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Milad Alizadeh-Meghrazi

Milad earned his BASc and MASc degrees from the University of Toronto at the department of Mechanical Engineering and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). His research interests span various areas such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD), finite element analysis (FEA), bio-signal processing, physiological control systems and biomechanics. During his tenure as a research engineer at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (TRI), he collaborated with physicians, physio-therapists and fellow researchers studying neuro-muscular and skeletal issues in the spinal cord injury (SCI) population. He subsequently applied engineering principles for the development and testing of technologies for quality of life improvements for individuals with SCI. Overseeing the R&D efforts at Myant, Milad’s vision is to continue this path and make accessible many technologies which have been proven in the realm of research and academia but have yet to make the breakthrough into everyday usage. Go to top

Peter Athanasopoulos
Senior Manager of Public Policy and Government Relations, Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

Peter has devoted his life to building relationships benefiting people living with a spinal cord injury (SCI) for the past 16 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
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Dr. Aly Bailey

Aly Bailey is a PhD Candidate at Brock University currently completing her last year of studies. Her main focus of research is about body image experiences across a range of individuals including university students, people with physical disabilities, and older adults. Her Master’s thesis explored positive body image in people with spinal cord injury. In her PhD dissertation she worked alongside people with disability, chronic health conditions, and older adults to build a positive body image program to teach individuals how to better manage their body image experiences. She hopes to continue her research as a postdoctorate next year.

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Dr. Justine Baron

Dr. Justine Baron graduated with an MSc in Health Promotion and Psychology in 2008 (University of Nottingham, UK) and a PhD in Health Psychology in 2014 (University College London, UK). Two of her three years as a Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Ottawa were funded by the Rick Hansen Institute. She currently works as a Senior Research Associate at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Her program of work focuses on the design and evaluation of health behaviour change interventions, with a strong focus on patient self-management. Her projects have involved the identification of barriers/facilitators to patient and health care professional behaviours, including skin care behaviours in people with a spinal cord injury; the use of quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods to assess the effects of health interventions (e.g. smoking cessation and weight loss programs, telehealth, and accreditation in spinal cord injury units in Canada); and several systematic reviews on health intervention effectiveness and fidelity assessment methods.

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David Berlowitz

David Berlowitz is a physiotherapist with the Victorian Respiratory Support Service who holds the University of Melbourne Chair in Physiotherapy at Austin Health. David was awarded his PhD in 2004 in which he discovered that acute cervical spinal cord injury results in sudden and severe obstructive sleep apnoea. David leads an international team of research collaborators, students and staff who examine the causes and treatments of sleep and breathing disorders in neuromuscular disease, especially in Spinal Cord Injury and Motor Neurone Disease. David has published over 80 papers and attracted over $10million in research funding support. David’s other research interests include chronic disease management, registry development and program evaluation.

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Gerald S. Bilsky, MD

Dr. Gerald Bilsky has been practicing Physiatry for over 25 years. He is currently on staff at Shepherd Center in Atlanta. He has served as the Outpatient Medical Director as well as Associate Medical Director of Brain Injury Services. He is a clinical assistant professor at the Emory University School of Medicine. He co-chairs the Ethics Committee at Shepherd Center. Dr. Bilsky has spoken locally and nationally regarding the use of Intrathecal Baclofen and is involved in its research and therapy. Dr. Bilsky graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brown University and then from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Rochester. Dr. Bilsky’s current practice at Shepherd Center focuses on patients with Acquired Brain Injury and Spinal Cord Injury. He is also a devoted chocoholic.

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Anthony S. Burns, MD

Anthony S. Burns graduated from the Yale University School of Medicine in 1994, then completed combined residency training in Internal Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore – Johns Hopkins University (1994 – 1999), followed by a spinal cord injury (SCI) fellowship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (1999 – 2000). He is a past participant in the National Institutes of Health funded Rehabilitation Medicine Scientist Training Program. From 2000 – 2007, he was Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia PA; and adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Drexel University, Philadelphia PA. Since 2007, Dr. Burns has held a clinical appointment in the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Program of the University Health Network – Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, the largest program of its kind in Canada. He is also an Associate Professor in the Division of Physiatry, University of Toronto. His clinical and research interests focus on the clinical management of spinal cord injury and related secondary complications.

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Dr. Rebecca Charbonneau

Dr. Rebecca Charbonneau is a clinical assistant professor at the University of Calgary. She is a physiatrist primarily focused in spinal cord injury. Dr. Charbonneau received her undergraduate degree at McMaster University followed by medical education at the University of Western Ontario. She completed residency training at Dalhousie University. Dr. Charbonneau’s main clinical interests are in the field of spinal cord injury, including pressure ulcers, neuropathic pain, FES, exoskeleton, and spasticity.

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Susan Charlifue, PhD, FISCoS, FACRM

Dr. Charlifue is a Senior Principal Investigator (PI) at Craig Hospital and has over 40 years of experience in SCI research and quality assurance, as well as post-graduate work focusing on research methodologies, epidemiology and a wide range of statistical techniques and qualitative methods. She completed her doctorate in Health and Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado, Denver in 2004. She is the current Co-Project Director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Spinal Injury System, and also a co-investigator on a number of other SCI studies. She has successfully managed and completed seven major collaborative investigations of the long-term consequences of SCI in the US and Great Britain, and has or is currently serving as PI on studies of caregiving in SCI funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, the Department of Defense and the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation. Dr. Charlifue is Chair of the Program Committee of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS), and serves on the Editorial Committee of that organization as well. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Spinal Injury Association. She is a member of the editorial board for the journal Spinal Cord. Dr. Charlifue also is a member of the Executive Committee of the International SCI Data Sets. She has been recognized as a Fellow by both ISCoS and the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine She has authored or co-authored over 90 manuscripts and book chapters, and has been invited to make numerous presentations at national and international professional meetings and symposia.


