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Epilepsy Family Education Day

Event details | Schedule | Speakers and Bios | Sponsors | Advocacy Groups | Resources

Event details

The 5th Annual Epilepsy Family Education Day is an annual patient and family-focused educational event hosted by the Division of Neurology at the Hospital for Sick Children.

This day provides a chance for the neurology team to reach out to the community in a setting outside of the clinic to provide patients and their families with an important learning opportunity to help them manage epilepsy beyond the doors of SickKids. This year’s event will include a variety of family-focused talks and expert panels covering topics such as puberty, genetics, mindfulness, wellness, new epilepsy research and more. There will also be an exhibit area where patient and families will get the chance to interact with various epilepsy advocacy groups and epilepsy-related medical-technology businesses.

Snacks, coffee and lunch will be served. There is no cost to attend this event.

Date: Saturday, May 28, 2016
Time: 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Peter Giligan Centre for Research and Learning, 686 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5G 0A4

Webcast participants

How to ask questions for those attending via webcast:

  1. Log in to your Twitter account. If you do not have one then it is simple to create an account by following this link: https://twitter.com/signup
  2. Send your question as a tweet but make sure to include [without the quotations]: “@KNCTpedsneuro” and/or “#epifamday”





Opening Remarks


Seizures 101
Ivana Yau & Laura Bradbury


Learning and Education
Dr. Elizabeth Kerr




Stoplight Approach: Puberty Safety Strategy for Teens with Intellectual Disabilities
Lee Steel


Navigation Genetics in Epilepsy
Stacy Hewson




Therapies for drug resistant seizures - Panel
Facilitator: Maria Zak
Dr. Christina Go - Vagal Nerve Stimulation
Dr. Evan Lewis - Laser ablation surgery
Dr. Blathnaid McCoy - Cannabinoids




Mindfulness in Epilepsy
Dr. Nicholas Chadi & Neely Lerman
Including a group mindfulness demonstration


Closing Remarks




Speakers and Bios

Laura Bradbury is a Nurse Practitioner in the Epilepsy Surgery Program, within the Division of Neurology. Since 2008, Laura has held various clinical, research and mentoring roles within the paediatric neurosciences population. Laura divides her clinical time between the newly-expanded epilepsy monitoring unit (EMU) and outpatient epilepsy clinics, working alongside fellow nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers, neurophysiologists, neurologists, neurosurgeons and radiologists.  Laura holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN), Master of Nursing (MN) degree and Primary Health Care Nurse Practitioner (NP-PHC) certificate, from Ryerson University. In addition, Laura has a specialty Certificate in Neuroscience Nursing (CNN(C)). She has published several articles and engaged in collaborative clinical research studies, with focuses ranging from health-care ethics, sleep medicine, epilepsy, and mental health.  Active in various professional groups and organizations, Laura remains committed to the care, support and guidance of patients and their families living with epilepsy.

Dr. Nicholas Chadi completed his medical school and paediatric residency in Montreal and is currently an Adolescent Medicine Fellow at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids). His main clinical and research interests include adolescent mental health, substance abuse, chronic illness and mindfulness-based interventions. Chadi has been practicing meditation and mindfulness for the past ten years and is currently leading a large research study comparing the effects of an in-person vs. eHealth mindfulness program for adolescents with chronic health conditions.


Dr. Cristina Go is an epileptologist and clinical neurophysiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children.  She runs the VNS program and her clinical and research interests include infantile spasms, VNS and epilepsy surgery for drug resistant epilepsy, and functional neuroimaging.


Stacy Hewson has been a genetic counsellor in the Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics since August 2000. Prior to joining the division, she worked in the Medical Genetics Program at The Women's and Children's Hospital of British Columbia for two years. She received her Master of Science in genetic counselling from McGill University in 1998. She has a special interest in metabolic diseases. She was certified in Genetic Counselling by the American Board of Genetic Counseling in 1999. She is actively involved in the University of Toronto M.Sc Program in Genetic Counselling in both a clinical supervisory and lecturer capacity. She has been working with Dr. Saadet Mahmutoglu since 2011 seeing families with epilepsy who are trying to find a genetic diagnosis for their affected children.


