July 2022 (covers news, announcements and happenings from April to June 2022)
Building a research talent pipeline
This year’s Ward Summer Research Student program saw the largest number of students handpicked from more than 1,800 applications coast to coast. Twenty undergraduate university students from universities across Canada collaborated with the Bloorview Research Institute’s research teams – and came up with big ideas to envision a more inclusive world for kids of all abilities.
Drs. Gillian King, Evdokia Anagnostou and Jessica Brian have been all ranked among the country’s top scientists in the field of psychology by Research.com, a leading academic research portal for scientists published in May. Dr. Sally Lindsay was ranked among the top scientists in the field of social science and humanities. Congratulations to all!
Find the Canadian ranking in psychology
Find the Canadian ranking in social science and humanities
More BRI stories can be found here.
In the News – Media Spotlight
Holland Bloorview program helps prepare the student for life after high school (Star.com)
Holland Bloorview’s TIP (The Independence Program) is featured in this article that includes interviews with Keon Luc (past program participant and current HB volunteer); Heather Keating (team lead of HB’s Transitions, Recreation and Life Skills programs) and Dr. Gillian King (BRI senior scientist and co-author of HB’s RILS (Residential Immersive Life Skills) Guide
The story also appeared on toronto.com and North York Mirror
Students bring ‘so much passion and enthusiasm’ to research projects at Holland Bloorview hospital (Toronto Star)
Features two Ward students – Hannah Maclean and Mallory Solomon – two students from the Lived Experience and Indigenous programs streams generously funded by CIBC. Dr. Tom Chau, vice president of research and director of the BRI, as well as Dr. Elaine Biddiss, a senior scientist and director of the PEARL Lab, are quoted extensively.
More media highlights can be found here.
Dr. Danielle Baribeau has joined the Bloorview Research Institute as a clinician scientist and Holland Bloorview’s medical staff as a child psychiatrist.
As a clinician scientist at the BRI, she will develop a research program to understand predictors of treatment benefits and side effects in children with neurodevelopmental disorders and who have mental health symptoms. She also plans to develop and pilot clinical trials for those with rare conditions as well as strengthen BRI’s brain imaging research.
Welcome Dr. Baribeau!
Dr. Deryk Beal, Senior Scientist and REB Chair, has been promoted to Associate Professor of Speech Language Pathology at the University of Toronto. Congratulations Dr. Beal!
Dr. Sharon Smile, a clinical study investigator and developmental pediatrician, has been promoted to Associate Professor at the University of Toronto’s Department of Pediatrics. Congratulations Dr. Smile!
Dr. Jessica Brian has been promoted to Senior Clinician Scientist. Congratulations Dr. Brian!
An internal announcement to follow.
Grants and Awards (April to June 2022)
Centre for Leadership Projects for 2022 – 2023
The Centre for Leadership has funded 12 research projects in the fiscal year 2022-2023.
Read the project summaries, which contain a full list of all research team members.
Dr. Darcy Fehlings
Early Detection and Intervention for Children with Cerebral Palsy: A National Knowledge Implementation Project
Implementation Project Award
2022 – 2024
Dr. Amy McPherson
Wellness in Action: What do Wellness Principles Look Like in Real-World Special Olympics Practices and Activities and How Can They Be Supported?
2022 – 2023
Dr. Jan Andrysek
Smart Textiles for Telerehabilitation
Alliance Missions Grant
2022 – 2023
Dr. Sally Lindsay
Discrimination, Ableism, and Racism Hurt But Inclusion can Heal: Listening to the Intersectional Lived Experiences of Youth with Disabilities and Co-Creating Solutions
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council - Race, Gender & Diversity Initiative Grant
2022 – 2025
Dr. Amy McPherson
We are Sexual Too: A Partnership to Support the Intimate Citizenship of Disabled Youth across Canada by Mobilizing Knowledge about Sexuality and Disability
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – Partnership Development Grant
2022 – 2026
Dr. Tim Ross
Exploring the Housing Experiences and Community Participation of Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration Grant
2022 – 2024
Dr. Jan Andrysek (Supervisor)
Hafsa Zahid (Graduate Student)
Interferential Current Stimulation for Sensory Feedback from Prosthetic Hands
Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Doctoral Research Award: Canada Graduate Scholarships
2022 – 2025
Dr. Jan Andrysek
Exploring the Use of Interferential Stimulation for Somatotopic Sensory Feedback in Prosthetic Hands
National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada – Alliance International – Catalyst
2022 - 2025
New Publications/International Talks
Here are the latest publications on childhood disability research from Holland Bloorview's research institute from January 2021 to June 2022.
New BRI Resource – Research Communications Tool Kit
Interested in raising awareness of your new research study or project across the wider hospital community and beyond? Do you have a study that you want to recruit participants for through our hospital’s communication and social media channels?
We have created a new Research Communications Tool Kit with tip sheets and online resources to help you with 1) study recruitment promotion efforts and 2) communicate your research to targeted audiences through Holland Bloorview’s digital channels.
The tool kit is available on our BRI Resource Portal now (search: ‘Research Communications’).
Contact Suelan Toye, Senior Research Communications Specialist (firstname.lastname@example.org), and she would be happy to walk your research team through the toolkit.