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Michael Clarke

Michael grew up in Toronto and served 10 years in the Canadian Armed Forces in the reserves and regular force. A motorcycle accident in 1985 resulted in a t5 spinal cord injury.

Following his injury Michael returned to school to study computer programming. Since then Michael has worked as a mainframe programmer, served on the board of directors of SCI Ontario and Toronto Rehab, raced in 50 marathons including 6 Boston Marathons and become the first person with a disability to be licensed as a glider pilot.

During the day Michael works as a web developer for the Globe and Mail and in his spare time wins medals at the Invictus Games.


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Stephanie J. Cornell

Stephanie is a physiotherapist in the SCI Rehabilitation Program at Parkwood Institute, SJHC and is the clinical co-lead of the research to practice (R2P) team. Ms. Cornell manages and conducts training for robotic modalities (Exoskeleton and Lokomat) and manual body-weight support treadmill therapies at Parkwood Institute and also teaches at Western University in the Physical Therapy program. She has a significant interest in understanding how various activity-based therapeutic approaches might be best utilized in clinical practice to achieve the best possible outcomes and has established a Community of Practice approach to achieve these aims.

Position: Physiotherapist
Organization: Parkwood Institute, SJHC
Phone: 519-685-4292 ext 41931

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B. Cathy Craven

Dr. Cathy Craven is the Medical Lead of the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Program at University Health Network’s  Lyndhurst Centre, a Senior Scientist in the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Institutes of Health Policy Management and Evaluation and Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto. Dr Craven’s clinical and research expertise is in the prevention and treatment of secondary health conditions among individuals living with spinal cord injury and their related health service needs. Her recent work has focused on the associations between changes in body composition and multimorbidity among individuals with chronic spinal cord injury. Dr. Craven led production of E-scan atlas “Capturing Capacity in Canadian SCI Rehabilitation and co-leads the SCI-HIGH knowledge translation project to develop quality indicators of SCI rehabilitation care by 2020. She has been the Scientific Chair of the 1-7th Canadian National Spinal Cord Injury Conference Dr. Craven leads the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation funded RoBaCO trial (NCT # NCT03113994) and chairs the Rick Hansen Institute’s CARE Committee. Dr Craven has published over 170 articles, with 3459 citations, an H-index of 31, and a i10 index of 62. Dr Craven was the 1997 CAPMR Essay Contest Winner, 1998 CPRDF Fellowship Award recipient, Member of the Research Committee from 2005-2011, and Chair of the Research Committee from 2012-2016. Dr Craven is grateful for the vote of confidence and an appreciative award of merit recipient.


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Susan Cross

Sue Cross is a Physiotherapist at the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK. Sue works in the inpatient rehabilitation team and also on a number of research projects at the centre. She has a special interest in obstructive sleep apnoea in SCI, having been the research physiotherapist on a several research projects in this area.

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John F. Ditunno, Jr. M.D.

Dr. Ditunno is the former (1978- 2006) Project Director of the Regional Spinal Cord Injury Model System Center grant at Thomas Jefferson University and Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Jefferson Medical College (JMC). He is past chairman of the Department and Mitchie Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at JMC, where he served for 28 years. He retired 21 years ago from clinical practice to devote all his time to the Spinal Cord Injury Center and pursue research, particularly multicenter trials, recently the history of PM&R and mentoring of residents and faculty. His major research interests are motor recovery, functional prognosis, medical complications (e.g. deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary emboli prevention, atelectasis and pneumonia), multicenter studies and outcome measures in spinal cord injury (SCI). He has published over one hundred and sixty peer reviewed articles, in addition to book chapters primarily in SCI. During a sabbatical in Italy in 1997-98 he studied sculpture and also developed an international multicenter study on a walking impairment index for SCI (WISCI). Upon his return, he continued as principle investigator of the Model SCI Center until 2006. He currently participates in drug and physical training studies and continues studies on the validation of the WISCI scale. Dr. Ditunno has served many national organizations in his field of interest and is past president of American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA), the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP), and the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (AAPMR) and past chairman of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He has served on the Advisory Board of National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research of the National Institutes of Health, the Advisory Board of the Center for Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Center for Disease Control and is past chair of the Scientific Committee of International Spinal Cord Society (ISCOS) and the Advisory Panel for ICORD. Recognition for Dr. Ditunno’s contributions include the Krusen Award from the AAPMR, the Donald Monroe Lecture from the American Paraplegia Society, the Heiner Sell Lecture and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Spinal Injury Association, the Erdman Lecture from the Association of Academic Physiatrists, the Shaffery Award from Saint Joseph’s University, the John Stanley Coulter Lecture from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. He received the International Society of Spinal Cord (ISCOS) Silver Medal Award in 2008 and the Sir Ludwig Guttmann Lecture 2009, the two highest awards from that Society. In 2010, he was honored by ASIA as one of the first 7 presidents of that society entitled “The Magnificent Seven”.


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V. Reggie Edgerton, Ph.D.

Dr. V. Reggie Edgerton received his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from Michigan State University. He has been at the University of California, Los Angeles, since 1968.