Dr. Elizabeth Kerr is a clinical neuropsychologist for the Epilepsy Surgery Program and the Program Director of the Epilepsy Classroom at the Hospital for Sick Children.  Her clinical and research focus is primarily related to intractable epilepsy and genetic conditions. She holds cross appointments as an active scientific staff with the Department of Paediatrics, Division of Neurology at the Hospital for Sick Children and as an adjunct professor with the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.  She is a member of the Advisory Sounding Board for Canadian Institute of Health Research’s Genetics’ GE3LS (Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social issues) and is a Scientific Board member for SDS Canada.


Neely Lerman, MSW, RSW, has been a social worker with the Rheumatology Program at the Hospital for Sick Children for the past nine years. She works with children, teens, and their families, supporting their coping with issues related to living with a chronic illness. Neely has a unique perspective as she herself was a patient at SickKids, growing up with Juvenile Arthritis since the age of two. Neely has an interest in mindfulness-based stress reduction as a means to help patients and families cope with adjustment to life with a chronic illness along with the everyday stresses of life. She has been practicing mindfulness meditation for the past two years.


Dr. Evan Lewis is a paediatric neurologist and clinical neurophysiologist at The Hospital for Sick Children and Kids Neurology Centre Toronto (KNCT) at Kindercare Pediatrics with specific expertise in epilepsy, epilepsy surgery evaluation and electroencephalography (EEG).

Dr. Lewis obtained his MD from the University of Ottawa and trained as a paediatric neurologist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) in Ottawa. He completed an ACGME fellowship in clinical neurophysiology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital (formerly know as Miami Children’s Hospital) in Miami, Florida and a fellowship in Epilepsy at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada and sits on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Child Neurology’s Resident/Fellow Section and is an ad-hoc reviewer for the Canadian Journal of Neurological Sciences.

Dr. Lewis’s academic interests include novel treatments in epilepsy and medical education. As an avid CrossFitter, Dr.Lewis has developed special interests in sports neurology including concussion/headache and sports­related neurological injuries.

Dr. Blathnaid McCoy graduated from UCD medical school, and trained in paediatrics and paediatric neurology in Ireland. She completed an epilepsy fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children and is a certified electroencephalographer (CSCN). She has an M.Sc in clinical epidemiology from the University of Toronto. She worked as a staff paediatric neurologist in Dublin, and currently works as a clinician investigator in the Division of Neurology at the Hospital for Sick Children, and an Assistant Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto.

Her clinical focus is the management of refractory epilepsy; she is part of the comprehensive epilepsy surgery evaluation team, a Co-Director of the Infantile Spasms Clinic & Director of the Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Multidisciplinary Clinic.
She teaches the research tools course for residents at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Her research interests include longitudinal outcomes in childhood refractory epilepsy, qualitative aspects of epilepsy surgery, and novel therapy in epilepsy including cannabinoids. 


Lee Steel is a coordinator with Extend-A-Family, an organization whose mission is to ensure that people with disabilities develop meaningful relationships and participate fully in the community. For 12 years, Lee was the Parent Liaison at the Autism Research Unit at the Hospital for Sick Children. For the past three years, Lee has co-facilitated healthy relationships/sexuality workshops geared towards youth with developmental disabilities from 11-15 years of age. Lee is the parent of a 24 year old young man diagnosed on the autism spectrum.

For Epilepsy Family Day, Lee will focus on “Private, Be Careful and Public” teaching as it pertains to places, clothing, body parts and behavior. This is a strategy that parents can easily duplicate at home with their own youth.

Ivanna has been working as a nurse practitioner in the Division of Neurology at The Hospital for Sick Children for 10 years, previously in the Children’s Stroke Program and now in the Epilepsy Program. She completed a bachelor of science in nursing at McGill University, then a master’s of nursing with an acute care paediatric nurse practitioner certificate at the University of Toronto. She also holds a specialty certificate in neuroscience nursing. Currently, her clinical work is dedicated to children who have epilepsy that require further investigations in the Epilepsy Monitoring Unit and in the epilepsy outpatient clinics. The purpose of their admission is to better characterize their seizures for improved diagnosis and management. She also follows children who have intractable focal epilepsy who are considering surgery as a possible treatment for their epilepsy.

