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BRI Quarterly

 April 2021

Breaking New Ground

In just a few short weeks, Holland Bloorview will start the final phase of its largest research expansion in 122-year history: the construction of a two-story, cantilevered addition. Once completed in summer 2022, the research expansion, funded entirely by the generosity of its donors, will have an even greater impact on the lives of children living with disabilities and their families worldwide.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Holland Bloorview Kids Hospital Foundation has organized a virtual ground-breaking ceremony for donors, researchers, staff, students and other guests on Monday, May 10th from 11 to 11:45 a.m.

If you are interested in attending the virtual celebration, please RSVP by April 30thhere.

The best is yet to come!

Top Stories

Facing kids’ fears of dental visits with VR: study launch
New study led by Dr. Azadeh Kushki will examine how technology may help kids feel more comfortable in the dentist chair
Read more

Paying it forward
Dr. Deryk Beal awarded a Faculty of Medicine Graduate Teaching Award for his commitment to mentoring, coaching
Read more

Holland Bloorview launches new Family Engagement in Research framework
New framework helps researchers and families co-create studies grounded in family engagement
Read more

Social ABCs launches in PEI
Novel program co-developed by Dr. Jessica Brian extends to island province
Read more

Road to an autism diagnosis and beyond for parents
Review of over 100 studies sheds light on parents’ experiences of their child’s autism diagnosis
Read more

Unleashing the power of video games to enhance well-being of kids with CP
Unique exergame boosts well-being of kids with CP recovering from orthopedic surgery
Read more

For a full list of BRI news stories found here

In the News - Media Spotlight

What to do if your toddler bites – or gets bitten – at daycare
Quotes Dr. Sharon Smile, a developmental pediatrician and clinical study investigator

Children handling pandemic differently
Quotes Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou, assistant director of BRI, Canada Research Chair in translational therapeutics in autism spectrum disorder and co-lead of the Autism Research Centre

Getting kids with mobility issues exercising
Interviews Dr. Darcy Fehlings, senior clinician scientist head who leads the CP Discovery Lab, and a family on the Liberi Exergame

More media highlights can be found here.                 

Grants and Awards

Dr. Deryk Beal, CONNECT Lab
Grant: International Research Training Group
Subacute Rehabilitation Outcomes of Childhood Stroke
2020 – 2024

Dr. Anne Kawamura, clinical study investigator – education
Grant: Paediatric Consultant’s Education & Development & Innovation Grant
“Family Leaders” as teacher: pediatric caregivers involvement in resident assessment as part of a developmental paediatrics subspecialty residency and fellowship training program
2020 – 2022

Dr. Elaine Biddiss, PEARL Lab
Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge, Runner Up
Bootle Blast: Play-To-Function

Dr. Mel Penner, ARC
Autism Learning Health Network
2021 – 2023

Dr. Gillian King
Canada Research Chair in Optimal Care for Children with Disabilities
Tier 1 Renewal
$1.4 million

New Publications!

The latest publications on childhood disability research from Holland Bloorview's research institute

Click here for the inside scoop!

Family Voice

“It’s an incredible experience to be part of the Research Family Engagement Committee (RFEC). Even though this year was particular tough for everyone, the group was able to reach an exciting goal. The new Family Engagement in Research Framework was finalized, approved and launched. It represents a milestone in the great work this committee has done in these years in promoting and supporting meaningful families’ engagement in all aspects of the research process. I am very proud to be part of such a passionate, dedicated and determined group who didn’t allow this year challenges to stop them in reaching their goals.”

Manuela Comito, family leader and vice-chair of the Research Family Engagement Committee


BRITE Corner

Each year, the Bloorview Research Institute Trainee Executive (BRITE) recognizes their trainees and supervisors who go the extra mile to shape the next generation of researchers, scientists and clinicians. Congratulations to this year’s BRITE award recipients!

Excellence in Peer Mentorship
Brandon Rufino

Excellence in Trainee Supervision
Dr. Jessica Brian

Excellence in Research Collaborations
Daniela Chan-Viquez

Excellence in Trainee Support
Joanne Wincentak

Staff Spotlight

It's no secret that Holland Bloorview is full of everyday heroes. But how well do you know them? Let’s get to know Sharon Wong, the director of Bloorview Research Institute’s Commercialization Office.

What did you want to do/be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I spent a couple of years volunteering at a veterinary clinic but decided I couldn’t be a veterinarian because I had a very hard time seeing pets being euthanized (especially if it was simply for financial reasons when owners couldn’t afford to pay for treatments). 

What did you do before you came to Holland Bloorview?

I was a managing partner at a digital medical education company called Zulimar.  It developed clinical decision tools to educate and help healthcare providers make evidence-based clinical decisions at point of care.  I had recently exited from the company and was curious about other opportunities.

What is your role here?

I’m the Director of Commercialization and I work to support our staff to get their amazing innovations out to the people who need them. This can include support for anything from industry partnerships, to IP protection, to out-licensing or spin-off companies.  If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas, come talk to me! (well virtually that is).

Biggest guilty pleasure?

Queer Eye on Netflix (not really that guilty about it)

Personal pet peeve?

 People who litter

What do you like to do in your free time?

Volleyball, rock climbing, squash, (I’m up for almost any sport), escape games, walking my dog, reading

Upcoming Events

  • Illuminating: A Hidden Narrative (digital art exhibit by ProFILE Lab)
  • Grow HB Research Ground-breaking ceremony (May 10)
  • Pursuit Award ceremony (June 1)
  • Ward Research Day (July)
  • BRI Symposium (November)

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 Us

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 8,700 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 to share your news in BRI Quarterly!