Online Tools: EBRSR Stroke Engine

Mirella Veras

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?
A: I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Montreal under the supervision of Dr. Dahlia Kairy. I have a background in physiotherapy and I am a registered kinesiologist in Ontario.  I am originally from Brazil and made Canada my new home in 2008 when I started my PhD in Population Health at the University of Ottawa which I completed in 2013.  I worked for many years with rehabilitation in primary healthcare/ community health care in Brazil where I had the opportunity to work with patients who had stroke and their caregivers and families.  I live in Ottawa and am a mother of a three year old girl.

Q: What compelled you to pursue stroke research?
A: My interest with stroke started during the time when I was a physical therapy student and my grandmother had stroke. At this time I just had completed a neurorehabilitation clinical and practical courses and was able to understand what was  happening with her and help her as much as possible.  After I completed my physical therapy program, I worked with many patients who suffered a stroke in primary health care/community health care. I had the opportunity to work on the stroke rehabilitation and family and caregivers education facilitating support groups. These experiences gave me a picture of the impact that stroke has on patients and families lives in terms of mobility, functional ability, quality of life, financial, cost of impact on caregivers, etc.  I am very pleased that I have the opportunity to work again with stroke from a research perspective and be able to extend my contribution in the stroke area for patients/families, clinicians, research, decision-makers and stakeholders.

Q: What is the focus of your research?
A: In my current research project, I am assessing the impact, in terms of cost-effectiveness analysis (CEA) and cost-utility of a novel, home-based tailored telerehabilitation program using an affordable virtual reality system for rehabilitation post-stroke. My project is integrated into one of Dr. Kairy’s funded research projects (Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF). I am also working on a scoping review about outcome measures for stroke telerehabilitation and virtual reality. The protocol paper was published in May, 2015( 

Q: At what stage are you in your research, and what are your current future plans?
A: I am in the second year of my postdoctoral fellow.  My goals and commitment is to provide high quality of research and evidence based rehabilitation and evaluate the feasibility of new technologies to improve quality of life of people and assist patients, health care providers, governments, clinicians and industry to decide the best strategies to transfer the new technology.

Q: How do you and others benefit from being part of the National Trainee Association?
A: I believe that being part of the CPSR’s National Trainee Association is a wonderful opportunity to learn and share knowledge, to foster collaboration and networking among researchers and the stroke recovery community in Canada and globally.

Q: What other interests do you have?
A: I love spending time with my family and going for long walks, especially during the fall.  I also enjoy reading, writing poetry, dancing and swimming. I volunteer in a seniors program in a community health centre in Ottawa.  I am also a huge animal lover and enjoy playing with my daughter and my cat.