Her role is to help the patient and family navigate through this period of uncertainty as the process of determining surgical candidacy requires often requires multiple complex investigations and a coordinated multidisciplinary team that often extends over a period of time. In this time, she acts as an advocate and guide to provide continuity of care leading up to possible surgery and thereafter.   

On the side, she dabbles in cooking, tango, yoga, running and netflix.


The Centre for Brain and Mental Health

The Centre for Brain & Mental Health focuses on building new collaborations across disciplines, programs and services that include Neurology, Neurosurgery, Neonatology, Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work and the research program in Neurosciences & Mental Health. The centre brings together research, education and clinical activities to drive innovation.

The clinical component of the centre is formed by the Divisions of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, with involvement from Neuro-Imaging, Neuro-Intensive Care, Neuro-Pathology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology Psychology and Adolescent Medicine.

The centre’s research component is represented by the Neurosciences & Mental Health Program within the Research Institute.

More information on the Centre for Brain and Mental Health

Epilepsy Toronto

Epilepsy Toronto is the place where Torontonians living with epilepsy can learn more about their condition, get the help they need and be a part of a family of caring and supporting people. 

Epilepsy Ontario is dedicated to promoting independence and optimal quality of life for children and adults living with seizure disorders. Through a network of local agencies, contacts and associates across the province, Epilepsy Ontario reaches out to people with epilepsy and their loved ones.



LivaNova PLC is a global medical technology company formed by the merger of Sorin S.p.A, a leader in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, and Cyberonics Inc., a medical device company with core expertise in neuromodulation.

The company develops and markets the Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) Therapy system, which is FDA and Health Canada approved for the treatment of refractory epilepsy and treatment-resistant depression. The VNS Therapy system uses a surgically implanted medical device that delivers pulsed electrical signals to the vagus nerve. LivaNova  markets the VNS Therapy system in selected markets worldwide.



Monteris Medical is a privately held company developing devices for minimally-invasive, MR-guided, robotically controlled neurosurgery. Monteris markets the NeuroBlate® system for controlled, volumetric ablation of brain lesions. Monteris also offers the various stereotactic anchoring devices for image-guided trajectory alignment, and the AtamA™ Stabilization System for MR based procedures requiring versatile head fixation.


Autograph Authentic

Autograph Authentic is one of the nation’s leaders in autographed collectibles for over 25 years  and creator of the Career Jerseys. We are experts at hosting charity auctions and corporate dinners, banquets, celebrity appearances, golf tournaments, fundraisers, and guest speaker activity. We are so pleased to be a part of SickKids’ Epilepsy Family Education Day to support such a fantastic cause.

Do not miss your opportunity with Autograph Authentic to give back to the neurology community and own a piece of sports history! Visit us today at www.autographauthentic.com

Advocacy Groups

Epilepsy Toronto

Epilepsy Toronto is the place where Torontonians living with epilepsy can learn more about their condition, get the help they need and be a part of a family of caring and supporting people. 

Epilepsy Ontario is dedicated to promoting independence and optimal quality of life for children and adults living with seizure disorders. Through a network of local agencies, contacts and associates across the province, Epilepsy Ontario reaches out to people with epilepsy and their loved ones.


About Epilepsy Toronto
Children and Youth Services
Child, Youth and Young Adult Services


E-Action® is the online community that strives to provide a caring and informative environment for those wishing to learn more about epilepsy.  Not only will you find information about different types of epilepsy, treatment options and lifestyle tips – you will also hear stories from people just like you!

Website: www.e-action.ca




  • Sarah Reid – administration, coordination and organization of the day
  • Laurie Carvalho - administration, coordination and organization of the day
  • Barb Zimnowodzki - administration, coordination and organization of the day
  • Janice Mulligan MSW, Res.Dip.SW, RSW – advice and coordination of speakers
  • Karen Wallace -  development of online registration
  • Roy Sharma - volunteer
  • Sen Sivarajah - volunteer