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Karen Ethans

Dr. Karen Ethans is a Physiatrist and Service Chief of Winnipeg’s Spinal Cord Injury Program, Associate Professor at the University of Manitoba, and Director of the Clinical Spinal Cord Injury Research Program at the Health Sciences Centre. She did her residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Dalhousie University, and is a fellow of the Royal College of Canada in the same. Dr. Ethans has successfully passed the American Board exams in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation as well as the subspecialty exams in Spinal Cord Injury. She has extensive experience with Spinal Cord Injury and symptom management, secondary prevention, and research, in particular with both clinical experience and research in the area of cannabinoids, neurogenic bladder and bowel, spasticity, and neuropathic pain. She is recognized for her expertise in managing spasticity and neuropathic pain with cannabinoids, and has spoken as an invited speaker on this topic at both local and international meetings regarding the same. Dr. Colleen O’Connell completed medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland and residency in PM&R at Dalhousie University. She specializes in neurorehabilitation and is Research Chief at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in New Brunswick, holding faculty appointments with Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine and University of New Brunswick Faculty of Kinesiology. Her research and scholarly activities include mobility, pain and spasticity management, as well as clinical practice guidelines development. She a member of the Canadian ALS Clinical Research Network, the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids, the Canadian Neuromuscular Diseases Network, and the Rick Hansen Institute Clinical Research team. In addition to her clinical and research practice, Colleen is founder and chair of Team Canada Healing Hands, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing rehabilitation care and training in developing countries.

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Heather Flett
Heather Flett is the Advanced Practice Leader for Spinal Cord Rehabilitation at University Health Network in Toronto. She has 19 years of experience in the field of spinal cord rehabilitation working as a Physical Therapist for 8 years prior to her current role. In her Advanced Practice Leader role, Heather supports clinical research integration and leads projects to advance best practices in SCI rehabilitation. She is a Lecturer in the Department of Physical Therapy at University of Toronto and completed an MSc in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science focusing on walking outcomes following incomplete spinal cord injury. Heather’s expertise is in the area of walking, best practice implementation, and health service delivery and outcomes in spinal cord injury. Heather is the co-lead of the Teach Back SCI PODS initiative and is the Toronto site co-lead of SCI Knowledge Mobilization Network which focuses on best practice implementation in the prevention of secondary complications following SCI. She is also a Toronto site co-investigator for the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Registry and the SCI Care Indicators projects and has co-authored the skin integrity and walking chapter of the SCI E-Scan atlas. She has co-authored several peer-reviewed journal articles, abstracts, 2 book chapters, and has presented at numerous spinal cord injury and rehabilitation conferences.

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Julio C. Furlan, MD, LLB, MBA, MSc, PhD, FRCPC

Dr. Furlan 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, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Toronto. He recently completed five years of residency training in Adult Neurology at University of Toronto in June 2014. Most recently he completed a two-year clinical fellowship in Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Sunnybrook Hospital and the University of Toronto (2014 to June 2016).

Dr Furlan has extensive training and research expertise. 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. In the past, Dr. Furlan has worked as an Associate Research Scientist in the Department of Genetics and Development, Toronto Western Research Institute, University Health Network from 2007 to 2012. Dr. Furlan has also been an Adjunct Scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network from 2009-2016, inclusive.

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. Furlan has published 75 peer-reviewed papers and 14 book chapters, and received 43 awards over the past 15 years.

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Julie Gagliardi

Julie is the coordinator of the Regional Rehabilitation Program at Parkwood Institute, SJHC and is responsible for both inpatient and outpatient services for persons with spinal cord injury and amputation and also for inpatients with acquired brain injury. Ms. Gagliardi has developed a very positive work environment that encourages innovation and front-line engagement and that also supports patient-focused approaches to service delivery.

Position: Coordinator
Organization: Parkwood Institute, SJHC
Phone: 519-685-4292 ext 42302

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Dany Gagnon, PT, PhD

Dany Gagnon, PT, PhD is an associate professor at the School of Rehabilitation at the Université de Montréal and a researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR). His research work predominantly focuses on the assessment and training of various functional mobility activities (e.g. transfers, wheelchair propulsion, and walking) among individuals with sensorimotor impairments. His research work also involves the use of various biomechanical (e.g. kinematics, kinetics, electromyography, dynamometry), physiological (e.g. cardiorespiratory requirements) and imaging approaches (e.g. quantitative imaging Ultrasonography) or of novel rehabilitation technologies. He is the co-Director of the Pathokinesiology Laboratory of the CRIR located at the Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montreal which is an installation of the CIUSSS CIUSSS Centre-Sud-de-l’ile-de-Montréal. He co-chairs the Initiative for the Development of New Technologies and Practices in Rehabilitation funded by the LRH Foundation and co-lead the Rehabilitation Interventions for Individuals with a SCI in the Community research team funded by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and the Quebec Rehabilitation Research Network. He was recently awarded a John R. Evans Leaders Fund by the Canada Foundation for Innovation to support a research infrastructure to enable new scientific advances on wearable robotic exoskeleton systems for overground walking.

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Martha Garcia

Martha is a PhD Candidate at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto. Upon completion of her BSc in Biomedical Engineering at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, she joined Prof. Milos Popovic for her graduate studies. During her MASc, Martha developed an invasive brain-machine interface in a rat model. Currently, Martha is studying the role of single cortical neurons in BMI implementation.

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Julie Gassaway, RN, MS

Ms. Gassaway is the Director of Health and Wellness Research and a senior clinical research scientist at the Virginia C. Crawford Research Institute at Shepherd Center ( in Atlanta, GA.

Julie has been involved in clinical outcomes research for over 25 years; the past 10 have focused on physical rehabilitation. Research interests revolve around improving the transition process from acute rehabilitation to home environments. Current efforts focus on patient centered care management and research for persons with disabilities. She serves as a co-investigator on a Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute grant in which she leads development and implementation efforts for the patient-owned engagement portal as well as randomized clinical trials that demonstrated the value of peer mentorship to decrease reliance on the healthcare system and increase persons’ sense of self efficacy.

Julie presents research findings at many national rehabilitation conferences, has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications and serves as a reviewer and occasional guest editor for several rehabilitation journals.

