Accessible Parks Canada

Research Analyst
Fall and Keypoints (Joints) Detection of Elders in Long-term Care Homes

Meng-Fen is a Research Analyst with the Engineering Health team at the UHN KITE Research Institute. She earned a PhD degree from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto in 2022. Meng-Fen is enthusiastic about bridging rehabilitation knowledge and AI applications to investigate and improve quality of life of elders and individuals with disability.

In 2023, she joined the Engineering Health lab and worked on a fall and keypoints (joints) detection project that aims to automatically identify which elder may fall or be at a high risk of falling. This project will benefit elders or individuals with disabilities of the lower extremities to track and evaluate their walking ability over time. By collecting the evaluation results, the results can be used to decide whether an intervention is needed to prevent falls.

Research Analyst
Improving Accessibility of our National Parks

Hannah is a Research Analyst with the Engineering Health team at the UHN KITE Research Institute. She completed her Master’s degree in Sustainable Leisure Management at Vancouver Island University with a focus on accessibility in popular and crowded parks. Hannah has a background in health and wellbeing, graduating from the University of Western Ontario (Western University) in 2019 with a bachelor of arts in sociology of population, aging and health. She also explored her passion for wellbeing within the travel and tourism industry, completing a diploma in travel and tourism at St. Clair College.

Hannah joined the Engineering Health Lab in 2021. Alongside team members, she has worked on a preliminary document for Accessibility Standards Canada, conducting analyses of various standards and guidelines for accessible tourism. Hannah is currently a part of the Accessible Parks Canada team where she is assisting with the 2023 Parks Accessibility Conference and other related projects.

Research Analyst
Better Winter Footwear, Slip Detection

Shreya joined the Engineering Health team at the KITE Research Institute (UHN) in 2022 as a Research Analyst. She graduated from the University of Guelph (’21) with a degree in Biomedical Engineering and an interest in helping develop medical devices to improve quality of life and healthcare. Currently, she is working on developing wearable devices that will be used as part of a slip detection system for evaluating the slip-resistance of winter footwear in real-world settings. The data from these devices will give important information on the behaviour of different winter footwear during typical winter use.

Clinical Research Manager
Improving Accessibility of our National Parks

Melanie completed her master’s degree in clinical engineering at the University of Toronto. She works as a Clinical Research Manager and engineer at KITE, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – University Health Network. Melanie is currently splitting her time between two teams – Engineering Health and Swallowing Rehabilitation Research Laboratory. Melanie also participates in a number of committees at KITE. She has been involved in large international multi-site clinical trials and has extensive experience implementing grant proposals into working research projects.

Research Student
Slip Detection

Hassan recently completed his 3rd year of Biomedical Engineering at the Toronto Metropolitan University, formerly known as Ryerson University and joined the Engineering Health team as a Research Student. He is passionate about developing innovative tools and devices that will improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. By being part of the Engineering Health team, he hopes to learn skills and concepts and apply them to create rehabilitation engineering solutions. He aspires to continue relevant research in the field of biomedical engineering after completing his undergraduate studies through graduate school.

Graduate Student
Caregiver Educational Needs for Pressure Injury Prevention

Raquel is a Graduate Student with the Engineering Health team at the UHN KITE Research Institute. She completed her bachelors at York University in the Kinesiology and Health Sciences program. Raquel’s interest in rehabilitation research as well as data analytics and visualization led her to enroll in the Research Analyst Graduate Program at Humber College.

Raquel’s main research focus at University Health Network involves evaluating the needs and priorities of healthcare providers and informal caregivers of individuals with a history of a pressure injury to inform the development of an educational intervention compendium. She will be coding and analyzing interviews on NVivo, designing and implementing the research ethic board proposal, and contributing to the preparation of written and visual materials for research reports.

Research Analyst
Improving Accessibility of our National Parks

Alison started her work as a research analyst on the Engineering Health team in February 2021. She completed her Master of Science in Manager at Ryerson University, with a research focus in accessible media and closed captioning quality controls. Alison has a professional background in public and private sector policy development. Her current research focuses are accessibility standards and related policy improvements.

