Our Research > Key Partnerships

VHA Research

Key Partnerships

We are proud to have well-established academic partnerships with a number of organizations and researchers who share our commitment to improving the home care experiences of our clients, their families, and our providers, and to increasing the efficiency and capacity of our home care system.

AGE-WELL NCE (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life NCE Inc.) is Canada’s technology and aging network. AGE-WELL is dedicated to the creation of technologies and services that benefit older adults and caregivers. Our aim is to help older Canadians maintain their independence, health and quality of life through technologies and services that increase their safety and security, support their independent living, and enhance their social participation.

AGE-WELL has 42 member universities and research centres across Canada. Nearly 400 industry, government and non-profit partners have joined our network and the number continues to grow. Over 4,700 older adults and caregivers are involved to ensure that products are practical and useful

Michael Chrotowski, PhD is the Business Development and Industry Relations Manager at AGE-WELL nce, Canada’s technology and aging network. Michael works with researchers, startups and industry partners to help AGE-WELL bring innovations into the lives of older Canadians and caregivers. Having formerly grown a successful startup venture in healthcare, Michael often looks to help researchers and entrepreneurs on their own commercialization journey. Michael has a particular interest in technology as a tool to improve the health and wellbeing of others.

“VHA Home HealthCare has been a key partner for AGE-WELL for many years. Our researchers, innovators and partners have benefited from numerous collaborative projects and a strong level of engagement by VHA.”


Consumer-grade wearable device for predicting frailty in Canadian home care service clients: Prospective observational proof-of-concept study

Automated short-term longitudinal analyses of speech and language in dementia

Scientist, KITE Research Institute-UHN
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto

Dr. Novak is a Scientist with the KITE Research Institute at Toronto Rehab-UHN, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, University of Toronto. Dr. Novak’s primary research focuses on understanding mobility in challenging indoor and outdoor environments (such as stairs, ramps, bathrooms). Her work aims to understand the impact of aging and environmental factors on safe mobility, to reduce the risk of falls and support aging-in-place strategies. In addition to important clinical partnerships with VHA Home Healthcare, Dr. Novak is actively involved with current changes to the National Building Code of Canada and Canadian accessibility standards to build an age-friendly and safe environment.

“The important partnership between our research team at KITE-UHN and a leading organization in community care such as VHA Home HealthCare ensures that research is relevant and impactful. Together we aim to improve the health and safety for individuals living in their homes.”

Bathroom safety recommendations in homecare

Scientist, Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care

Jay Shaw is a Scientist at the Women’s College Hospital Institute for Health System Solutions and Virtual Care, and Research Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Ethics & Health at the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. Jay has a Status Appointment as Assistant Professor in the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto. He practiced as a physical therapist in community-based care prior to completing his PhD in 2012.

Jay’s program of research addresses the implementation and ethical implications of innovations in health care, with a special focus on innovative models of community-focused integrated care, digital health technologies, and applications of AI in health care. His research leverages qualitative social science approaches, and draws on theory from organization studies and science & technology studies. Jay partners closely with community members and health system stakeholders to ensure his research is practically relevant, and his work informs the ethical design of health system innovations that advance social justice in public health and health care.


“VHA has been an essential partner in advancing our research program on the role of community-based care in the future of health systems. The ongoing collaboration of the VHA team has contributed to building important insights on key policy topics to support a more integrated health system and how emerging health innovations can be taken up in community care. These are crucial topics for health systems to get right here in Ontario and around the world.”


Associate Professor, Ryerson University

Dr. Karen LeGrow received her BN from Memorial University of Newfoundland, her MN from Dalhousie University, and her PhD from University of Toronto. She has worked as a staff nurse, clinical instructor, and advance practice nurse at various settings across Canada. Her clinical expertise is in the areas of high-risk neonatal, pediatric nursing, and family-nurse relational practice.

The major foci of Dr. LeGrow’s program of research is to develop and nurture a innovative program of research, that critically examines the specific mechanisms by which “place” affects health and how it influences parent-health care provider relational care practices, specifically communication and decision making practices, for children with complex health care needs across the continuum of care.

Dr. LeGrow is an Associate Professor in the Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing, Faculty of Community Services, Ryerson University. She teaches in the collaborative BScN and Master of Nursing program and has actively mentored undergraduate and graduate students through her ongoing research projects.

“Collaborating and working with VHA, in my capacity as an educator and researcher, has been instrumental in helping strengthen the link between research and practice. It is a synergistic relationship where both are influencing one another for the benefit of children/families and health care practitioners”


CREOD, the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease, is dedicated to improving understanding and prevention of occupational disease. CREOD’s work addresses all parts of the health and safety continuum, including prevention, exposure assessment, early recognition, diagnosis, treatment, return-to-work, and outcomes, and features research programs in Occupational Lung Disease, Occupational Skin Disease, Hand-Arm Vibrations Syndrome and Biological Hazards. CREOD is a collaborative program of the University of Toronto and St Michael’s Hospital, funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour. It was founded in 2004 with support from the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

Dr. D. Linn Holness is Director of the Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease, Professor Emerita, University of Toronto, and an Occupational Medicine Physician at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Holness has done extensive research in the area of occupational health and safety in healthcare, with research interests spanning occupational disease and its identification, occupational health services and occupational health and safety for sub-populations including vulnerable workers. Her primary research focus is on prevention, health care utilization, diagnosis, return to work, and outcomes related to occupational skin disease.

“CREOD and VHA have been working together for three years -this has been a productive partnership developing and testing practical solutions to enhance occupational health and safety in workplaces.  The research team from VHA are amazing to work with.  In addition to their expertise, they are engaged and responsive, facilitating the research work.  I look forward to continued
research with VHA.”

Testing the hand dermatitis screen tool in the home health care sector

Spot It! Prevent It!

Research Manager, University of Toronto
Adjunct Professor, OCAD University

Patrick Feng is a research manager at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, where he leads a number of community-engaged research partnerships. These partnerships involve healthcare providers, policymakers, patients, caregivers and others, working collaboratively to improve health and transform health systems. Dr. Feng is also an Adjunct Professor at OCAD University, where he teaches in the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Program.

A two-time Fulbright Scholar, Patrick has led projects in a variety of domains including health, technology and sustainability. Areas of expertise include health policy, health technology assessment and innovation studies. Examples of recent work include creating a neighbourhood health map for the city of Barrie, designing support tools for Ontario Health Teams and measuring local health disparities resulting from COVID-19. Over the past two years, VHA has partnered with Dr. Feng to evaluate pilot health projects in Toronto.

“Working with VHA has opened doors for my research and helped ground this work in the real world contexts that health care organizations face every day.”


Maintaining critical capacity: Winter surge initiative