Speaker Bios

Speakers Bios

Dr. Jeff Blackmer – Vice President, International Health, Canadian Medical Association

Dr. Blackmer currently serves as the Vice President, International Health at the Canadian Medical Association. Prior to this, he served as the CMA’s Vice President of Medical Professionalism and as the Executive Director of the CMA’s Office of Ethics.

Sean Dukelow – Associate Professor, University of Calgary

Sean Dukelow holds the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Calgary and is the Medical Director of Stroke Rehabilitation for the Calgary Stroke Program. He obtained an undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph followed by his medical degree and PhD (Neuroscience) at the University of Western Ontario. He then completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and post-doctoral fellowship in stroke robotics at Queen’s University before moving to take his current position in Calgary. He founded the Stroke Robotics and Recovery laboratory in Calgary in 2009 and acts as the Research Director for the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency training program.
His research interests include:

  1. The development of robotic assessment tools to accurately quantify sensory, motor and cognitive dysfunction and recovery after stroke and traumatic brain injury
  2. Improving understanding of brain dysfunction and neuroplasticity after stroke using tools such as robotics and neuroimaging techniques (voxel based lesion symptom mapping, functional MRI, diffusion tensor imaging)
  3. The development of novel robotic rehabilitation techniques for individuals following stroke and
  4. The use of non-invasive brain stimulation to enhance recovery after stroke.

Hillel Finestone – Bruyere Research Institute

Dr. Vithya Gnanakumar – Clinical assistant professor, University of Calgary

I am originally from Alberta, and completed medical school at the University of Calgary, then residency in PM&R at Western University. I completed one additional year of pediatric rehabilitation medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. I have been in practice in Calgary, at the Alberta Children’s Hospital since 2012. Most of my time is spent in a general pediatric physiatry clinic. I enjoy a range of multidisciplinary pediatric clinics including myelomeningocele, neuromuscular, amputee, arthrogryposis, young adult, and this somatic rehabilitation clinic. My work in this particular clinic, a pilot clinic created in 2016. has been exceptionally educational and rewarding.

Dr. Sherri Katz – Pediatric Respirologist, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Dr. Sherri Katz is a Pediatric Respirologist and Chief of the Division of Pediatric Respirology at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, as well as Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She is a Senior Scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute and is the principal investigator of several multicentre studies evaluating respiratory technologies including non-invasive ventilation in children with chronic diseases and lung volume recruitment in children with neuromuscular diseases. She is also a wife and proud Mom of two daughters.

Dr. Anna McCormick – Medical Director of Developmental Medicine and Rehabilitation, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Dr. McCormick is one of few individuals in Canada to be dual Royal College certified in Pediatrics and Rehabilitation Medicine. She is the Medical Director of Developmental Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario where she has been in practice for over 20 years. She is a consultant at the local Children’s Treatment Center and The Ottawa Rehabilitation Center and an Associate Professor with the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Hugh McMillan – Pediatric Neurologist, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

Dr. McMillan is a Pediatric Neurologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and an Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. McMillan has been an author or co-author of over 65 publications in peer-review journals and was recently been an editor of a Pediatric Electromyography textbook with over 25 international contributors. He is active with clinical and translational research in pediatric neurology & neuromuscular medicine. He has been the Principal Investigator of several active investigator-initiated or sponsor-initiated clinical trials.

Tyler Pirlot – Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist, Alberta Health Services / Alberta Children’s Hospital

Tyler Pirlot is a Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist based out of Alberta Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Calgary, Alberta. Educated at the Universities of Saskatchewan and Calgary, Dr. Pirlot started the Pediatric Consultation-Liaison Service at ACH upon completion of his residency in 2005. He continues to work in the area of psychosomatic medicine including a pilot project Somatic Rehabilitation Clinic which was started over a year ago at ACH. In addition to this work, Dr. Pirlot helped form a national Pediatric Consultation-Liaison (CL) Psychiatry Working Group, bringing together pediatric CL psychiatrists from across Canada to share best practices and increase the profile of this important area of child and adolescent psychiatry. He and other members of this group have made numerous presentations at conferences in Canada and the United States. Dr. Pirlot has also worked long term with Children’s Services, helping with the mental health treatment of children and teens in care and in the past, he has also worked with School-based Mental Health as well as rural locums in Northern Alberta. Dr. Pirlot recently completed his tenure as President of the Section of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry with the Alberta Medical Association and he currently sits on a Specialists advisory group with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. As a Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary, Dr. Pirlot regularly is a preceptor to psychiatry and family medicine residents as well as clinical clerks.

