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Concussion Research Lab - Our Team

Concussion Centre Team

The Holland Bloorview Concussion Centre team is made up of a dynamic group of health care professionals and researchers with a wide range of expertise. Meet our team of scientists, clinicians, staff and students.

Co-Directors

Nick Reed, PhD, OT Reg (Ont) 

Co-Director, Concussion Centre, Clinician Scientist, Director of Research & Education

Clinical Scientist Page

Follow Nick Reed on Twitter @DrNickReed   

Nick Reed completed his B.Kinesiology (Hons.) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, his MScOT within the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, and his PhD within the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto.

Currently, Nick Reed is a Clinician Scientist within the Bloorview Research Institute, and the Co-Director of the Concussion Centre and the Co-Lead for the Centre for Leadership in Acquired Brain Injury at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. His work focuses on developing, delivering and evaluating research, educational and clinical programming specific to youth and concussion. Dr. Reed is also an Assistant Professor within the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto .

In addition to his research and clinical work, Nick Reed has lived a life immersed in competitive sport, and more specifically, competitive contact sport.  Playing competitive lacrosse from the age of five, he has participated at all levels of the sport and has spent 12 years coaching minor lacrosse within the Toronto area. Nick Reed’s passion is helping kids do the things they need, want and love to do in their lives.

Nick Reed has received numerous awards for his devotion and contributions to brain injury research including:

  • 2014 Special Recognition Award, Brain Injury Association of Canada, Canada. 
  • 2014 Sustained Excellence in Research Supervision, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 
  • 2014 Exceptional Year Award, Clinical Scientist and Occupational Therapist in the field of pediatric concussion, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabiliatation Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Clinical Team

Physicians 

Dr. Peter Rumney, MD, FRCPC, Senior Physician Director 

Dr. Ryan Hung, MD, FRCPC, Pediatric Neurologist 

Dr. Alysha Ladha, MD, FRCPC, Developmental Pediatrician 

Dr. Bev Moylan, MD, FRCPC, Pediatric Physiatrist

Dr. Katie Nanos, MD, FRCPC, Physiatrist

 

Clinical Team 

Dr. Lily Riggs, Neuropsychologist 

Dr. Shannon Scratch, Neuropsychologist

Dr. Janine Kay, Neuropsychologist

Stephanie McFarland, Occupational Therapist 

Andie Hickling, Occupational Therapist

Kim Moody, Physiotherapist

Sunita Mathai, Social Worker 

Kristin Ranchigoda, Registered Nurse

Cyndy Bryson, Intake Coordinator

Operations Team

James Murphy

Manager, Early Concussion Care Program

James completed his BSc. Kinesiology (Hons.) at the University of Waterloo and his MSc. within the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences specializing in Biomechanics and Neuroscience at the University of Guelph. His master’s research explored various balance outcome measures in varsity athletes before and after sustaining a concussion. James is now a Registered Kinesiologist within the province of Ontario (OKA/CKO). He has past experience working with youth and adult sport injuries in rehabilitation, training, and fitness/wellness settings.

In addition to his studies and clinical experience, sport is always a very important part of James’ life playing competitive hockey and soccer from a young age. He has played competitive soccer at both regional and provincial levels and also at the varsity inter-university level for the University of Waterloo, and was captain during his final three years of competition. He also has a strong passion for concussion education and ensuring that every youth has access to appropriate care following a concussion. 

Stephanie McFarland, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Occupational Therapist, Partnerships Coordinator   

Stephanie has completed her MSc in Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto and BSc Health Sciences with a minor in Psychology at the University of Ottawa. Stephanie has had valuable experience working with concussion, traumatic/acquired brain injury, and mental illness. 

Stephanie is currently working as an occupational therapist in the early concussion care and inpatient brain injury programs at Holland Bloorview. In addition to this role, she is the Partnerships Coordinator at the Concussion Centre. She provides consultation, education, training and awareness to sport and school organizations in the community. She is also passionate about developing creative, efficient, cost-effective ways of approaching healthcare that enhance patient's lives and enabling them to participate in meaningful activities.

