Profile of Charlene Chu

Charlene Chu RN, PhD, GNC(C)

Assistant Professor

Currently Accepting Students

Dr. Charlene Chu is an Assistant Professor at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto, and an Affiliate Scientist at KITE Toronto Rehab at the University Health Network. She is cross-appointed (status only) with the Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work’s Institute for Life Course & Aging, as well as the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto. She is an Assistant Editor at the Canadian Journal on Aging.

Dr. Chu is a Registered Nurse with 16 years of experience working with older adults across the health spectrum, ranging from acute care to long-term care. Her PhD designed and evaluated a person-centered physical activity intervention to improve the functional mobility, and quality of life of older adults with dementia residing in long-term care. Her post-doctoral training was in the Intelligent Assistive Technology and Systems Lab where she acquired the skills in co-design and technology development, validation, and evaluation.

Her primary area of research is focused on co-designing technology-enabled interventions that support the quality of life of older adults and their caregivers in post-acute care settings (e.g. long-term care, rehabilitation, community). The major focuses are:

  • person-centred interventions supporting quality of life of older adults with and without dementia
  • co-designing and evaluating technology-enabled interventions that support older adults and/or their formal and informal caregivers
  • the use of artificial intelligence to support healthy aging and aging-in-place
  • digital ageism

Her research to develop technology for older adults is funded by each council of the Tri-Agency made up of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). She also holds funding from the New Frontier Research Fund, Center for Aging and Brain Health, AGE-WELL NCE, Canadian Nurses Foundation; Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Canadian Partnerships for Stroke Research. Dr. Chu has authored and co-authored over 60 peer-reviewed full manuscripts about her work. She received an Alzheimer Society of Canada New investigator award in 2020 as well as a Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Award for Leadership in Nursing Research in 2022. Her work has been featured on the CBC, The National Post, and The Toronto Star.

Dr. Chu leads an interdisciplinary team including engineers, computer scientists, physiotherapists, and nurses. She holds two patents about novel computer vision applications for the functional assessments of older adults. She has mentored over a dozen undergraduate and graduate students from health sciences, nursing, biomedical engineering, and computer science.

She is a steering committee member of The Consortium of Professional Nursing Practice in LTC and the Worldwide Elements To Harmonize Research In long-term care liVing Environments (WE-THRIVE) to support the use of common data elements in long-term care and support person-centred care globally. She is also a member of the Nursing and Artificial Intelligence Leadership Consortium.

Current projects:

  • multi-modal sensor systems to support aging at home, healthy aging, hip fracture recovery, frailty*
  • innovations in long-term care*
  • exploring, conceptualizing and addressing digital ageism
  • supporting Directors of Nursing and nurse staffing in long-term care
  • nursing informatics in nursing education

*open PhD student opportunities related to these projects and similar topics

Dr. Chu’s publications on Pubmed 

Wahab Osman, RN

Wahab Osman is a PhD student at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto, supervised by Dr. Charlene Chu. His doctoral research examines the effects of a newly implemented electronic health records system on clinical nursing care activities in Ghana, aiming to understand its impact and potential for improvement in healthcare delivery. Wahab’s other research interests include nursing informatics, ehealth/digital health, clinical nursing practices, and the management of chronic pediatric diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and Sickle Cell Disease.

Wahab brings a wealth of experience as both a lecturer and a registered nurse with a 15-year career spanning roles at the University for Development Studies (UDS) and Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) in Ghana. His diverse positions have included Research Coordinator, Nursing Clinical Skills Training Coordinator, and Nursing Representative on the TTH’s Lightwave eHealth Information Management System implementation Committee in Ghana.

Julia Fineczko, RN

Julia is a registered nurse and an experienced healthcare leader. she is an inaugural student in the Doctor of Nursing program at the Lawrence Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto. Her research interests focus on advancing nursing leadership, narrowing the gap between evidence generation and implementation, and policy. Julia’s doctoral research aims to identify supportive strategies for the Director of Nursing role in long-term care homes in Ontario.