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Brian C.F. Chan
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. James Milligan, BSc.P.T., MD, CCFP is a family physician with the Centre for Family Medicine (CFFM) Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He is director of the CFFM Mobility Clinic, an interprofessional primary care clinic with a focus to improve primary care for individuals with spinal cord injury and other physical disabilities. The clinic is dedicated to clinical research in SCI in primary care, working closely with the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) and Rick Hansen Institute (RHI). He is an Associate Clinical Professor in the McMaster University Department of Family Medicine and Adjunct Clinical Professor Western University Department of Family Medicine. He is Clinical Specialist for Mobility and Falls with University of Waterloo-Schlegel Research Institute for Aging (UW-RIA). 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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).
Dr. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.