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Marnie Graco

Marnie Graco is a Physiotherapist with a Master of Public Health. Marnie works at the Institute for Breathing and Sleep in Melbourne, Australia as the Program Manager for the Sleep Health in Quadriplegia research program. She is currently undertaking a PhD aiming to improve the management of obstructive sleep apnea in people with tetraplegia.

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Dr. Sander L. Hitzig

Dr. Sander L. Hitzig is a Scientist at St. John’s Rehab Research Program (Sunnybrook Research Institute, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre), an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto, an Affiliate Scientist in the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and an adjunct faculty member in the School of Kinesiology and Health Science at York University. Current research interests include understanding the role of social networks on health and quality of life outcomes following disability, developing and validating patient-reported outcomes, and evaluating novel technologies and clinical services designed to enhance community living. Dr. Hitzig is a member of the Rick Hansen Care Committee and Sunnybrook’s Practice-Based and Innovation Committee. He has published over 60 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, and has been a principal or co-investigator on over 30 funded research projects. Dr. Hitzig is currently the lead on a Craig H. Neilsen grant exploring the influence of social isolation post-spinal cord injury.

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Brian Hodges, MD, PhD, FRCPC

Brian D. Hodges, MD, PhD, FRCPC is Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto; the Richard and Elizabeth Currie Chair in Health Professions Education Research at the Wilson Centre and Executive-Vice President Education at the University Health Network (Toronto General, Toronto Western, Princess Margaret, Toronto Rehab Hospitals and the Michener Institute). He is a practicing psychiatrist and teacher. His research focuses on assessment, competence, compassion and the future of the health profession. His work has been recognized with the Association of American Medical Colleges Flexner Award (2015) and the Karolinska Institutet Prize for Research in Medical Education (2016).

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Dr. Paul Holyoke

Dr. Paul Holyoke is the Director of the Saint Elizabeth Research Centre which has an applied health services research and evaluation portfolio focused on end of life care, person and family centred care, supports for caregivers, and integrated care and transitions. Paul has a PhD in health policy from the University of Toronto, a Master’s degree in public policy and administration from the London School of Economics, and a law degree from the University of Toronto.

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Pamela E. Houghton PT, PhD

Dr. Pamela E. Houghton is Full Professor in the School of Physical Therapy at Western University, London, Canada. In 2007, she launched the Masters of Clinical Science program in the field of wound healing which she currently Chairs, and is a full time faculty instructor. This innovative graduate program is the only one in Canada that uses distance education methods to provide specialized training for an interdisciplinary group of experienced clinicians who treat people with chronic wounds. Dr. Houghton leads an active research program at Western that is dedicated to implementing evidence informed wound assessment tools and advanced treatments for people with chronic wounds. She is best known for her research and education about electrical stimulation therapy used to accelerate wound closure. Recently her work led to the development of Canadian Best Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Pressure ulcers in people in Spinal Cord Injury. She currently leads a large mulit-site best practice implementation project that is increasing awareness and use of electrical stimulation therapy (E-Stim) for the treatment of pressure ulcers. Pamela is a licensed Physical Therapist and member of the Canadian Physical Therapy Wound Care Collaborative which is dedicated to promoting the important role of Physical Therapists on Interprofessional wound care teams.

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Bethlyn Houlihan

Bethlyn Houlihan, MSW, MPH, is the Associate Director for NERSCIC and has been managing the day-to-day research activities for over ten years. Ms. Houlihan received her Masters in Social Work and Masters in Public Health from BU. Her areas of expertise include project management, grant writing, outreach and dissemination, and applied socio-medical research for people with disabilities, particularly developing and testing interventions to improve care and outreach to people with SCI. Ms. Houlihan has served as a Board Member for the Greater Boston Chapter of the National SCI Association (GBC-NSCIA) since 2004.

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Gaya Jeyathevan, Ph.D. (c)

Gaya is a PhD candidate at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. She is interested in the field of implementation science. Her main focus is on implementation considerations for a spinal cord injury (SCI) caregiver program using knowledge translation strategies. As a health services researcher, she is particularly interested in determining barriers towards health system-level factors, such as access/availability of services and models of care. She is also determined to bridge the gaps in the supportive care system by identifying the current and evolving needs of family caregivers in providing care for individuals with SCI. Currently, in collaboration with Toronto Rehabilitation Institute- University Health Network, she is working on a research project, funded by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, identifying implementation consideration for a caregiver support program by exploring the facilitators and barriers in caring for individuals with SCI in the community, family caregiving skills- indicators of doing caregiving well, as well as caregiver training needs prior to discharge from inpatient rehabilitation centres. The overall aim of the study is to develop and pilot test an evidence-based skills training intervention for family caregivers of individuals with SCI.

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Anita KaiserAnita Kaiser

Anita Kaiser 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 with a focus on parenting with a spinal cord injury (SCI). 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 works as a Research Consultant and Assistant at Toronto Rehab-Lyndhurst Centre, University Health Network. Anita has been a Peer Support Volunteer with SCI Ontario since 2000 and an Injury Survivor Presenter with Parachute’s No Regrets program since 1999. In her spare time, Anita enjoys modeling, travelling, exercise therapy, reading, and spending time with her family, friends and young daughter.

Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan BScPT, MSc, PhDSUKHVINDER FINAL RT 6755

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 Program Lead of the Rocket Neuro-Restorative Upper Extremity Program. 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 and has recently co-founded the Spine Therapy Network. Her interests include: outcome measurement, upper limb recovery, traumatic and non traumatic SCI, quantification of neurological disorders.

