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Junior Researcher Development Program

2019 Junior Researcher Award Winners

Photo of 2019 Junior Researcher Development Award Winner Alla Yakerson

Alla Yakerson

2019 Junior Research Award Winner

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 Priority: Clinical and Health Services Excellence

Picture of 2019 Junior Researcher Development Award Winner Kristina Smith

Kristina Smith

2019 Junior Research Award Winner

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 doctoral work 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 Priority: Children with Complex Medical Needs

Picture of 2019 Junior Researcher Development Award Winner Todd Tran

Todd Tran

2019 Junior Research Award Winner

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 Priority: Cognitive Impairment