Keynote Speakers

Dr. Fay Nahling Horak

Oregon Health and Science University

“How to Select Balance and Gait Outcomes from Body-Worn Sensors for Clinical Trials on Parkinson’s Disease”

This presentation will focus on the selection of the balance and gait outcomes derived from wearable devices in clinical trials of Parkinson’s disease.



Dr. Horak is the Jay Nutt Endowed Professor of Neurology (Parkinson Center) at Oregon Health and Science University and Chief Scientific Officer of APDM Wearable Technologies, Clario. She is a fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association and neuroscientist who studies neural control and rehabilitation of balance and gait in patients with neurological disorders. Dr. Horak has quantified balance disorders in patients with Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Vestibular Disorders, Cancer Drug toxicity, age-related high fall risk, etc. Dr. Horak also helped start a small company, that makes body-worn, inertial sensors with software to quantify balance and gait and movement disorders via precision motion monitoring. APDM was recently acquired by Clario, the largest company that provides technology for clinical trials. Recently, her laboratory has been comparing gait and turning characteristics collected passively during natural activities in daily life with characteristics collected activity during prescribed, clinical tests. She has over 300 peer-reviewed scientific articles and has received numerous awards.

Prof. I-Min Lee

Harvard Medical School

“Maximizing the utility and comparability of accelerometer data from large-scale observational epidemiologic studies”

Observational epidemiologic studies form the “backbone” of our field in providing evidence showing that there is a clear relation between physical behaviors and good health and functioning. Much of what we know today, particularly for long-term health outcomes, comes from such studies. However, these studies need time to mature because the passage of time is required for health outcomes to occur. In contrast, technological advances in devices used to measure physical behavior, as well as the methodology to process the collected data, proceed at a brisk clip.

Thus, epidemiologic studies with accelerometer data from, say, a decade ago that are now accruing sizeable numbers of clinical outcomes will have employed methodology for collecting and processing accelerometer data also from a decade ago. How can such data be made current and useful so as to address important contemporary questions on the associations of physical behaviors with health outcomes? We will use the Women’s Health Study as an example to illustrate how data collected a decade ago may be maximized in order to take full advantage of them, including potential transformations of the data to make them harmonizable with those from other studies.


I-Min Lee is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She received her medical degree from the National University of Singapore and completed her MPH and ScD degrees at the (then) Harvard School of Public Health. Her primary research interest is in the role of physical activity for promoting health and well-being, and she has published more than 530 scientific articles. She is editor or co-editor of physical activity epidemiology textbooks that have been translated into the Korean and Chinese languages. She has served on national and international expert panels developing physical activity guidelines (including the inaugural 2008 US Physical Activity Guidelines) and sits on the Steering Committee of Lancet Physical Activity Series.  She is Principal Investigator of one of the first large-scale epidemiologic studies using accelerometers to measure physical activity among 18,000 participants in the Women’s Health Study (2011-2015) who are being followed for health outcomes.

Prof. Robert Motl

University of Illinois Chicago

Issues and Solutions in the Measurement of Physical Activity and Multiple Sclerosis: Lessons Learned and Implications for Other Neurological Diseases.

This presentation will focus on the history and application of accelerometers in persons living with multiple sclerosis, and extension into other populations living with chronic diseases and conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and wheelchair users


Prof. Robert Motl has systematically developed a research agenda that focuses on physical activity and its measurement, predictors, and consequences in persons with neurological diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis (MS). Prof. Motl has generated a body of research on the validity of common physical activity measures in persons with MS. This has resulted in foundational research on quantifying differences in physical activity, particularly rates of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, in persons with MS. These two lines of research have provided the basis for examining the outcomes of physical activity in MS, particularly beneficial adaptations in brain structure, cognition, depression, fatigue, walking disability, and quality of life. Prof. Motl has undertaken research on social-cognitive predictors of physical activity that has informed the design of behavioral interventions for increasing physical activity in MS. This agenda serves as a test-bed for application and expansion into other conditions such as spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.