Anna Kras-Dupuis, RN MScN CNN(C), CRN(C)

Anna has had over 32 years of experience in nursing, including acute neurosciences, education and neurological rehabilitation. Anna’s key areas of interest include knowledge mobilization and patient self-management. Anna has been involved in and/or led a number of practice change initiatives. She has been the Site co-Lead for the Parkwood Institute in the SCI Knowledge Mobilization Network, a member of the research team for the E-stim Collaboration Project and contributed to the Development and Validation of Self-management Resources to Improve Bladder Health in persons with SCI. Pressure Injury Prevention and Pain Assessment and Management in SCI individuals are some of the other practice change initiative that Anna has led. Anna believes in people’s strengths, the collective wisdom of teams and always being able to make a difference despite challenges. She fosters the culture of ongoing improvement and learning through trying and using feedback.

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Indira S.Lanig, MD

Indira S.Lanig MD is a past president of the American Paraplegia Society (APS) and a recipient of both the APS Estin Comarr Distinguished Clinical Service Award and the APS Special Recognition Award for leadership, vision, and commitment. Her focused interests are in health promotion and healthcare disparity issues for individuals with SCI/D. Over her 30 year career, Dr. Lanig has practiced in both the academic and the private sectors, including her position as Chief of the SCI Service at the Houston VAMC while on faculty at Baylor College of Medicine; her 21 year tenure at Craig Hospital in Englewood CO; and in her capacity as Medical Director of Northern Colorado Rehabilitation Hospital, in Johnstown CO.

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Jirapat LikitlersuangLikitlersuang

Jirapat Likitlersuang is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He previously received a B.A.Sc. in engineering science, with a biomedical engineering major at the University of Toronto.

He is interested in the field of rehabilitation engineering. Specific areas of interest are the development of novel assistive devices and the evaluation of treatments for children and adults living with a disability. He has worked on various biomedical projects in collaboration with scientists, engineers, and clinicians. As an undergraduate, he worked to develop a tracking microscope to examine neuronal activity in C. elegans. He also worked on an automatic rehabilitation assessment system for upper limbs, as well as educational tools that teach high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorder how to safely cross the road. In collaboration with scientists at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, he helped to develop a portable pressure sensor device that can be used to examine the biomechanics of mobility assistive devices. Currently, he is working to develop a wearable system capable of monitoring hand function for adults with upper limb dysfunction at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network.

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Eldon Loh

Dr. Eldon Loh (MD, FRCPC) 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. He is currently an assistant 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, Canada. His clinical and research interests include interventional pain management and chronic 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 National Summit for Neuropathic Pain after SCI, which is providing guidance to ONF and RHI on improving neuropathic pain management after SCI.

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Stephanie Marrocco

Stephanie is a research coordinator with the research to practice (R2P) team at Parkwood Institute (Lawson Health Research Institute). Ms. Marrocco completed a MSc from Western University examining gait laterality in persons with stroke and maintains an interest in better understanding rehabilitation processes associated with persons with neurological impairments. In particular, Stephanie is interested in examining variations in rehabilitation practice patterns and has developed different analysis and visualization approaches to address research questions within this area.

Position: Research Coordinator
Organization: Parkwood Institute (Lawson Health Research Institute)
Phone: 519-685-4292 ext 42631

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Kathleen Martin Ginis

Dr. Kathleen Martin Ginis is a Professor of Health and Exercise Psychology at the University of British Columbia’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences and a Principal Investigator at ICORD. Her research program focuses on understanding and changing physical activity behaviour among adults living with SCI, and she frequently collaborates with multi-disciplinary teams to study a vast range of health-related outcomes associated with physical activity participation. Dr. Martin Ginis has a profound commitment to knowledge translation; she is internationally recognized as an innovator and leader in the development and implementation of evidence-based best-practices to advance physical activity participation among persons with SCI. She has over 250 peer-reviewed papers in some of the highest impact journals in health & exercise psychology, rehabilitation, and exercise science. Dr. Chris McBride, PhD Since 2010, Chris has served as the Executive Director of Spinal Cord Injury BC, where he brings a passion for making a difference for people with disabilities and their families. He also brings 25 years experience as a researcher and research-community network builder. His past roles include managing director of UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health’s ICORD research centre, managing director of the Rick Hansen Institute, and co-leader of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research-funded Disabilities Health Research Network. Presently, he is on the executive of the SSHRC-funded Canadian Disability Participation Project and chairs Spinal Cord Injury Canada’s Executive Director’s Council. Robert Shaw is a PhD candidate in the School of Health and Exercise Sciences at UBC. Having incurred a spinal cord injury in 2011, he is greatly aware of, and knowledgeable about, the many barriers restricting participation and access for people living with disabilities. This knowledge and experience has helped form the foundation for his research that investigates the impact that peer mentorship can have in promoting, encouraging, and facilitating participation for people with disabilities. His research is conducted using a community-based framework that aims to maximize community involvement throughout the entire research process. Outside of academia he volunteers as a spinal cord injury peer mentor, an accessibility consultant, and competes internationally in wheelchair tennis as a member of Team Canada. Dr. Christopher West is an Assistant Professor in the UBC School of Kinesiology and a principal investigator at ICORD. He is a translational research scientist who investigates the autonomic and cardiorespiratory consequences of SCI. His research traverses the discovery science-clinical spectrum: at the discovery science level, he investigates the mechanisms that underpin cardiac and vascular adaptations to exercise, and at the clinical level, he works with Paralympic athletes to investigate the limitations to exercise performance as well as methods to enhance cardiovascular function. He has published more than 30 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters. Go to top

Sandra Mills

Starting her career as a therapeutic recreation specialist, Sandra Mills worked with people with spinal cord injuries (SCI) at Lyndhurst Hospital helping patients to recreate their own leisure lifestyle during inpatient rehab and in the community. She expanded her clinical skills in the area of palliative and dialysis care in a complex continuing care environment. Sandra had the opportunity to develop the first national peer-mentoring program in employment through the Canadian Paraplegic Association – Ontario with spread across the country. Working in injury prevention Sandra developed a unique educational program in injury prevention in snow-based activities with international recognition. After teaching in a formal setting with her Master of Education, she came back to UHN Toronto Rehab Lyndhurst Centre as the Patient and Family Educator developing education tools and resources for patients, families and staff and increasing staff capacity in education excellence.

