Meet Our Team

The INSPIRE team is led by investigators, based at RI-MUHC, McGill University, Université de Montréal, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation of Greater Montreal (CRIR), and Gingras Pavilion of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal.

Sara Ahmed, Ph.D.,

Co-Director INSPIRE

Dr. Ahmed conducts research aimed at improving health outcomes for individuals with chronic disease. Her research includes studies that 1) address the challenges of using patient reported outcomes (e.g. health-related quality of life, self-efficacy)  in chronic disease management programs, and the use of advanced psychometric approaches for improving the precision and efficiency of outcome evaluations, 2) develop and evaluate the impact of chronic disease digital solutions interventions integrated into electronic personal health records (e.g. web-based asthma and COPD self-management applications), and 3) knowledge exchange and transfer related to best practices for chronic disease management.

Associate Professor: Faculty of Medicine, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy;
Researcher: McGill University Health Centre, Division of Clinical Epidemiology & Clinical and Health Informatics

Mailing Address: 3654 prom Sir-William-Osler, Montréal, QC, Canada H3G 1Y5
Building: Davis House 3654 Prom Sir-William-Osler

Phone: 514-398-4400 Ext 00531
Fax number: 514-398-6360
Email address:

Dany Gagnon, Ph.D.,

Co-Director INSPIRE

Dr. Gagnon’s research activities focus predominantly on upper extremity functional activity assessments among individuals with neurological or orthopaedic impairments using various biomechanical (kinematics, kinetics, electromyography, dynamometry), metabolic and imaging techniques and in the development and assessment of emerging rehabilitation interventions and innovative technologies.

Associate professor: School of Rehabilitation, Université de Montréal;
Researcher: CRIR – Institut universitaire sur la réadaptation en déficience physique de Montréal (IURDPM), Gingras Pavilion of the CIUSSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

Mailing Address: Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal, 6300 avenue Darlington, Montreal (Quebec), H3S 2J4

Phone: 514 340-2111, poste 2260
Fax number: 514 343-6929

INSPIRE Graduate Students

The INSPIRE team is just that; a team.
Graduate students have been instrumental to the success of the INSPIRE project.

Rehab Alhasani, PhD Candidate – Rehabilitation Science

Rehab Alhasani completed her bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy from King Saud University (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia) in 2008 and her Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Sciences from University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, Canada) in 2015. In her Master’s project, she studied the effect of a novel dual-task training program on balance, mobility and cognition abilities among older adults. Currently, Rehab is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr. Sara Ahmed and she is conducting her research in the project titled “BRILLIANT-Rehab: Biomedical Research and Informatics Living Laboratory for Innovative Advances of New Technologies in Community Mobility Rehabilitation”

Mobility measures among individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI): An umbrella review. Director(s): Sara Ahmed

Alghamdi, S. M., Janaudis-Ferreira, T., Alhasani, R., & Ahmed, S. (2019). Acceptance, adherence and dropout rates of individuals with COPD approached in telehealth interventions: a protocol for systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ open, 9(4), e026794.

Alhasani, R., Auger, C., Azevedo, M. D. P., & Ahmed, S. (2019, October). The psychometric properties of mobility outcome measures among individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI): an umbrella review. In QUALITY OF LIFE RESEARCH (Vol. 28, pp. S92-S93)

Alhasani, R., Auger, C., & Ahmed, S. (2019, October). Towards developing an ontology for mobility among individuals with acquired brain injury (ABI). In QUALITY OF LIFE RESEARCH (Vol. 28, pp. S132-S132).

Manuel Escalona, Ph.D. Candidate

Manuel received a medical doctor’s degree at UCLA (Venezuela) and a master’s degree in Neurosciences from the University of Montreal. Currently, Manuel is a Ph.D. candidate at the Institut de réadaptation Gingras-Lindsay-de-Montréal (IRGLM). His research focus is on spinal cord injury and rehabilitation in humans using technology to improve recovery. More specifically, Manuel’s research aims at investigating the effects of different control options offer by wearable robotic exoskeletons on muscle coordination, i.e., muscle synergies, after an incomplete spinal cord injury. The results of this project may allow rehabilitation professionals to refine robotic exoskeleton locomotor training protocols and determine which exoskeleton control options are the best fit for individuals with spinal cord injury. Ultimately, this study offers a unique opportunity for ownership of this new technology in clinical settings and research.

Effects of a locomotor training program with an overground robotic walking exoskeleton on walking and walking-related abilities and satisfaction among individuals with an incomplete spinal cord injury. Directors : Dany Gagnon & Cyril Duclos

Gagnon D, Escalona Castillo MJ, Vermette M, Aubertin-Leheudre M, Duclos C. (2018). Locomotor training using an overground robotic exoskeleton in individuals with a chronic motor complete spinal cord injury: Lessons learned from an exploratory study in terms of recruitment, attendance, learnability, safety and satisfaction. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation; 15(1):1-12.

Escalona Castillo MJ, Vermette M, Aubertin-Leheudre M, Duclos C, Gagnon D (2018). Cardiorespiratory demand and rate of perceived exertion during overground walking with a robotic exoskeleton in long-term manual wheelchair users with chronic spinal cord injury: A cross-sectional study. Annals of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; 2018 Jan 31. pii: S1877-0657(18)30005-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Karelis A, Pinheiro Carvalho L, Escalona Castillo MJ, Gagnon D, Aubertin-Leheudre M (2017). Effects of a locomotor training program using a robotic exoskeleton on body composition and bone mineral density in individuals with a chronic spinal cord injury. Journal of Rehabilitation Medicine, 19;49(1):84-8.

Diana Zidarov, Ph.D., Post-doctoral fellow

Diana Zidarov is a postdoctoral fellow in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. She is an associate member of the School of Physical and Occupational therapy at McGill University and project co-director of Edith Strauss Rehabilitation Research Projects. She has worked as a physical therapist for more than 15 year while completing a M.Sc. in Rehabilitation Science in 2008 and a PhD in 2015 at the School of Public Health at University of Montreal, Canada. As an experienced clinician, Diana has an extensive background in assessing and treating individuals with musculoskeletal and neurological conditions.  Diana has conducted research in outcome measurement in rehabilitation settings and implementation of innovations and knowledge translation strategies.  Her current research focuses on the development and implementation of quality indicators for the management of chronic pain and the implementation of web-based patient reported outcomes (PROs) for persons with spinal cord injury.

Needs analysis and the development of a quality improvement program for clinical programs at the IRGLM-CRLB. (University of McGill University) Director(s): Sara Ahmed

Zidarov, D., Visca, R., & Ahmed, S. (2019). Type of clinical outcomes used by healthcare professionals to evaluate health-related quality of life domains to inform clinical decision making for chronic pain management. Quality of Life Research, 1-11.

Lamontagne, M. E., Kairy, D., Bussière, A., Amed, S., Zidarov, D., Lévesque, D., … & Rodrigue, N. (2017). Fidelity and Outcome of Implementation Strategies for Evidence-Based Practice in Four Trauma Settings. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation98(12), e165.

Zidarov, D., Sicotte, C., Menon, A., Hallé, M. C., & Poissant, L. (2016). Factors influencing use of a performance measurement system in a rehabilitation hospital. Journal of Hospital Administration5(5), 79.


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