Stephanie was heavily involved in competitive gymnastics from a young age. Since then, she also spent 10 years working as a competitive gymnastics coach and choreographer. 

Research Staff

Anne Hunt

Clinical Study Investigator, Manager of the On TRACK Concussion Program 

Clinical Scientist Page

Follow Dr. Anne Hunt on Twitter: @AnneWHunt  

Anne received her PhD in rehabilitation science from University of Toronto in 2014, her MSc in occupational therapy from Columbia University and her BSc in psychology from McGill University. She is a registered occupational therapist in the province of Ontario.

Anne became interested in finding effective interventions for her clients with cognitive impairments due to brain injury during her career as a clinical occupational therapist.  She enrolled in the Rehabilitation Science program at University of Toronto in 2009 and her research explored the impact of therapist communication and organizational influences on client-centred goal setting with individuals with acquired brain injury.

Her post-doctoral research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions for facilitating return to activity for youth with persistent symptoms following concussion.  Currently, she is exploring how the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) approach can help these youth return to activity.  She also has an interest in developing existing technology in innovative ways and is exploring how eye tracking technology can facilitate concussion management. 

Katherine Wilson

Research Manager

Katherine received her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (Honours Co-op) at the University of Waterloo and completed her Master of Science in Biomechanics at McMaster University in the Department of Kinesiology. 

Currently, Katherine is the Research Manager of the Concussion Centre within the Bloorview Research Institute at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Katherine assists Dr. Nick Reed in coordinating and executing a large team grant study 'NeuroCare, as Innovation in Intervention: A Neurophysiological Approach to Determine Readiness for Return to Activity'. Katherine currently manages the recruitment and data collection of control participants, while supporting the data analysis of baseline assessments and post-injury data. Katherine supports all research initiatives within the Concussion Centre, including projects involving graduate students, student placements and research volunteers.

Katherine has previously worked as a kinesiologist, personal trainer and coach, overseeing and designing individualized rehabilitation programs for athletes post-injury. Katherine's research is influenced by her background in sports, including soccer, figure skating, field hockey and track and field. She has played competitive soccer from a young age including at the varsity inter-university level for the University of Waterloo.  Katherine was also a soccer skills instructor for the Waterloo Minor Soccer Club and mentored elementary school children through the Varsity Team Up Program at the University of Waterloo.

Dayna Greenspoon, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Research Coordinator, Occupational Therapist

Dayna completed her B.Sc  Honours in psychology at York University in 2009, and her MSc. in occupational therapy at McMaster University in 2011. She is a registered occupational therapist with The College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario. 

Dayna is currently working as a research coordinator at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in the Bloorview Research Institute, the Concussion Centre. She is currently working on various projects examining assessment and treatment modalities for children with concussion. Her clinical and research goals involve improving the quality of life of children with acquired brain injuries, and helping them return to the activities they need to, want to and love to do. She has a keen interest in concussions and improving childrens’ ability to return to meaningful activity after injury through investigation of new and unique treatment, education, and rehabilitation methods. Dayna also has an interest in investigating outcome measures that can be used with children with brain injuries. Dayna also supports the On TRACK Concussion Program, where she co-supervises clinical occupational and physical therapy students, and also supports/supervises master student research projects and research volunteers. Dayna has clinical and research experience in pediatrics, acquired brain injury, concussion, neuromuscular diseases, and return-to-school and physical activity.

Andie Hickling, MScOT, OT Reg. (Ont.)

Research Coordinator, Occupational Therapist

Andie completed her BSc Kinesiology (Hons.) at McMaster University in 2012, and her MSc in Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto in 2014.  Her master’s research focused on the transition from school to meaningful vocational roles for youth with autism. She is currently a registered Occupational Therapist with the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario.

Andie is currently working as a Research Coordinator on a Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) funded project examining the impact and utility of a peer-led approach to raising concussion awareness in high schools across Canada.