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Dr. Gordon MitchellMitchell

Dr. Gordon Mitchell joined the faculty at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1981 as one of the founding faculty members of a new School of Veterinary Medicine. After rising through the faculty ranks, he served as the Chair of the Department of Comparative Biosciences for 17 years. At the end of 2014, he accepted a new challenge and relocated to the University of Florida where he joined the Department of Physical Therapy as a Preeminence Professor of Neuroscience. His arrival at the University of Florida marked the beginning of a new Center for Respiratory Biology and Rehabilitation devoted to understanding and treating impairment of breathing and airway defense in a range of traumatic, ischemic, genetic and degenerative neuromuscular disorders.

Dr. Mitchell received his PhD in Developmental and Cell Biology from the University of California at Irvine in 1978, and then pursued postdoctoral training at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine in Germany (1978-80), followed by the University of Wisconsin—Madison (1980-81). He has been recognized many times for his research and teaching accomplishments, including a National Institutes of Health MERIT Award, Norden Distinguished Teacher Award, Pfizer Research Award, Steenbock Professor of Behavioral and Neural Science, and distinguished lectureships from the Society for Neuroscience and the American Physiological Society.

Dr. Mitchell has supervised more than 50 graduate students and postdoctoral trainees, and these trainees trainees have been highly successful, winning more than 50 research recognition awards from national/international organizations. More than 20 former trainees have become faculty at academic institutions, many with extramurally funded research programs.

Dr. Mitchell was among the first to recognize the importance of neuroplasticity in respiratory motor control. His current research activities concern cellular and molecular mechanisms of plasticity in the phrenic motor system elicited by intermittent hypoxia. His basic studies led to the realization that intermittent hypoxia-induced spinal motor plasticity could be harnessed to treat respiratory and non-respiratory paralysis following spinal injury. His work has broad ranging implications, including greater understanding of compensatory respiratory plasticity in motor neuron disease, and strategies utilizing intermittent hypoxia and cell-based therapies to treat breathing deficits in motor neuron disease.

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Bastien MoineauMoineau, PhD

Dr. Moineau is a postdoctoral fellow in the Rehabilitation Engineering Laboratory under the supervision of Pr Milos R Popovic. His main focus is on the development of efficient intervention for individuals with spinal cord injury, through use of functional electrical stimulation. As a trained caregiver, he is particularly sensitive to the health-related quality of life and wish to bring to the end-users solutions that can positively affect their functional abilities and independence. As a physiotherapist with a PhD degree, his main goal is to bridge the gap between patients’ needs, latest researchers’ discoveries, and industry. During his PhD in France, he led such tripartite collaboration between a hospital, a University laboratory and an industrial partner in a project developing new diagnostic tool for people with lower-limb amputation.

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Cindi M Morshead, PhD

Dr. Morshead did her PhD at the University of Toronto and joined the faculty in the Department of Surgery in 2003. She is currently a tenured Professor and Chair of the Division of Anatomy, Department of Surgery. She is a faculty member in the Institute of Medical Science, the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and the Rehabilitation Science Institute. Dr. Morshead’s expertise is in stem cell biology and specifically, in the field of adult neural stem cells. Her lab is interested in exploring fundamental questions regarding the behaviour and characterization of neural stem cells and applying this knowledge to regenerative medicine strategies. Her team is actively pursuing the role of stem cells in models of neurodegenerative disease such as stroke, cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury and spinal cord injury. Her work is funded by CIHR, NSERC, Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine, Medicine by Design, Krembil Foundation, Brain Canada and the Ontario Brain Institute.

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Barry Munro

Barry Munro is an award-winning philanthropist and the Chief Development Officer of the Canadian Spinal Research Organization. After working as a personal injury attorney, Barry decided to dedicate his time fully to help find a cure to paralysis. He has also been an influential member in multiple non-profit organizations. Suffering from a spinal cord injury has not slowed him down, but fueled his quest for a cure. Go to top

Kristin Musselman

Dr. Kristin Musselman is a Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network (TRI-UHN) and Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto. She is a physical therapist and co-lead of the RHSCIR Canadian SCI Standing and Walking Module Group. Dr. Musselman’s research in SCI is focused on the training and assessment of balance and gait, and understanding the causes and consequences of falls. Dr. Jean-François Lemay is a Post-doctoral Fellow at the Lyndhurst Centre, TRI-UHN and is currently supported by a post-doctoral fellowship grant from the Craig H Nielsen Foundation. He received a BScPT from McGill University and has over 15 years of experience as a physical therapist working with the SCI population. He also holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences and a PhD in Rehabilitation Science from the University of Montreal. Dr. Lemay’s postgraduate studies focused on the evaluation of standing postural control following SCI using both clinical and biomechanical assessments. Shane McCullum graduated from Dalhousie School of Physiotherapy in 2009 with a Master’s of Science in Physiotherapy. Shane has been at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton, NB for 7 years as a clinician and more recently as a Research Associate. He has acted as site coordinator for the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry (RHSCIR) since 2011. Kristina Guy is a physical therapist at the Lyndhurst Centre-TRI who has worked in SCI rehabilitation for 15 years. She graduated with a BScPT from Queen’s University and an MSc in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Toronto. Kristina is the clinical site lead for the RHSCIR Standing and Walking Module at the Lyndhurst Centre-TRI. Kristen Walden is a National Clinical Liaison for the Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) and physical therapist at Vancouver Coastal Health in Vancouver. She has practiced in the area of SCI for over 15 years, working with individuals across the continuum of care from ICU to outpatient rehabilitation. Kristen has been involved in all aspects of the RHSCIR Standing and Walking Module since its development. Go to top