Announcement of Next BRITE Chairs
BRITE would like to welcome and congratulate the incoming co-chairs for the 2022-2023 academic school year, Daniela Testani and Kieran Wheatley! Daniela (she/her) is a second-year PhD student at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. Daniela is supervised by Dr. Darcy Fehlings in the CP Discovery Lab and her research focuses on promoting participation in young children with cerebral palsy. Kieran (she/her) is an MSc student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. Kieran is a member of the CONNECT lab, supervised by Dr. Deryk Beal. Her research is a fundamental study of the brain regions involved in speech and language learning.
We cannot wait to see what amazing things they do this year with BRITE!
On Friday, June 3rd, BRITE, in partnership with the Commercialization Office and the Holland Bloorview Foundation, hosted an in-person networking event. We were joined by over 35 BRI trainees, volunteers, staff and scientists, in addition to guests from several industries. Our guests came from Myant, Pearl Interactives, Shoppers Drug Mart, KidsAbility, Empowered Kids Ontario, Neurofit, GE Healthcare and Tecla.
Opportunities to build connections are critical for trainees who want to grow their networks. BRITE was incredibly happy to host this event, understanding how challenging it has been to make connections in a Zoom world. We thank everyone who came out to the networking event, and we look forward to more events like this in the future!
Each year, over 100 trainees from universities across Canada come to the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) to collaborate with some of the world’s top scientists in the field of pediatric disability research to advance scientific knowledge – and champion a world of possibilities for kids with disabilities and their families.
BRI Quarterly speaks to one research trainee, Donya Mosleh, who is a PhD student studying rehabilitation sciences at the University of Toronto and is a research assistant at BRI’s CDARS Lab (Critical Disability And Rehabilitation Studies).
How did you get interested in your field of research?
I have always been passionate about social theory and engaging in creative and critical research that challenges assumptions regarding health, illness, and the body. While completing my MA in sociology, I was introduced to the field of critical disability studies (CDS). CDS is an interdisciplinary field of study that aims to challenge taken-for-granted assumptions regarding what constitutes normal and abnormal bodies/minds/functions.
As I continued to engage with this literature, I became interested in finding a creative way to introduce some of these critical ideas into contemporary health practices, like rehabilitation sciences. Drawing on my research experience with children, I decided to focus my studies on how disabled children are understood and addressed in children’s rehabilitation.
What drew you to Holland Bloorview’s research institute?
While searching for a doctoral program that suited my interest, I came across Dr. Barbara Gibson and the Critical Disability And Rehabilitation Sciences (CDARS) lab at BRI. BRI is recognized nationally and internationally for its leadership in the field of childhood disability and Dr. Gibson is an internationally recognized leader for her expertise in qualitative research and critical childhood disability studies. Having the privilege to work and learn in this kind of environment, alongside Dr. Gibson’s expertise, was both compelling and exciting. I am extremely lucky to have the opportunity to contribute to the ground-breaking work that takes place at BRI.
What are you and your study team working on right now?
I am currently working on finishing my doctoral study, which explores how disabled children understand and experience disability and illness across different contexts of their lives. In recent years, social science research with and about disabled children has sought to challenge dominant understandings of disability as a problem to be corrected through medical intervention.
While useful, this work assumes that all disabled children share the same experience of bodily, cognitive and/or sensory differences. This is alarming, as children with cognitive differences, for example, may have vastly different experiences and needs than children with progressive conditions, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).
DMD is a genetic disorder affecting male children, characterized by a progressive weakening of skeletal muscles, which leads to early death. Existing DMD research primarily focuses on enhancing treatments and technologies that prolong lifespan (e.g., steroids and ventilators). To date, little work has explored the specific experiences and understandings of children with DMD, nor how these experiences and understandings change as their condition progresses. In my project, I aim to explore how children with DMD understand and experience disability and DMD to identify opportunities to enhance related rehabilitation care.
How can your research unlock a new world of possibilities for children and youth with disabilities and their families?
My work aims to advance a critical approach to children’s rehabilitation as a means to shift how we think about what it means to live a ‘good’ life. The assumption that normal always translates to better continue to pervade contemporary understandings of the body. Through my work, I aim to highlight how disability and impairment are not deficits, and that difference is a part of what it means to be human. This insight is crucial to designing effective health and social programs that best serve the particular needs of disabled children and their families.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, I enjoy playing soccer, cooking and hanging out with my family. Now that it’s summer we have been enjoying the outdoors and making good use of our pool.
November 14 2022 | BRI Research Symposium
Are you a member of the BRI community and are hosting an event? Please contact Suelan Toye at email@example.com to promote your upcoming event in the next issues of the BRI Quarterly.
About BRI Quarterly
BRI Quarterly, the forefront of childhood disability research, is the online publication of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital's research institute (the Bloorview Research Institute (BRI)).
Holland Bloorview’s research, teaching, technology development and innovation will be driven by a no boundaries philosophy, which encompasses the following key impact areas: Discover for action, personalize pathways, connect the system, and co-create with children, youth, families and alumni. Ultimately, the goal is to enable better access to the most advanced and proven care, ideas and treatment.
About Bloorview Research Institute
Holland Bloorview's research institute is housed at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, a top 40 Canadian research hospital that is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto and serves over 7,000 families annually. The Bloorview Research Institute (BRI) is recognized across the world for its unique client population and leadership in the field of childhood disability. Learn more.
Share Your News
If you've recently presented at a conference, celebrated an award, grant or publication; or have a story idea, please contact Suelan Toye at firstname.lastname@example.org to share your news in the next BRI Quarterly!