PhD Student
COVID-19 and Individuals with Disabilities and Unpaid Caregivers, Safe Evacuation, Improving Accessibility at our National Parks

Yashoda started her work as a clinical research analyst on the Engineering Health team in May 2020. She has completed her Masters of Physical Therapy degree at Queen’s University and practices clinically as a Physical Therapist while working in research. Yashoda will be starting her PhD at the University of Toronto starting in September 2020. She is interested in improving clinical care provided to older adults by investigating the role of technology in practice.

Research Student

Haashim is entering his 3rd year of Biomedical Engineering at Ryerson University in September and is working as a Research Student on the Engineering Health Team. He hopes his work with KITE and the Engineering Health Team will help create engineering solutions related to accessibility. He is interested in joining the Biomedical R&D sector in the future and looks forward to researching ways to improve the quality of life for others. In his free time, he enjoys working on projects and meeting up with friends to play sports.

Waqas is a Research Associate with a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Toronto. He joined the Engineering Health team in June 2020. Waqas has a keen interest in design and development of medical technologies, and is using his background in health and wellness to improve the well-being of personal support workers (PSWs) and caregivers. He is involved in facilitating research studies that focus on reducing lower back injuries for individuals in these groups. He is the first author of the project titled “Evacuating Individuals with Disabilities from the Built Environment”. He is also currently working on a project related to improving accessibility of Canada’s national parks. As a fitness enthusiast and small business owner, he is also excited to potentially test the PostureCoach device within a fitness setting for the first time.

Graduate Student
Pedestrian Detection

Jakson is a graduate student at the University of Toronto starting in Fall 2021. He graduated from the University of Guelph in Biomedical Engineering and will be joining the Engineering Health team at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Jakson is interested in rehabilitative engineering and assistive technologies. His primary research project will involve the application of Machine Learning and Computer Vision techniques to identify individuals using assistive devices and track their movements along outdoor walkways using birds-eye-view video.

Masters Student
Hand Hygiene Prompting System

Paul is an Engineering Science Graduate focusing of Biomedical Systems engineering and minoring in robotics. Paul’s project involves person tracking for the purpose of hand-washing. Creating a tracking system which can accurately determine the amount of people entering a room/or household and reminding the individuals entering to use he alcohol gel dispenser. Hand hygiene is an imperative mitigation strategy during the emergence of a new pathogen, unfortunately it is often not adhered to in a clinical or community setting. However, the use of visual cues or reminder systems greatly improves the rate of hand hygiene.

Paul has interests in signal processing, hardware development, rehabilitation and clinical devices, and bio signal processing.

Masters Student

Anchana is a graduate student with the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. She completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University in the Honours Life Sciences program. Her strong interest in clinical research led her to enroll in the Master of Applied Science.

Anchana’s main research focus at University Health Network involves evaluating strategies for enhancing community mobility for individuals with disabilities. She will be assessing environmental features and testing interventions to improve pedestrian mobility.

Research Analyst
Safe Evacuation, Improving Accessibility of our National Parks

Zeyad is a Research Analyst with the Engineering Health team at TRI. He is currently working towards obtaining his MASc in Engineering Systems and Computing + AI on a project that is at the convergence of rehabilitation robotics and autonomous feeding operation. Ever since January 2021, Zeyad has been involved in accessibility-related projects alongside the Engineering Health team. He has prototyped an all-mechanical PostureCoach device to mitigate improper posture and has assisted other master’s students in their machine learning projects. He is a co-author of the project titled “Revising Recommendations for Evacuating Individuals with Functional Limitations in the Built Environment”. He is also currently working on our parks project, improving the accessibility of Canada’s national parks and has been involved in the event production for PAC2022 and this year’s PAC2023.

Hamed is a Scientific Associate at the Engineering Health Team. His research area is currently focused on Machine Learning and Computer Vision for pedestrian movement tracking and unusual pattern detection.

He earned his Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering, Biomechanics from Azad University, Tehran Science and Research Branch in 2010, while studying changes in the postural control system of hemiplegic patients after stroke and their improvement following different rehabilitation routines.

