Kids Brain Health Network, CHILD-BRIGHT and Dr. Keiko Shikako-Thomas, Canada Chair in Childhood Disability, are co-sponsoring a small delegation of disability rights advocates to attend a meeting of the UN Commission on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in New York City.  As part of the June 13, 2018 Convention gathering, Dr. Shikako-Thomas will host an event featuring a panel comprised of youth with lived experience of disability, government officials, researchers, and parents, who will discuss the results of a new international research review of academic evidence on rights-based approaches for children with disabilities and youth, and the implications and considerations of the CRPD for children and youth with disabilities on real life experiences. Building on this conversation, the panel will identify concrete steps that can be taken at the national and international levels, to realize the CRPD and ensure no children and youth with disabilities are left behind.


The Hon. Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minster of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Government of Canada (Etobicoke North)
Minister Duncan was an Associate Professor of Health Studies at the University of Toronto and the former Research Director for the AIC Institute of Corporate Citizenship at the Rotman School of Management. A renowned international speaker, she has lectured for such organizations as the National Geographic Society, the Government of Japan, and the Young Presidents’ Organization.
She sat on the Advisory Board for Pandemic Flu for the Conference Board of Canada, and the University of Toronto, and has helped organizations throughout Canada and the United States prepare for a possible flu pandemic. She sat on the boards of the Indigenous Cooperative on the Environment, the Scottish Studies Foundation, the St. Andrew’s Society of Toronto, and the Toronto Foundation for School Success. She co-chaired the 2006 Fraser Mustard Awards Gala in support of student nutrition and in October 2007, she chaired “Feeding Toronto’s Hungry Students Week.” Ms. Duncan is passionate about helping build resilient communities and taking action on climate change. She has helped provide food, shelter and education to Toronto’s youth, and served on the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Dr. Keiko Shikako-Thomas, Canada Research Chair in Childhood Disabilities
Keiko Shikako-Thomas focuses on the promotion of healthy living and participation for children with disabilities. Her research program uses participatory methodology to engage different stakeholders, including policymakers, children and their families, in finding solutions to change the environment, inform policymaking and promote the rights and participation of children with disabilities in different life roles and activities.

Nikolas Harris, Government of Canada youth delegate
Nikolas Harris, 24, is a licensed social worker from  Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and works with the Dalhousie University School of Social Work Community Clinic and the Canadian Mental Health Association Halifax-Dartmouth Branch. Diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at 22 months of age, he is completing his Master of Social Work at Dalhousie University, and his thesis work is exploring youth narratives of individuals who have attended Camp Jointogether, a camp for youth living with arthritis. He sat on the first Inflammatory Arthritis Working Group in Nova Scotia and, nationally, he informs the Childhood Arthritis Advisory Council through the Arthritis Society about how to better support the lives of Canadians with childhood arthritis.

Susan Cosgrove, CHILD-BRIGHT network parent mentor
Susan Cosgrove is a single parent of three children with neurodisabilities, proudly raising her unique family in the spirit of neurodiversity. As an active advocate in Toronto, Susan is focused on patient-centred research and healthcare, with a focus on using knowledge translation techniques to empower parents to share their unique family stories. She sits on local and national advisory panels through the Autism Treatment Network and Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, has presented at Canadian conferences and shared her family story on national media. Susan is CHILD-BRIGHT Network’s first professional Parent Mentor.

Liam Cosgrove, Kids Brain Health Network youth delegate
Liam Cosgrove is a Canadian teenager living in Toronto, he loves public speaking, vehicle trivia and world & military history. He also happens to have autism. Liam is passionate about sharing his experiences growing up in Canada with autism, as well as his hopes for the future. He would love to discuss vehicles with anyone who might be interested. So feel free to say hello.

Rachel Martens, Kids Brain Health Network parent
Rachel Martens is mom to Luke, a 12-year-old boy born with  a rare chromosome diagnosis, Mosaic Trisomy 22, CP, and autism. She is a Parent Engagement Facilitator for Kids Brain Health Network and CanChild’s online group, Parents Participating in Research, promoting collaborative research on neurodisabilities. She has a passion for helping parents develop healthy skills in advocacy a deep interest in furthering pediatric disability policy on a federal level. Rachel currently lives in Calgary.

City University of New York
7th Floor, room 42-0725
205 East 42nd Street
Date: Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:30-8:00PM