Musculoskeletal Health Education Forum 2023

Building Musculoskeletal Resiliency

The Musculoskeletal Health Education Forum (MHEF) 2023 took place on September 30th in the Goodman School of Business Atrium. #MHEF2023 provided over 60 attendees including students, faculty, and community members the exciting opportunity to learn all about optimizing muscle and bone health regardless of health condition. The day included talks from leading researchers and clinicians, as well as a poster session displaying Brock students’ current research!

You can use the page below as a resource to see the tools and information that was shared at this year’s MHEF.

Check out a recap of the day!


MHEF 2023 Speaker Line-Up

Click each speaker name on the left to explore our outstanding line-up for MHEF this year! Speakers will bring both academic and applied knowledge regarding bone and muscle health. These speakers will inform students, field professionals, and community members on how they can use and share knowledge to build musculoskeletal resiliency.

David Ditor is a professor in the Department of Kinesiology at Brock University, and his research program focuses on the secondary health complications that accompany spinal cord injury (SCI). More specifically, Dr. Ditor’s research interests involve i) chronic inflammation after SCI and the associated range of negative effects, ii) cardiovascular disease and dysfunction after SCI, and iii) sexual dysfunction after SCI. As some of these health complications are modifiable, Dr. Ditor is also interested in the role of exercise and diet in managing and reversing them.

Dr. Ditor has over 75 publications in the field of SCI rehabilitation and his work on lowering inflammation via diet and the positive effects on depression have won open competition awards at the annual meeting of the American Spinal Injury Association.

In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities at Brock University, Dr. Ditor is also the Founder and Director of POWER CORD; an accessible facility that provides specialized and supervised exercise for individuals with neuromuscular disability (primarily SCI and MS). POWER CORD is both a community-based exercise centre and a research facility, and it offers unique experiential learning opportunities to the Brock University students who implement the exercise programs.

Dr. Ward is a Professor and Senior Research Fellow in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences at Brock University. Her research team studies how dietary strategies protect against osteoporosis and promote periodontal health. This includes investigation of bone supporting nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D as well as polyphenols found in a variety of teas. These studies also consider how males and females may respond differently.

Dr. Hood is a Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Cell Physiology at York University. His research looks at the molecular and biochemical changes that occur in skeletal muscle during exercise, muscle disuse and aging with a specific focus on how the mitochondria, the energy producer of the cell, adapts to these conditions. He is also the Director of the Muscle Health Research Centre at York University.

Jennifer Dermott, PT, MSc, is a PT Practitioner at the Hospital for Sick Children, specialized in the conservative management of scoliosis. Her interests include early scoliosis detection and access to care in a public healthcare system, brace treatment to minimize risk of progression to surgical range, and serial spinal casting for severe early onset scoliosis. She is involved in several research initiatives including development of an institution-specific and national paediatric spinal pathology registry, use of mindfulness in early brace treatment, and validation of a clinical tool to predict scoliosis Cobb angle and progression. She is part of a multidisciplinary collaboration assessing genetic markers of ciliary involvement in scoliosis pathogenesis.

Jennifer is a PhD candidate with the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, studying epidemiological trends of adolescent idiopathic scoliosis in Ontario and identifying risk factors associated with late referral, with a focus on socioeconomic status indicators and healthcare utilization. She is funded through the SickKids Research Institute Clinician-Scientist Training Program PhD Scholarship. Jennifer completed her undergraduate degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University, and her Physical Therapy training and Master of Science in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto. She has worked at SickKids for 20 years, exclusively with the Spine Program since 2014. Jennifer was a recipient of the SickKids 2020 Award of Excellence in Clinical Teaching. She is a Candidate Member of the Scoliosis Research Society (SRS) and serves on the SRS Patient Education committee. She is an adjunct lecturer with the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto.

Daniel Moore is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education at the University of Toronto (UoT) and a member of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and American College of Sports Medicine. His research explores the interplay between exercise and nutrition (with a focus on dietary protein and amino acids) and how the two can be used to optimize the quantity and quality of muscle across a range of different populations including youth, athletes, and older adults. He has authored over 100 peer-reviewed papers and was recognized for his research in protein metabolism by the American Society for Nutrition as the 2012 recipient of the Peter J. Reeds Young Investigator Award..

The aim of Dr. Giangregorio’s research is to reduce the burden of osteoporotic fractures. Dr. Giangregorio’s team uses medical imaging technologies to explore bone and muscle responses to activity or neurologic impairment, evaluates new methods for image analysis, conducts epidemiologic studies to inform fracture risk assessment algorithms, and conducts clinical trials to investigate the effects of exercise interventions for reducing fracture risk in high risk individuals. Her team also leads knowledge dissemination and translation activities, and implementation studies to move research on exercise for older adults into practice. For example, Dr. Giangregorio’s team has worked with Osteoporosis Canada to develop BoneFit, a two-day workshop for physiotherapists and kinesiologists on appropriate assessment and exercise prescription for individuals with osteoporosis. Her team also led the development of the Too Fit To Fracture Exercise and Physical Activity Recommendations for Individuals with Osteoporosis. 

Dr. Gittings in an Assistant Professor at Brock University and a Registered Kinesiologist. His research investigates the mechanisms that regulate musculoskeletal tissue form and function. The current focus of his lab group is to explore the physiological role of a novel family of mechanosensitive membrane channels in skeletal muscle, called Pannexins, which facilitate cell signalling, modulate contractile function, and regulate tissue plasticity.


You can toggle through this section to explore each presentation

High quality weight loss after spinal cord injury: Can lean mass be preserved while fighting obesity?

Dr. David Ditor, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Brock University

Pannexins and their potential contributions to musculoskeletal resilience

Bill Gittings, PhD, RKin

Move, eat, repeat: How to optimize muscle mass through diet and exercise

Daniel Moore, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology & Physical Education, University of Toronto

Role of exercise and mitochondria in determining muscle health with advancing age

David A. Hood

School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Canada

Dietary protein to support a resilient and strong skeleton

Wendy Ward

Professor & Senior Research Fellow, Department of Kinesiology, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University

Empowering Resilience: Addressing Misconceptions, Early Diagnosis and Non-Surgical Strategies for Scoliosis

Jennifer Dermott, PT, MSc, PhD candidate