Holland Bloorview highlights Canadian pediatric health research at 12th Annual Research Symposium

On Tuesday, November 21, Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital’s s research institute (Bloorview Research Institute/BRI) welcomed over 260 guests to its 12th annual research symposium. With a record-breaking attendance, the full-day event highlighted Canada’s pediatric health research through featured TED talks, quick hits, lived experience panelists, poster sessions, and much more. The agenda recognized the work of Holland Bloorview’s scientists, families, clients, staff and trainees as well as incredible external guests and speakers, and provided an inspiring overview of leading pediatric health research that poses the greatest impact in the lives of kids with disabilities and their families.

“Each year I am inspired by the diversity of high quality research at Holland Bloorview, and this year was no exception,” says Tom Chau, vice-president of research at Holland Bloorview. “The symposium was truly a showcase of scientific excellence, innovation, and co-creation that knows no boundaries."

The day began with the Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation, and Science who provided an overview of the research landscape in Ontario and welcomed guests to the prestigious day. Manuela Comito, family leader and co-host of the symposium also shared opening remarks about the impact of family-engaged research and importance of the family voice at the heart of everything we do.

Honourable Reza Moridi, Minister of Research, Innovation, and Science provides opening remarks

(From L to R) Manuela Comito, family leader, Holland Bloorview; and Tom Chau, vice-president of research at Holland Bloorview co-host the event

Throughout the morning, guests were captivated by groundbreaking research being conducted at Holland Bloorview and the ‘discovery for action’ approach for kids and families worldwide. Research talks included:

  • Connected by a thread: Enabling communication through electronic textiles (Amanda Fleury, Centre for Leadership in Innovation)
  • May I have this dance? Choreographic mappings of children with diverse dis/abilities (Coralee McLaren, Centre for Leadership in Participation and Inclusion)
  • Supporting family needs to create healthier futures for children with acquired brain injury (Caron Gan and Deirdre Sadler, Centre for Leadership in Acquired Brain Injury)
  • Co-creating physical activity-based interventions with children who have cerebral palsy: lessons from our "BeFAST or BeSTRONG" trial (Alicia Hilderley, Centre for Leadership in Child Development)

‘May I have this dance? Choreographic mappings of children with diverse dis/abilities’ interactive TED Talk by Coralee McLaren, Centre for Leadership in Participation and Inclusion

Audience captivated by engaging research talks 

Symposium guests were also taken down the research super-highway with 19 ‘Quick Hit’ presentations from researchers across the BRI. Lived experience panelists, which included families and youth sharing their experiences and insights from both participating in and advising on research, provided critical information particularly as it relates to what they hope for the future of research in childhood disability.

Lived Experience panel: (From L to R) Marla, family leader, Holland Bloorview; Hannah, client; Matthew, client and mom Karen; and Ayesha, youth advisory council member, Holland Bloorview

There were 56 poster presentations showcased in the afternoon, with a range of research topics across all Centres for Leadership. A moving and thought-provoking town hall led by Lisa Boivin, a member of the Deninu K'ue First Nations in the Northwest Territories and image-based storyteller, and Julia Gray, post-doctoral fellow at Holland Bloorview; shared a visual narrative of an Indigenous perspective of rehabilitation. Mickey Milner International Professorship Lecture Keynote Dr. Roberta Woodgate, CIHR Chair in Reproductive and Child Health Services and Policy Research, formally concluded the guest speaker portion of the 12th annual research symposium. 

Poster session – a total of 56 posters on display!

Finally, the event could not have been complete without recognizing the tireless efforts of Holland Bloorview’s scientists, researchers, students, and trainees. Find out this year’s Notable Award recipients below.

Post-event reception

Thanks to everyone who attended the 12th annual research symposium! 

Town Hall

Mickey Milner International Professorship Lecture

Notable Awards

Hope Tree