Colleen O’Connell, MD FRCPC

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. She holds appointments at Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine and the University Of New Brunswick Faculty Of Kinesiology.  She is a clinician researcher and Co-Chair of the Canadian ALS Research Network, and a member of the Rick Hansen Institute Research Network, The Canadian Neurologic Diseases Network, The Canadian Neuropulmonary Consortium, and the Atlantic Mobility Action Project. Research foci include treatments and applied technologies for mobility impairment in neurologic injury and disease, treatments in neurologic diseases including ALS and MS, and spinal cord injury. She is a member of the Canadian  SCI Neuropathic Pain Management living guidelines group and the Canadian Home Mechanical Ventilation Clinical Practice Guidelines group.

In addition to her clinical and research practice, Colleen has over 25 years of global health experience. Colleen is founder and chair of Team Canada Healing Hands, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing rehabilitation care and training in developing countries.
She has had opportunity to work in areas of care delivery, training, and research in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa and Asia. She is a member of External Relations Committee of the International Spinal Cord Society, and ISCOS liaison to the ISPRM. She has co-authored numerous publications on and provided technical guidance to the World Health Organization on rehabilitation in the humanitarian field.

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Lyndsay Orr, BScPT, MClSc (Wound Healing)

Lyndsay Orr is a licenced physiotherapist and regional manager for Rehab First Inc. She is currently in her 4th year of the Western University PhD program in the School of Physical Therapy. Her current research is part of a large multi-site best practice implementation project that is increasing awareness and use of electrical stimulation therapy (E-Stim) for the treatment of pressure ulcers, specifically in terms of costing outcomes. Lyndsay is an advocate for multi-disciplinary teams and increasing the education for physiotherapists and their role on wound healing teams as a founding member of the Canadian Physical Therapy Wound Care Collaborative.

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Carly Rivers

Carly is a research associate at the Rick Hansen Institute, primarily working with investigators across Canada involved in the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, a prospective, observational registry of individuals with new traumatic SCI. Registry research covers the care continuum from post-injury triage to long-term follow-up. Carly completed her PhD on repeated MRI following ischaemic stroke in Edinburgh, UK, followed by 5 years working at an academic trials unit in Leeds, UK, returning home to Vancouver in 2011 when she started work for RHI.

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Carol Scovil

As a PhD, Carol divides her time between her roles as Assistive Technology Consultant and SCI Knowledge Mobilization Specialist at the Brain and Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute’s Lyndhurst Centre, part of the University Health Network. Carol has a PhD in Mechanical Engineering, specializing in biomechanics, from the University of Calgary. She is a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Carol has research, implementation and knowledge translation experience in SCI rehabilitation in Canada and in the less-resourced context of Nepal. Carol was part of the PODS early adopter team at Lyndhurst, and has been a facilitator since July 2015.

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Robert Shaw

Robert Shaw is a graduate of the BPHE program at Nipissing University and currently enrolled as a PhD student at the University of British Columbia. Having incurred a traumatic cervical spinal cord injury in 2011, he is greatly aware of, and knowledgeable about, the many barriers restricting participation and access for people living with disabilities. This knowledge and experience has helped form the foundation for his research that investigates the impact that peer mentorship can have in promoting, encouraging, and facilitating social participation for people with disabilities. His research is conducted using a community-based framework that aims to maximize community involvement throughout the entire research process and helps to facilitate the transfer of knowledge both from the community into his research program, and from his program back to the community. Outside of academia he volunteers as a spinal cord injury peer mentor and has acted as a disability advisor for academic institutions regarding classroom, campus, and curriculum accessibility. Robert is also a major advocate of sports for people with disabilities. He volunteers as an athlete representative at introductory community tennis events and competes internationally in wheelchair tennis as a member of Team Canada.

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Mir Hatef Shojaei , MD

Mir Hatef Shojaei received his MD from Tabriz Medical School in Iran and subsequently completed PhD training in Nutrition Science at Tehran University. There, he studied cardiovascular risk factors, including oxidative stress, and their management in individuals on hemodialysis. After graduating, he focused on quality of life issues, mainly obesity (effects in health, detection and management). After arriving in Canada, he passed all Medical Council of Canada exams and received his Medical License in 2016. Dr. Shojaei joined the University Health Network, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Lyndhurst Centre’s Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team (NET Team) in 2017. He is currently working as a research associate on the ‘Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry’ project and on the ‘Rehabilitation Intervention for Individuals with a SCI in the Community – RIISC’ project.

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Elizabeth Sumitro

Elizabeth Sumitro is a MASc candidate at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto. She completed her BASc in electrical engineering at the University of Toronto in 2015. She is interested in maintaining and restoring independence to individuals with mobility impairments. In her undergrad, she contributed to the development of a powered leg brace to help an individual with cerebral palsy to flex and extend the knee while walking. Currently, her research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute is focused on a wearable camera system to monitor the recovery of hand function after spinal cord injury.

