The Focus on Accessibility Awards were introduced at KITE Research Day in 2019
TORONTO-KITE and the Ontario government are working together to recognize students whose research is making a difference in the lives of people living with the effects of disability, illness and aging.
The Focus on Accessibility Awards, which honour the unique achievements of our young researchers, were introduced at KITE Research Day in 2019. Winners of the awards play an instrumental role in Ontario’s culture of accessibility by developing innovative yet practical designs, technologies, programs and solutions to improve quality of life. The awards are financially supported by the Ministry for Seniors and Accessibility.
The following five researchers were granted awards at Research Day for their contributions to disability prevention, restoration and independent living.
Konika Nirmalanathan: Bathing and Grab Bar Safety
Konika was recognized for her work assisting seniors and individuals with mobile or sensory impairments. Konika’s research supports healthy and independent living for individuals and supports the design of bathing and grab bars. By improving the accessibility and safety of accident-prone bathrooms, Konika’s research aims to allow people to age in place safely.
Mahzar Eisapour: VR Rehab for Dementia
Mahzar imagined a world where people with dementia would be able to stay active and engage in a variety of new and immersive exercises for the mind and body. Mahzar created custom-built virtual reality exergames specially designed for older adults with dementia with the goal of stimulating both physical and cognitive functions. Updating these exergames according to user feedback, Mahzar is helping redefine the ways dementia patients lead their lives.
Carly Barbon: Swallowing Disorders
Dysphagia is a swallowing impairment that is common in elderly people with neurological diseases that affects 8 per cent of the world’s population. Carly’s research has helped develop recipes for the preparation of barium for use in the swallowing assessment, matching flow characteristics to liquids prescribed to patients with dysphagia, using the IDDSI flow test. Her work has been revolutionary in ensuring patient safety that is simple and affordable.
Ivan Solano: Walkers and Assistive Technology
Living with a learning disability himself, Ivan has a personal understanding of disability and its impact on people’s everyday lives. Ivan’s research focuses on assistive technologies, specifically walkers for the elderly. His work investigates whether or not people are matched with a suitable assisting device. Ivan is an advocate of barrier-free access and has organized various learning disability workshops with Integra.
Iris Levine: Bathing and Grab Bar Safety
Iris is a TRI-KITE fellow and a mentor for students working on projects that support healthy and accessible living for adults with mobility or sensory impairments. These projects include designing technologies for bathing and grab bars. She is also involved in research designed to improve pedestrian accessibility outdoors. Iris is recognized for her dedication to accessibility as well as her supportive role assisting graduate students.
Researchers and students at KITE and the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute are making new discoveries, creating innovative solutions and leading dynamic projects designed to help people with disabilities live happier, healthier lives. The Focus on Accessibility Awards were created to recognize and reward those who inspire change and make a significant impact in the world of accessibility.