The Neuromuscular Disease Network for Canada

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Homira Osman

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VP of Research & Public Policy at Muscular Dystrophy Canada

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Biography

Dr. Homira Osman is the VP of Research & Public Policy at Muscular Dystrophy Canada. Her background is in clinical audiology, neuroscience research and knowledge translation. In her role, Dr. Osman has overall strategic and operational responsibility for all elements of research, knowledge translation, clinical relationships and advocacy work at MDC. Within NMD4C, Homira serves as the patient-engagement lead and contributes to all of the work packages.

 

Dr. Homira Osman holds an Honours B.Sc. in Neuroscience and Population Health from the University of Toronto. During her undergraduate, she performed research investigating the challenges in diagnosis and prognostication of auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder in neonates and infants and the benefit of appropriate intervention with hearing aids and cochlear implantation (CI), which instilled in her a love of patient-oriented research. Homira then moved to Seattle, where she pursued a clinical doctorate AuD at the University of Washington. She completed a clinical fellowship in pediatric audiology at Seattle Children’s Hospital Department of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery & Childhood Communication Centre. Homira then earned a PhD at the University of Washington. In her predoctoral work, she focused on understanding the interplay of peripheral and central hearing processes when children listen, comprehend, and communicate in real-world situations and how peripheral hearing loss may lead to auditory cognitive dysfunction. Dr. Osman completed a post-doctoral fellowship at The Hospital for Sick Children in the CI Lab and the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience (University of Toronto). During that time, she was awarded the SickKids Centre for Brain & Mental Health Integrative Research Fellowship Award for 2017. She worked on projects that defined adaptive and maladaptive types of plasticity arising from attention and vision in children with hearing loss, explored whether cytomegalovirus in early development affects cortical brain oscillations evoked by cochlear implants, and measured distortions in binaural cues created by bilateral hearing aids.

 

As an audiologist, Homira has worked with patients with neuromuscular disorders (NMD) and other rare genetic diseases. Homira completed a summer traineeship, where she worked on the largest clinical drug trial for Progeria at Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School Division of Otolaryngology. Such clinical interactions highlighted the need to close the gap from research to evidence-based practices and that effective knowledge mobilization is fundamental to delivering high-quality healthcare services. This has led to her to train in knowledge translation and implementation science. Homira completed the Pacific Science Communication Fellowship in Translational Medicine, TL1 Translational Research Training Program, U.S. Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities Fellowship and the Scientist Knowledge Translation Training at the Hospital for Sick Children. She has also practiced science communication, building and brokering relationships, and mentorship by teaching hundreds of undergraduate and graduate-level students and delivering presentations on a wide-range of related topics: balance and vestibular disorders, auditory assessment and rehabilitation, health studies, cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, child development, accessibility and inclusion.

 

At Muscular Dystrophy Canada (MDC), Homira provides leadership to a broad range of initiatives set in motion to improve the knowledge and awareness of neuromuscular disorders and ultimately improve the quality of life of infants, children, adults and family members affected by NMDs across Canada. Homira works closely with persons with lived experience, physicians, allied healthcare professionals, researchers, academic, community and industry partners to engage, learn and share in knowledge generation, synthesis, and mobilization and ensures that evidence turns into action. As such, Homira also oversees the Public Policy portfolio where she engages with officials in the federal and provincial governments to represent the voices and experiences of people living with NMDs. Homira believes that research, advocacy and action are inseparable from one another. She works to advocate for policy changes that will have a meaningful impact on people living with NMDs, such as fair and timely access to innovative medicines and therapies. She is responsible for analyzing the impact of public policy and regulations from government, health stakeholders, and academia, patient input submissions and developing policy positions that may positively influence health-related and equitable public policy. She is currently working on two multi-stakeholder collaborative projects: a research study investigating the impact of neuromuscular disorders on direct- and indirect-healthcare resource utilization costs and health-related quality of life and also a cross-Canada newborn screening initiative. Homira is an investigator at the Neuromuscular Disease Network for Canada and serves on the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Community of Practice in Peer Review Steering Committee.

Recent publications

James, AL, Osborn, HA, Osman, H, Papaioannou, V, Gordon, KA. The limitation of risk factors as a means of prognostication in auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder of perinatal onset. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2020.135 110112 PMID:32502912

Osman, H, Sullivan, JR. An analysis of error patterns in children's backward digit recall in noise. Noise Health. .17 (77)191-7 PMID:26168949

Sullivan, JR, Osman, H, Schafer, EC. The Effect of Noise on the Relationship Between Auditory Working Memory and Comprehension in School-Age Children. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2015.58 (3)1043-51 PMID:25769020

Osman, H, Sullivan, JR. Children's auditory working memory performance in degraded listening conditions. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 2014.57 (4)1503-11 PMID:24686855

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