Andie has a strong passion for integrating research and clinical care. She has experience working with individuals with a variety of neurological impairments including stroke, spinal cord injury and acquired brain injury. She currently works as an Occupational Therapist in the Persistent Symptoms Clinic at Holland Bloorview, and is passionate about helping children, youth and their families return to meaningful activities after a concussion. She also has experience working in the Inpatient Brain Injury and Early Concussion Care programs at Holland Bloorview.  

Melissa Paniccia

Research Associate 

Melissa Paniccia is an occupational therapist and a passionate pediatric concussion researcher. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. In 2010, Melissa completed a BSc (hons.) at the University of Toronto. In 2013, she completed her MSc in Occupational Therapy, where her interest in pediatric concussion assessment and treatment emerged. Recently, Melissa completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences, at the University of Toronto.

During her doctoral program, Melissa explored objective neurophysiological variation (heart rate variability) in youth athletes following concussion in the context of subjective symptom reporting. Her work: (1) established the foundation for understanding healthy autonomic nervous system function in healthy, non-concussed youth athletes; (2) identified and described the longitudinal trajectory of recovery when examining clinical and physiological correlates; (3) explored the impact of a novel clinical intervention (mindfulness-based yoga) on heart rate variability in youth with persistent concussion symptoms. Melissa has been invited to present her work both locally and internationally. More notably, she was invited to deliver a talk at the International Pediatric Brain Injury Society Conference. She was also invited to present her clinical intervention work as a TED talk for the Annual Bloorview Research Institute Symposium, and won the “Evidence to Care” award for her work in clinical intervention. Melissa’s research has been funded by the following awards and scholarships: Canadian Traumatic Brain Injury Research Consortium PhD Award, Bloorview Research Institute Student Fellowship, Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the Canadian Occupational Therapy Doctoral Scholarship, and the Margaret and Nicholas Fodor fellowship.

In her current role as a postdoctoral fellow, Melissa is contributing to the evaluation, development and implementation of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation pediatric concussion guidelines.

Christine Provvidenza

Knowledge Translation Specialist

Christine Provvidenza completed her Bachelor of Physical and Health Education and Master of Science, Exercise Science at the University of Toronto. She is also a registered Kinesiologist. As a Kinesiologist, Christine has been involved in the development and delivery of sport-based injury prevention programs, with a specific focus on concussion education initiatives for athletes, coaches and parents. She has practiced concussion education and awareness with athletes and parents through her work in a sport-concussion clinic at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, as well as in her work at ThinkFirst Canada.

Christine has a wide-range of expertise in research and program development and has experience with and a passion for knowledge translation and exchange.  One of her areas of interest is examining the role of knowledge translation in enhancing and optimizing concussion education. She has examined and published work in the area of concussion education and knowledge translation, which is not a well-documented area of research, and continues to conduct research in this field.

Currently, Christine is a Knowledge Translation Specialist for Evidence to Care, Teaching and Learning Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital and is currently leading a knowledge translation and implementation plan for a pain assessment tool box for assessing chronic pain for cerebral palsy outpatients.  She is also a Knowledge Translation Specialist for the Concussion Centre, Bloorview Research Institute, at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  In her role with the Concussion Research Centre, Christine is engaged in many projects, but is specifically involved in the development, implementation and evaluation of ‘Concussion and You,’ a group-based concussion education and peer support session incorporating a supplementary toolbox, designed to change knowledge and attitudes towards concussion amongst youth athletes.

Students & Trainees

Karolina Urban

PhD Student

Karolina received her Bachelor’s degree in the Faculty of Physical Health and Education with a minor in psychology from the University of Toronto. She then completed her M.Sc in Neurosciences from the University of Calgary while exploring brain function and communication using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in pediatric concussion.  
  
Karolina is currently a PhD student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and collaborative program in Neurosciences at the University of Toronto. As part of the Concussion Centre team, Karolina’s research is focused on using various imaging techniques to explore brain alterations following pediatric concussion including fNIRS and MRI. 
  
Karolina’s passion for research came from her own experiences with concussion while playing for the University of Toronto Varsity Women’s ice hockey team and in the Canadian Women’s Hockey League. Karolina has also played at an international level with the Kazakhstan National Hockey team. More recently, Karolina earned a gold medal for Canada at the 2015 Ball Hockey World Championships in Zug, Switzerland.