Prof. Steve Robinovitch

Simon Fraser University

“Avoiding Catastrophe during a Fall: Insights from Video Capture on the Landing Strategies of Older Adults during Real-life Falls”

How do older adults avoid injury during a fall? Any fall has the potential to cause catastrophic injury. Yet only about 5% of falls by older adults in long-term care result in serious injury. This talk will review evidence from video footage of over 3000 real-life falls experienced by older adults in long-term care, on how protective “safe landing” responses separate injurious and non-injurious falls.


Steve Robinovitch, Ph.D. is Professor in the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University. Steve’s program on Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors ( focuses on the cause and prevention of falls and fall-related injuries in older adults. Steve received his B.A.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of British Columbia in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Medical Engineering from MIT/ Harvard in 1995. He worked as an Assistant Professor In-Residence in Orthopedics at the University of California San Francisco before joining SFU in 2000. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed papers, and is a past recipient of a Canada Research Chair, a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, and a New Investigator Award from CIHR.

Dr. Richard Troiano

National Cancer Institute

“Evolution of public health physical activity applications of accelerometers; a personal perspective.”

 The use of accelerometers to assess physical activity for research and population surveillance has increased rapidly since 2000 with publications on physical activity and accelerometers increasing more than 50-fold. Accelerometer-based measures were included in multiple cohorts and population surveillance. Concurrently, device technology was rapidly evolving as was understanding of the relationship between physical activity behavior and the signal data available from accelerometer-based devices. This talk will provide an overview of significant events over this period as well as address the current challenge of bridging physical activity recommendations based on reported behavior with assessment based on device measures.


Until his recent retirement, Dr. Richard (Rick) Troiano was a Program Director in the Risk Factor Assessment Branch of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS). Dr. Troiano promotes the validation and use of accelerometer-based devices in the assessment of physical activity in research and population surveillance. He worked with the 2011-2014 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to implement the use of devices in the survey to obtain objective measures of participants’ physical activity-related movement and sleep, as well as body strength, and was the lead on inclusion of accelerometers for the first time in NHANES in 2003-2006. He is interested in promoting improved understanding of the information obtained from devices and self-reports and the analytic implications of different data sources. Dr. Troiano also supports federal efforts to promote health-enhancing physical activity, as evidenced by his service as co-executive secretary for the development of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd edition. Dr. Troiano also was on detail to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion as Coordinator for the development of 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and to the Office of the Surgeon General to support development of Step it Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities. Most recently, he served as a member of Guideline Development Group for the 2020 WHO Guidelines on Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour.

Prof. Mai Chin a paw

Amsterdam UMC

Let’s dance around the world: Addressing WEIRDNESS in the assessment of physical behavior

I strongly believe that diversity and inclusion in science leads to better science, more innovations and more relevant outcomes that better serves society at large. Historically, scientific research is quite WEIRD (Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic1) and this WEIRDNESS not only applies to study samples but definitely also to researchers themselves. WEIRD research leads to WEIRD results that better serve a small privileged group of WEIRD people, widening inequalities. How does this WEIRDNESS affect measurement of physical behaviour? I believe that collaborating within our small circle of  scientific friends with similar backgrounds and perspectives results in bias and hinders innovation. As a result we end up missing out on the valuable holistic viewpoint that more inclusive science would gain.

In this lecture, I am keen to share examples of how I strive to make research on measurement of physical behaviour more inclusive by linking a wide diversity of ideas, perspectives and living environments. More diversity and inclusiveness makes our collective dance more beautiful and impactful!

1Henrich et al. The weirdest people in the world? BEHAVIORAL AND BRAIN SCIENCES (2010) 33, 61–135



Mai Chin A Paw dreams of a world where children grow up healthy and happy. Such a world provides plenty opportunity for active play, inspiring education and physical activities. She loves to practise yoga and yoga philosophy and dance around the world.

