2019 Junior Researcher Award Winners

VHA’s Graduate Award was developed to offer mentorship and funding opportunities for promising young researchers who have a keen interest in studying and advancing evidence in the home care sector!  This year we received a number of astounding applications! We are pleased to announce that we have awarded three great researchers. Learn more about their work below!

Alla Yakerson is a PhD candidate and teaching assistant at the School of Health Policy and Management at York University. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a Master of Science in Physical Therapy. Her research interests include access to health care services and pain management. She is particularly interested in the equity issues surrounding access to home care services in Ontario. Her scholarly work includes direct contact with caregivers regarding the barriers in accessing enough care and obtaining respite from caregiving tasks. Her dissertation focuses on developing a standard, educational training tool for caregiver activities so that they can safely perform their duties. In addition, as a practicing physiotherapist in the GTA, she is concerned with evidence-based practices which make treatment more effective by using scientifically proven methods and research.

VHA Research Stream: Clinical and Health Service Excellence

  • Project tweet: Homecare is limited and patients rely on informal supports This research will improve caregiver experiences by developing a standard educational tool that trains on the safety techniques of care tasks At its core it’s about fundamental structural change the work of caregiving.

Kristina Smith is in her fourth year of doctoral studies in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education and is completing a joint degree with the Joint Centre for Bioethics at the University of Toronto. Kristina’s research focus pertains to the dimensions of human pain, suffering, illness, pediatric care, bioethics and narrative ethnography. Her doctoralwork focuses on exploring how waiting for a transplant is socially experienced as a form of suffering for paediatric transplant candidates, families, and healthcare providers in the home.

VHA Research Stream: Children with Complex Medical Needs

  • Project tweet: Kristina explores how waiting for a transplant is socially experienced as a form of suffering for paediatric transplant candidates in the home Findings will inform how homecare resources and policies can improve to ensure that families receive safe connected and effective care.

Todd Tran is an occupational therapist working at Women’s College Hospital, currently pursuing doctoral studies in the Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Rehabilitation Therapy in the Aging and Health Stream at Queen’s University. His research work will look at the impact of mindfulness on cognitive impairment with community-dwelling older adults. An innovative component to Todd’s dissertation will be looking at the acceptability of technology-based tablets (iPads), as a delivery method and data collection with this unique population. His favourite things to do is travelling, discovering and trying new cuisines and hanging out with his three nephews – all in that order.

VHA Research Stream: Cognitive Impairment

  • Project tweet: An innovative study from Todd Tran demonstrating a potential benefit that mindfulness may be an effective self-management strategy for older community-dwelling adults to reduce psychosocial concerns and promote satisfaction with functional performance; supporting aging-in-place.