Katie Mah

PhD Student

Katie Mah received her B.Sc. in Nursing from The University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario and her M.Sc. in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto. Katie is a registered Occupational Therapist within the province of Ontario and has previously worked in a clinical capacity with children and their families at home and at school, to enable participation in everyday activities. Additionally, Katie has worked as a teaching assistant within the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto since 2012.

Katie is currently pursuing her PhD in the Department of Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto, and is completing her research within the Bloorview Research Institute at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Katie’s thesis work will focus on exploring how youth think and feel about concussion using interactive and engaging research methods. 

In addition to her academic pursuits and clinical experience, Katie is passionate about physical activity and sport. Katie began playing hockey as a child and her interest in sport has taken her beyond the ice to other sports including lacrosse, running, cycling, swimming, and triathlon. Katie was previously a member of the Varsity Blues lacrosse team (University of Toronto) and has completed numerous running races and long distance triathlons. 

Charlotte Anderson

PhD Student

Charlotte completed her Bachelor degree in Kinesiology (Hons) at the University of Western Ontario in 2009. She received her MSc in Physiotherapy from the University of Toronto in 2012, winning the Goldie Lewis Award for the demonstration of high attributes while in the program. She is currently working on her PhD in the department of Rehabilitation Science at U of T. 

Charlotte owns and practices out of ALPHA Health Services, a private physiotherapy clinic in Toronto. As a clinical practitioner, she has noticed a gap and inconsitencies in the diagnosis, treatment and management of concussions within the Canadian healthcare system. Charlotte's sense that there is a role for physiotherapy in concussion management has led her to pursuing her PhD in this area. 

Charlotte is an elected member on the executive of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association and is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Toronto. Charlotte was a competitive rower for 9 years, racing for the Unviersity of Western Ontario and competing internationally.

Kylie Mallory

PhD Student

Kylie completed her B.Sc Kinesiology (Honours) at McMaster University in 2015, and her M.Sc in Occupational Therapy from the University of Toronto in 2017. Her master’s research project focused on the occupational performance issues of youth with hemiplegia after an acquired brain injury. Kylie is currently a Ph.D student in the Rehabilitation Sciences Department at the University of Toronto and is completing her research in the Concussion Centre within the Bloorview Research Institute. Kylie’s research is focused on the implementation and evaluation of a peer-led concussion program for high school students across Canada.

Tiffany Toong

Masters Student

Tiffany completed her Bachelor degree in Kinesiology from the University of Toronto, receiving the Governor General’s Award as the top graduating student in the Faculty. Tiffany is currently a Masters student in the department of Rehabilitation Science, and is completing her research within the Bloorview Research Institute at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital. Her research focuses on evaluating the sensitivity and reliability of common clinical measures to gauge concussion recovery in youth athletes.  Tiffany was awarded the prestigious CIHR Canadian Graduate Scholarship at the Masters level and the Bloorview Graduate Student Scholarship to support her graduate training.

Tiffany’s deep interest in concussion research began after a forced retirement from elite women’s ice hockey as a result of multiple concussions. Since then, she has taken on various roles within the Concussion Research Lab as a volunteer, youth advisor and collaborator, placement student, and baseline testing specialist. Despite her retirement form hockey, Tiffany remains passionate about physical activity and sport. She competed for the University of Toronto dragon boat team for four years, winning gold at the World Championships in 2012 in Hong Kong and National Championships in 2013 and 2014. In her spare time, Tiffany also enjoys coaching minor hockey in Toronto.

Alumni Students & Trainees

Melissa Paniccia, PhD (Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto)
Heart rate variability and concussion: Exploring neurophysiological variation in youth athletes; Sep 2013 – Dec 2017

Harminder Sandhu, MSc (Clinical Engineering, IBBME, University of Toronto)
Evaluating the usability and utility of a smartphone technology to help youth self-manage their concussion; Sep 2014 – Jan 2017

Lee Verweel, MSc (Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, University of Toronto)
The use of heart rate variability amongst youth with concussion; Sep 2013 – Sept 2015