In her research she takes a true translational approach from science to society by combining her scientific expertise in human movement science and epidemiology resulting in innovative studies in real-world situations. She enjoys contributing to innovating methodologies and creatively combining multiple disciplines and perspectives. Her research focuses on determinants and health consequences of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in youth, with a strong interest in measurement. In 2014, she was awarded University Research Chair professor at VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam.

Growing up in a multicultural family, she learned to observe the world from various perspectives, enjoy diversity, believe in serendipity and search beyond the unexpected. This sculpted her unique scientific frame of mind. Mai believes that involving children as co-researchers is not only possible, but necessary to develop better and more appropriate methods and interventions.

Dr. Jessilyn Dunn

Duke University

“The Digital Physiome: Wearables for Early Disease Detection”

 Digital health is rapidly expanding due to surging healthcare costs, deteriorating health outcomes, and the growing prevalence and accessibility of mobile health and wearable technologies. Recent technological advancements make it possible to closely and continuously monitor individuals using multiple measurement modalities in real time. We are collecting and integrating such wearables data with clinical information to gain a more precise understanding of health and disease and develop actionable, predictive health models for improving cardiometabolic and infectious respiratory disease outcomes. We are simultaneously developing open source data science and machine learning tools for the digital health community, including the Digital Biomarker Discovery Pipeline (DBDP), to facilitate the use of mobile device data in healthcare.



Jessilyn Dunn is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Biostatistics & Bioinformatics at Duke University, and Director of the Duke BIG IDEAs Laboratory which is focused on biomedical data science and mobile health for digital biomarker discovery. Dr. Dunn is PI of the CDC-funded CovIdentify study to detect and monitor COVID-19 using mobile health technologies, which is built upon the team’s previous infection detection work through the DARPA Prometheus and Biochronicity programs. Dr. Dunn was an NIH Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford, an NSF Graduate Research Fellow at Georgia Tech & Emory, and a visiting scholar at the CDC and the National Cardiovascular Research Institute in Madrid, Spain. Her work has been internationally recognized with media coverage from the NIH Director’s Blog to Wired, Time, and US News and World Report.

Dr. Matthew Diamond

Digital Health Center of Excellence, FDA

The Use of Digital Health Technology for Behavioral and Physiological Measures in Clinical Investigations of Medical Products”

There is a global academic researcher community developing and validating methods to measure components of real-world physical behavior, gait and sleep using wearable inertial sensors and other connected technologies. Historically, this work has primarily been supported by public health researchers interested in understanding the dose response relationship between physical activity and health. There is now significant interest by those in the drug development community to use such tools to measure real-world outcomes that are patient-centric, clinically relevant, and ecologically valid. The overarching goal of this keynote address is to accelerate digital health advancements, drive synergy and support patient focused drug development by increasing awareness and understanding of how academic research laboratories can generate evidence that meets the needs of regulatory stakeholders.


Matthew Diamond, MD, PhD is the Chief Medical Officer for Digital Health at the CDRH Digital Health Center of Excellence at FDA where he serves as the senior clinical expert for digital health medical devices and provides leadership for digital health policy development for emerging technologies including artificial intelligence. Prior to joining the Agency, Dr. Diamond served on leadership teams of large and small technology companies, including as CMO at Nokia, and as Medical Director at Fossil Group and the startup Misfit Wearables. Dr. Diamond served on numerous advisory boards including at the UMass Amherst Center for Personalized Health Monitoring and for NGP Capital. As Vice Chair of the CTA Health & Fitness Technology Board of Directors, he promoted public health applications of mobile technology and established an ANSI-accredited standardization committee for digital health technology. Dr. Diamond earned his MD and PhD (biophysics) from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine; he is board certified in rehabilitation medicine and sports medicine and certified in medical acupuncture. A faculty member at NYU, Dr. Diamond is passionate about helping people improve their mobility and performance through a holistic approach to rehabilitation and technology that promotes wellness.

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