Collaboration Hub

The Collaboration Hub is a service that connects researchers, trainees, and community members of the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children. 

If you would like to post in the Collaboration Hub, please complete the following form. Our Knowledge Mobilization and Community Engagement Specialist, Dr. Priscilla Medeiros, will be in contact with you before uploading your information. 

Collaboration Hub form

Surrey Place invites you to the Spotlight Series

ContactsKim S. Daniel, M.Ed., PhD., Director of Community, Partnership and Innovation and staff lead for EDIA at, and; Kajany Gunarajan, M.ADS., BCBA., Manager, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, & Accessibility at

OrganizationSurrey Place is a not-for-profit organization that serves people of all ages with intellectual developmental disabilities, autism spectrum disorder and visual impairments in the Toronto region and Northwestern Ontario. We offer integrated services and inclusive support in a safe and welcoming environment. Our approach is family-based, which centers the interests and care of our clients, families, and caregivers by teaching them skills. We strive to ensure the greatest access to services and support our clients in navigating the health care system. Surrey Place helps people learn new skills, gain self-confidence, and reach their full potential!

Program SummaryThe Community, Partnership, and Innovation (CPI) program aims to reduce disparities that are driven by social, racial, and economic inequalities and to improve access to clinically appropriate care. We work to cultivate a high-performance organizational culture through education, research, and long-lasting partnership building.

We strive to do this work by incorporating an Equity, Diversity, Inclusive, and Accessibility (EDIA) perspective to support our staff, clients, families, and caregivers. Our call to action seeks to address systemic racism, specifically anti-Black racism, and anti-Indigenous oppressive practices. By creating an EDIA culture, we will improve access to support and quality of services for all.

We are also seeking to build partnerships with other organizations, hospital, and/or agencies that serve neurodiverse populations by bridging service gaps in identified areas through our “mapping initiative” and meeting clients where they are at, by building culturally appropriate pathways.

Overall, the CPI department goals are to raise awareness and build knowledge from those who have lived experiences due to physical, emotional, and social differences. We host “Spotlight Series” to feature key guest speaker(s) who can share their truths and experiences of their life’s journey. If you are interested in being part of the spotlight series, please contact us!

Check out our previous Spotlight Series: Ways to Enhance Community Safety - Surrey Place and Visions of Hope: Perfect Just as We Are - Surrey Place.

Desired Skills in Potential Collaborators: We are seeking individuals with lived experience and/or engaging in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Accessibility work.

BBBST seeks researchers to partner in exploring preventative community interventions that mitigate the impacts of childhood adversity

ContactsLeanne Nicolle, President and CEO,, and; Sarah Baldwin, Director, Strategy and Growth,

Organization: Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto (BBBST)


Project TitleMitigating the Impacts of Childhood Adversity through Preventative Community Interventions

Project SummaryBBBST would like to partner to conduct research on the prevention of negative health outcomes as a result of childhood adversity through development relationships. Before the onset of the pandemic, BBBST found that approximately 42,000 children and youth in Toronto experienced 3 or more Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES). Following the pandemic, we know this number is now significantly higher.  

BBBST already collects significant amounts of data on children we serve, including children who are BIPOC as well as children that identify as LGBTQ2S+. On average, a mentor supports a child for 3 years, but often these relationships last much longer. These developmental relationships have led to outcomes that are strong indicators of prevention of gang and gun violence, severe mental health struggles, substance abuse and lead to gainful employment, success in school as well as establishing resilience and critical thinking.

Desired Skills in Potential Collaborators: BBBST would like to embark on a research partnership with the Edwin S.H. Leong Centre to harness your strong researcher network combined with BBBST’s vast data on children and youth in Toronto. Research could be co-designed with researchers with a background in preventative community interventions and/or childhood trauma.

Other Collaborators: BBBST is always open to collaborating with other organizations with the goal of all children reaching their full potential.

The Family and Child Health Initiative is looking for new members  

Contact: Dianne Fierheller, Assistant Scientist, Co-lead- Family & Child Health Initiative,

Organization: Institute for Better Health, Trillium Health Partners


Project Aims and Description: Family and Child Health Initiative (FCHI) is a group of researchers and clinicians at the Institute for Better Health (IBH) at Trillium Health Partners in the Region of Peel. Our mission is to improve the health and well-being of children, youth and families at the intersection of healthcare and community through partnership, innovation, research, and education. Our projects have three main pillars: 1) Engaging and building partnerships with our community; 2) Deepening our understanding of the interconnected factors at the individual, family, institutional and systems levels that influence child and family health, and; 3) Co-designing, implementing, and evaluating interventions to support child and family health and well-being with diverse communities

Desired Skills/Become a Partner: Whether you are a community member, service provider, researcher, or student, please consider connecting with us to share to your ideas about child, youth, and family health or how we might work together.

Other Collaborators: The FCHI participates in many community response tables across the Peel region which allows us to continue to learn and ensure our projects are community-driven and developed through partnerships. Take a look at our website to learn more about our amazing partners and how we might work together!

TARGet Kids! seeks collaborators with clinical trial and mixed methods experience


Organization: The Applied Research Group for Kids – TARGet Kids!