Dr Jacqueline Lovatt Stern

Dr Jacqueline Lovatt Stern is a PGY 3 resident training at the University of Ottawa. She is outgoing chief resident and isa general council representative for the Professional Association of Residents of Ontario (PARO). She completed medical school at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.

Her Physiatry interests so far include Stroke Rehabilitation, EMG and MSK. She has a special interest in Medical Education Research as well as Quality Improvement in the rehabilitation setting, particularly with regards to patient education and communication.

Dr. Derek Thong – PM&R Resident, McMaster University

An inventor and multiple patent holder, Dr. Derek Thong is a recent graduate of Stanford University’s Biodesign Innovation Fellowship – a program that teaches a structured approach to Medical Device Innovation in order to minimize risk and maximize impact. Currently, Derek is a PM&R resident at McMaster University. He earned his MD at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and also holds a BASc in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Toronto. Prior to medicine, he worked in management consulting, focusing on strategy and finance operations at Accenture and Ernst & Young in North America and Asia.

Dr. Gerald Wolff – Physiatrist, The Ottawa Hospital

Dr. Wolff graduated from Queens’ medical school in 2004 and completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at the University of Ottawa in 2009. Since 2011 Dr. Wolff has been the Electromyographer for the Ottawa Peripheral Nerve Trauma Clinic. He has been involved with international working groups exploring the utility of nerve transfer surgery in tetraplegics to restore hand function. In 2015 two of his patients became the first tetraplegics in Canada to have nerve transfer surgery.

Paul Winston – UBC Island Medical Program, Medical Director of Rehabilitation and Transiitions

Dr. Paul Winston is the President of the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. He is a co-founder of Canadian Advances in Neuro-Orthopedics for Spasticity Congress.
He acts as Medical Director of Rehabilitation and Transitions for Island Health and Medical Lead of Rehabilitation Medicine at Victoria General Hospital. He is a clinical assistant professor with the University of British Columbia and the Island Medical Program.
Dr. Winston obtained his BSc. in Human Biology at the University of Toronto and his Medical Degree from the University of Western Ontario. He completed his residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at U of T and obtained his EMG exam diploma from the Canadian Neurological Sciences Foundation.
Dr. Winston practices a wide physiatry practice, with both hospital based in-patient and out-patient neurorehabilitation medicine with a focus on spinal cord Injury, brain injury and spasticity management.
He has an outpatient EMG and MSK practice. He is Victoria based, but work at the UBC Multiple Sclerosis clinic and New West Rehab Dr. Winston is extensively involved in teaching medical students and residents as well as lecturing locally, nationally and internationally.

Dr .Christine Yang – Medical Director, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Elizabeth Bruyere Hospital, Bruyere Continuing Care, University of Ottawa.

Dr. Christine Yang is a Physiatrist with Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University of Ottawa. She is currently the Medical Director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Program at the Elisabeth Bruyere Hospital, and Rehabilitation Medical Director, Champlain Regional Stroke Network. She is specialized in stroke rehabilitation and spasticity management, is an electromyographer at The Ottawa Hospital. Dr. Yang’s stroke-related research interests include stroke rehabilitation efficiency, responsiveness of botulinum toxin and ultrasound guidance, virtual reality in stroke rehabilitation, post stroke fatigue and outcomes of return to work and drive in young patients following stroke, and fall screening for post stroke patients. She is Quality Improvement Champion in the Stroke Rehabilitation Program.