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Congratulations to the 2020 Focus on Accessibility Award Winners

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The awards are prized to five up-and-coming researchers who are making a real difference in the lives of people living with the effects of disability, illness and aging.

This year, in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Seniors and Accessibility, the Focus on Accessibility Awards were prized to five up-and-coming researchers who are making a real difference in the lives of people living with the effects of disability, illness and aging. 

These students are being recognized for stopping memory deterioration in its tracks, promoting road safety in older adults, restoring hand and arm function in patients with stroke or spinal cord injury, preventing dangerous slips and falls and increasing mobility. 

Let’s meet our winners. 

  Julia Rybkina: Stopping memory decline in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients
Can a simple and accessible intervention stop memory degeneration in its tracks, all while improving brain health?  Using Google Street View, participants can take part in cognitive exercises that are accessible through a computer, tablet or smartphone. Julia’s research focuses on understanding the effectiveness of this intervention and developing the best strategies to deliver it.



Katherine Bak: Older adults and safe driving
Driving is not as simple as one would think. For older adults with age-related hearing loss, driving can be challenging. In her research, Katherine looks at the potential barriers these older adults face and how these barriers affect their safety using Driver Lab, Canada’s most advanced driving simulator.



Lazar Jovanovic: Restoring hand and arm function with the power of your brain
Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) technology has been around for years. Lazar is developing a new generation of FES to deliver stimulation to paralyzed muscles through the power of the brain. This technology is known as Brain Computer Interface (BCI), which controls electrical stimulation through the patient’s brain activity.



Rebecca Greene: Preventing dangerous bathroom slips and falls
One in five falls by older adults occur in the bathroom. Rebecca’s research looks at the effectiveness of rim-mounted grab bars on balance, posture and safety, and will inform, bathroom environmental design standards and clinical recommendations.




Sina Mehdizadeh: Falls prevention in dementia patients
Using a vision-based dynamic gait monitoring system, which includes two ceiling-mounted video cameras and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, Sina’s research focuses on recording and analyzing data that estimates fall risk among our most vulnerable.




Congratulations to our winners, who, among our other researchers and students, are making incredible progress in helping people with disabilities live happier, fuller and safer lives.