Injury Pressure Ulcer Strategy, which was sponsored by the Rick Hansen Institute and Ontario NeuroTrauma Foundation.

 

Kristen Walden is currently the National Clinical Liaison for the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) and a physiotherapist at Vancouver Coastal Health. The focus of her research involvement and clinical practice has been in the area of spinal cord injury (SCI). Clinically, she has practiced in the area of SCI for over 17 years, working with individuals in intensive care, acute care, as well as both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation settings. In her role at RHI Kristen works on a number of research and best practice initiatives including the development and implementation of the Standing and Walking Assessment Tool, the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR; a national Canadian initiative at 30 acute care and rehabilitation facilities that aims to collect standardized data on individuals who sustain traumatic spinal cord injuries, as well as link clinicians, researchers, and health care administrators with the goal of improving both research and clinical practice in SCI.), and the Canadian SCI Clinician Network. Additionally she leads an RHI collaboration with ISCoS on the development of a freely available web-based International Standards for Neurological Classification of SCI (ISNCSCI) algorithm and is a member of the American Spinal Cord Injury Associations International Standards Committee. Kristen also provides clinical training on the use of the ISNCSCI according to the guidelines provided by ASIA for clinicians across Canada, and to date has provided training to over 250 clinicians.

 


Matheus J. Wiest, BSc, MSc, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow member of the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at the KITE Toronto Rehab, within University Health Network. After completing a BSc in Physical Education at the Federal University of Santa Maria with specialization in Biomechanics, Dr. Wiest completed his MSc in Human Movement Sciences at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul. During his MSc, he was granted by the Emerging Leaders in the Americas program to visit the Human Neurophysiology laboratory at the University of Alberta, where he later did his PhD. His PhD was followed by a one-year postdoctoral fellowship in neuromechanics at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. Throughout his career, he received national and international funding; he currently holds the prestigious Health Systems Impact Fellowship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. His research interests are related to: 1) understanding and improving muscle and bone function and health after a loss of mobility from injury, disease and ageing, and 2) improving the quality of rehabilitation care for people living with a spinal cord injury.

 

Dr Yang is a professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta, and a member of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute, and the Neuroscience and Mental Health Institute at the same university. She is a physical therapist with doctoral and post-doctoral training in biomechanics and neurosciences. Her research interest centre on how the nervous system controls walking in people, and ways to retrain walking in individuals with neurological insults. Current interests include retraining walking in adults with spinal cord injury, and early, activity-intensive intervention for children at risk of developing cerebral palsy.

 


Dr. Jose Zariffa is a Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. degree in electrical and biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto. He then completed post-doctoral fellowships at the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries (ICORD) in Vancouver, Canada, and at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Zariffa’s research focuses on developing technology for upper limb neurorehabilitation. He is a recipient of an Ontario Early Researcher Award.