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Shane N. Sweet, PhDSweet

I am assistant professor at McGill University since August of 2013. The overarching goal of my program of research is to enhance the lives of adults, whether healthy or living with chronic conditions/disease (e.g., adults spinal cord injury), by understanding and promoting physical activity and well-being and engaging community members. My program of research is therefore guided by three pillars: 1. Understand: The purpose of this pillar is to understand physical activity participation and well-being by applying, testing and integrating theory, developing conceptual models and tracking changes over time. Research within this pillar is categorized by two streams: physical activity and well-being. 2. Promote: In this pillar, I look to increase physical activity and related constructs and enhance well-being through the two streams: persuasive messaging and intensive interventions. 3. Engage: The objective of this pillar is to incorporate the community in research, co-construct research with community, inform key end-users of the results and evaluate knowledge translation initiatives. As a result, consumer engagement and knowledge translation research are the two streams imbedded within this pillar. My ongoing research on spinal cord injury (SCI) research focuses on strategies to enhance participation among adults with SCI and on understanding SCI community-based peer mentorship. My SCI peer mentorship research will be the focus of this workshop. Specifically, I am attempting to understand how community-based peer mentorship impacts the lives and well-being of adults with SCI by using theories as a guide. I have received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to conduct this research.

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Andrea Townson
Dr. Andrea Townson is Clinical Professor and Co-Acting Head, Department of Medicine,UBC. She obtained her medical degree at Queen’s University. She completed her residency training in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at UBC. Dr. Townson is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and is a certificant of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. In addition, she holds subspecialty certification in Spinal Cord Injury Medicine from the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She has a Masters of Science in Health Professions Education from Massachusetts General Hospital Institute of Health Professions. She is an attending physician on the spinal cord injury rehabilitation program at GF Strong Rehab Centre. Her research interests include spinal cord injury, health professions education, and fatigue.


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Anellina Ventre
Anellina Ventre is the sole Speech and Language Pathologist providing primarily dysphagia and dysphonia interventions in both the in-patient and outpatient settings at UHN Toronto Rehab Lyndhurst Centre for the last 13 years. As an early adopter of the PODS process in the facilitator role she saw a strong fit with her clinical interventions which focus on patient education to support prevention of secondary complications, like aspiration pneumonia, following injuries and conditions affecting the spinal cord and nerves.


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Molly Verrier, Dip P&OT MHSc, Associate Professor Emeritus, Departments of Physical Therapy and Physiology, Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, Institute of Medical Science, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Adjunct Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network, Lyndhurst Centre SCIMobility Laboratory

2017 Champion Of Change Award Recipient

Professor Molly Verrier trained as a physical and occupational therapist at the University of Toronto. Following graduation she practiced neurological physical therapy at the Toronto Western Hospital. Upon graduation from her graduate studies in Clinical Neurophysiology and Health Science at McMaster University, she joined the physical therapy teaching faculty at the University of Toronto and was the Lead of the U of T Human Neuromotor Control Laboratory at the Playfair Neuroscience Unit situated at TWH. Between 1988 and 1994 she was the Director of the then Division of Physical Therapy in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. Prof. Verrier became the Chair of the first Department of Physical and the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto in 1994 and over the next decade, along with a group of talented PT faculty, implemented a BSc PT Evidence Based Curriculum, a Professional Master’s Program in Physical Therapy, and MSc and PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science. Currently, Prof. Verrier is an Affiliate Senior Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute where she supervises physical therapy PhD students She is a member of the Board of Directors at West Park Healthcare Centre.


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Christopher West

Dr. West is an Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia and a Principal Investigator at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD). Dr. West’s research traverses the discovery science-clinical spectrum: at the discovery science level, he investigates the mechanisms that underpin cardiac and vascular adaptations to exercise. At the clinical level, he works with the general SCI population as well as Paralympic athletes to investigate the cardiovascular conseqeucnes of SCI and more boradly the role that exercise can play in offsetting cardiovascular disease.


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Rhonda Willms

Dr. Rhonda Willms is a physiatrist in Vancouver whose clinical practice focuses on the care of individuals with either spinal cord injury or those who have amputations or prosthetic/orthotic needs. In the past six years, she has also initiated a “Physiatric stream” of an interdisciplinary SCI Wound Clinic. In addition to being the Medical Manager of the SCI Program at GF Strong Rehab Centre-where she primarily engages in out-patient clinic work, she also provides consultation and follow up care for those with work related injuries through WorkSafe BC.

She is a Clinical Assistant Professor with the UBC Department of Medicine/Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation In this capacity she provides clinical teaching opportunities for residents and medical students, and participates in collaborative research with an interest in wound care management and knowledge translation.

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Dalton L. Wolfe

Dalton is a scientist at Parkwood Institute (Lawson Health Research Institute) with a primary interest in knowledge mobilization and a current focus on the integration of activity-based therapies such as robotic, manual and FES-assisted therapies. Dr. Wolfe is the lead of the research to practice (R2P) team at Parkwood Institute that aims to coordinate clinical and research efforts to improve care and clinical outcomes. He collaborates with administrators and clinicians across the SCI and ABI rehabilitation programs using implementation science and participatory research methods to develop and work within a practice-based clinical research approach.

Position: Scientist
Organization: Parkwood Institute (Lawson Health Research Institute)
Phone: 519-685-4292 ext 42957

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Nancy Xia

Nancy Xia completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto in 2011. She has been working for Spinal Cord Injury Ontario for over six years, providing resource and education to people in the spinal cord injury community. Nancy obtained her SCI fourteen years ago at the age of 18. Neuropathic pain and other secondary complications impact her on a regular basis.  She has taken part in several advisory panels providing insights as someone who lives with a spinal cord injury. Nancy also works as an artist doing pet portraits and book cover designs

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José ZariffaZariffa

Dr. José Zariffa is a Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Dr. Zariffa 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, where he was supported by Spinal Cord Injury Ontario. Dr. Zariffa was awarded the 1st place award (Research Category) at the 5th National Spinal Cord Injury Conference for his work on the motor control of the upper limb after spinal cord injury. His research interests are in neuroprosthetics and technology for upper limb neurorehabilitation, encompassing work in neural interfaces, wearable sensors, rehabilitation robotics, and electrophysiology.

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