Project Aims and Description: TARGet Kids! is a primary care practice based research network. We promote research that really matters, to create solutions to some of today’s biggest health concerns, with the overall goal of improving the health of Canadian children. Since 2008, TARGet Kids! has grown to be the largest and longest-running cohort study of its kind in Canada. We currently have over 11,000 participants and 35,767 data points from which researchers have made connections between early life exposures in children and health issues such as obesity, micronutrient deficiencies and developmental problems. At TARGet Kids! we believe that scientific data and knowledge are common goods that should be shared within an appropriate framework.

Desired Skills in Potential Collaborators: Experience with clinical trials and mixed methods, community health centres, and Indigenous communities.

Skills We Have to Offer: TARGet Kids! has experience in longitudinal cohorts, nutrition, clinical trials, pediatrics, and early child development research. 

Other Collaborators: TARGet Kids! works with ParticipACTION, Offord Centre, Edwin S.H. Leong Centre for Healthy Children, and the ​​​​​​Joannah and Brian Lawson Centre for Child Nutrition at the University of Toronto. 

Researcher seeks experts in the field of human trafficking and child health inequities

Contact: Rebecca Balasa, PhD Candidate in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto,

Project Title: Improving Child Sex Trafficking Identification, Intervention, and Referral Practices in Ontario Pediatric Emergency Departments: An Intersectional Mixed Methods Study

Project Description: This province-wide, mixed methods study uses qualitative interviews and a modified Delphi method to examine intersectional presentations of child sex trafficking in Ontario pediatric Emergency Departments. Equity-informed research praxis underpins the research questions and methods through the systematic consideration of children and youths’ multiple identities to challenge discriminatory practices within healthcare settings. This approach will enhance the results of this mixed methods research and is aimed at informing governmental policy, healthcare education and practice, as well as supporting stronger linkages between the Emergency Department and community anti-human trafficking services. Findings will propose evidence-based recommendations for child sex trafficking identification, intervention, and referral practices in Ontario pediatric Emergency Departments.

Desired Skills in Potential Collaborators: We are looking to network and collaborate with other experts in the field of human trafficking and child health inequities.

Skills We Have to Offer: We are a multidisciplinary team of researchers in the field of public health, including in epidemiology, social and behavioural health sciences, and international human rights law. The PI of this study is a pediatric Registered Nurse and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner with experience working with victims/survivors of human trafficking.

Researcher seeks family and community partners to collaborate on an oxygen level reading study with children

Contact: Tamorah Lewis, Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto,

Project Title: Skin Tone Bias in Pulse Oximetry Accuracy: Risk of Occult Hypoxemia in Canadian Children with Range of Skin Tones

Project Summary: Pulse oximeters measure how much light passes through the skin to estimate how much oxygen is in patients’ red blood cells. Current pulse oximetry devices are validated on lighter skin tones, but may overlook low oxygen levels in patients with darker skin. This blind spot could put children at grave risk.

Studies show that there is different oximetry performance between White and Black patients, with poorer detection of low oxygen levels in Black patients. In a multicultural setting like Canada, children from different ethnic backgrounds have diverse skin pigmentation. A pressing question is where, within this skin tone range, the accuracy of oximetry drops significantly.

We will research pulse oximetry performance across various skin tones, enrolling a diverse group of children at The Hospital for Sick Children, already receiving oximetry and blood gas measurements per their care. We will quantify skin tone with both a low-cost paper-based scale and a more advanced device measuring the accuracy of oximetry readings in children of varying skin tones.

Funding Available: Yes

What skill sets do you or your team currently have?
Anesthesiologists, critical care physicians, biomedical engineers, social epidemiologists, policy specialists, health equity specialists. All of these people are faculty members at the University of Toronto.

What skills are you looking for in potential collaborators?
We are interested in recruiting community members (potentially parents) to partner with the academic research team to give input on the study and protocol and stay engaged during data collection and analysis. We are hoping to partner with community members of various racial and ethnic backgrounds. 

The Improving Maternal and Pediatric Outcomes with Epidemiological Research (IMPROVE) Lab at SickKids is looking for individuals who are/have been pregnant to collaborate on a study 

Contact: Yanara Marks, Clinical Research Project Coordinator at The Hospital for Sick Children,

Project Title: BIOlogic drug safety and effectiveness interNational pharmacoepidemiologIC study in pregnant women with autoimmune disorders and asthma and their children (BIONIC Study)

Project Description: Autoimmune disorders (AID) and asthma are highly common in women of reproductive age. Over the last decade, the use of biological medications to treat AID and severe asthma has increased because of its beneficial effects. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude that most biologic medication used by pregnant individuals is safe and effective. The possibility of infants and children experiencing undesirable or harmful results as a result of being exposed to these medications while inside the womb/uterus (in-utero) is also understudied. The BIONIC research team hopes to use existing Canadian and US data on more than 4 million pregnancies to fill important gaps to inform clinical decision-making.

Funding Available: Yes

What skill sets do you or your team currently have?
The research team involves clinicians and researchers with expertise in population health studies across North America and the US. The team also includes a patient engagement specialist.

What skills are you looking for in potential collaborators?
We are interested in forming collaborations with people with lived experiences to help us better understand how our research would impact them, and what they personally believe is important to them.

Who are your other collaborators on this project?
We have so far engaged with five patient partners with lived experiences of both pregnancy and disease management for an autoimmune disease or asthma with biologics medications.

If applicable.
Is funding available to support the proposed work?