Meet: Donna Kwan, Clinical Platform Lead

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Meet: Donna Kwan, Clinical Platform Lead

Donna Kwan 2.jpgWhere have you lived? What’s your favourite place and why?

I was born and raised in Toronto and lived in the Greater Toronto Area for most of my life, with the exception of having lived in the beautiful city of Chicago during my clinical residency. While Toronto is my favourite place to live, Hong Kong is my favourite place to visit – it’s an endlessly vibrant and energetic place. It has attitude, history, culture, and beautiful landscapes.

Tell me about your research.

My personal research focuses on how memory disorders, strokes, or even normal aging may alter the way we experience time, respond to risk, and make financial decisions. Much of the work that I, my former advisor Shayna Rosenbaum, and my collaborators at Washington University, St. Louis have done in this area is summarized in an article entitled, “Individuals with amnesia are not stuck in time.”

What is your hope for the future in your area of focus?

A tighter, faster connection between science and clinical practice. Particularly in neuropsychology, I find that assessment techniques often lag behind the rapid rate at which research is moving forward. There are gaps between what researchers know and what clinicians do, and my hope is for interdisciplinary initiatives like ONDRI to facilitate the conversations and inspire the innovations that will bridge those gaps. 

What makes for a great workday?

One in which I solve a complex problem can cross something off my list at the end of the day.

What makes you laugh the hardest?

My mother’s sarcastic humor.

What’s the last thing you Googled?

“League of Denial NFL Concussion Crisis.”

What do you enjoying doing when you’re not at work?

Yoga – I practice most days and am hooked on the physical and mental discipline that the practice demands. This year I attended my first international yoga retreat. 

What groups are you involved in?

For several years, I was involved in planning each annual TEDxYouth Toronto, which are independently organized TED events.  The organizing committee was just a group of volunteers who worked tirelessly to develop themes, secure sponsors, find speakers, design sets, and reach out to the community of high school kids in Toronto. I met many good-hearted and bright people through that organization. 

Do you have a favorite book?

Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card) is a book I’ve read again and again. I was in high school the first time I read it and I remember falling asleep with the book in my hand, dreaming of the vivid battle rooms and army formations that the book described. It opened my imagination in a way no other book has since done.   

What’s the first place you would recommend to someone who is planning a trip that has never traveled before?

London, UK. It’s not intimidating for a first time traveler since the food and language will be familiar but it’s different and distant enough to really feel like you’ve crossed over into a completely foreign place.