Before joining Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Hamed was a faculty member of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Azad University.

Affiliate Scientist
SoreLoser, Caregiver Educational Needs for Pressure Injury Prevention

Dr. Sharon Gabison is currently the Hallisey Affiliate Scientist. Her research in spinal cord injury and pressure injuries (also known as “bed sores”) along with her clinical background as a Physical Therapist has led to her interest in the development of technology and tools to prevent pressure injuries.

She earned her PhD in Medical Sciences from the University of Toronto while she studied the relationships between trunk function, pressure offloading and tissue health in individuals with spinal cord injury. As part of her PhD, she developed a novel ultrasound imaging protocol for tissue health assessment.

Her current research projects for pressure injury prevention include 1) testing the PrIME (Pressure Injury Management and Education) system in the home and long-term care environments and 2) Testing Smart-e-Pants in the long-term care environment. She is also interested in exploring the educational needs and perspectives of individuals and their caregivers with a current or past history of pressure injuries in order to address the needs of individuals and their caregivers living with pressure injuries.

Dr. Gabison has also been involved in the development of Pressure Ulcer Target, a novel educational App for individuals living with Spinal Cord Injury at risk of developing Pressure Injuries.

Project Support

Gary has had experience in the private sector electronics manufacturing: pulp and paper research, high precision weighing, distributed control systems, fire/security systems. He is a trained electronic technologist by nature but has also worked with circuit and system design, programming, and project management. He currently is working with the Home and Community Team to support the electrical/electronic portion of various research projects.

Postdoctoral Fellow
Improving Accessibility of our National Parks, Better Winter Footwear

Neha is a physical therapist from India and a researcher in Canada. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s in Physical Therapy from India. She worked there as a physical therapist and lecturer for two years from 2010-2012. In 2016, Neha completed her PhD training, in part funded by Joint Motion Program – Canadian Institute of Health Research Strategic Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research and Leadership, under the mentorship of Dr. Joy C MacDermid, at the School of Rehabilitation Sciences, McMaster University, Canada. During her PhD training, she explored the role of modifiable risk factors for preventing secondary falls and osteoporotic fractures among people with wrist fracture. Subsequently, she joined her first postdoctoral fellowship at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay (2017-2020) where she worked on a randomized trial evaluating the effectiveness of a supervisor training program on work disability and workers’ self-reported outcomes among manufacturing workers in Canada.

In June 2021, she joined Engineering Health Team as a Postdoctoral Fellow. As part of this fellowship, she will be working on Fall Prevention, Caregiver Back Injury Prevention, and the National Park Accessibility Projects.

PhD Student
Slip Detection, Better Winter Footwear

Davood Dadkhah is a Ph.D. student at the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), University of Toronto and he is conducting research at the Toronto rehabilitation institute. Davood’s background is in electrical engineering. He has experience working on human pose estimation using wearable sensors both with model-based and non-model based methods. Davood’s current research focuses on developing wearable sensors and algorithms for slip detection.

Research Analyst
Safe Evacuation, Better Winter Footwear

Abdulrahman is a Research Analyst with the Engineering Health team at the UHN KITE Research Institute. He is a Biomedical Sciences graduate (’21) from Ryerson University. Abdulrahman’s passion for rehabilitation research and prevention in the care of older adults stemmed from his time supporting a nearby geriatrics hospital ward and listening to patients’ stories and their lived experiences.

In 2019, he joined the Engineering Health lab and worked on a fall prevention project to identify vulnerable populations and conditions that impact minimum foot clearance and tripping risk. Most recently, he is authoring a scoping review to identify solutions that help people with disabilities evacuate safely and efficiently from the built environment in an emergency. The findings will help inform future emergency evacuation guidelines and procedures in Canada.

Dr. Tilak Dutta is a Scientist at the Kite Research Institute, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – UHN, and holds Assistant Professor cross-appointments at the University of Toronto at the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. He leads the Engineering Health team, whose goal is to give individuals with disabilities and their caregivers the tools they need to live independently in their own homes. The three specific focus areas of his work are preventing falls, caregiver back injuries and pressure injuries.