N.B. Cette initiative a été offerte en anglais. Les informations offertes sur cette page sont donc en langue anglaise.

Summer School 2023 – July 3 to 7 – Concordia University – Montreal, Canada

Leveraging Artificial Intelligence to Optimise Behavioural Health Interventions and Assessments

Creating synergies between computer and health sciences

Developing effective technological solutions for behaviour change requires an interdisciplinary approach.

Coupling evidence-based behaviour change theories and techniques with advanced machine/deep learning and signal processing tools from the start of the process is a highly promising way to create effective technologies.

This five-day summer school program provided a broad overview of the design, evaluation, and implementation of digital health assessments and interventions. It offered participants background knowledge about behavioural and computer science and explore practical methods that can be applied to develop technological solution

Participants and Program Content

The school welcomed participants from 15 learning institutions from Canada, the US, Ireland, the UK, France/Algeria, and Sweden.

The cohort included 10 Masters-level students, 15 doctoral-level students, 2 postdoctoral scholars, and 2 MITACS participants, equally divided between the fields of behavioural health science and computer science.

The program covered topics in computer science and behavioural science, and included plenary and practicum sessions, group projects, and two panels.

Introduction to Computer Science – Led by Eric Granger, Marco Pedersoli and the LIVIA Team

  • Introduction to Machine Learning
  • Overview of Expression Recognition
  • Introduction to programming framework
Introduction to Behavioural Science – Led by Kim Lavoie, Keven Joyal-Desmarais, Vincent Gosselin-Boucher, and Anda Dragomir

  • Behavioural Science 101
  • The ORBIT model: A Framework for behavioural intervention design, development and testing
  • Applied behaviour change to digital assessments & interventions

Plenary Sessions

  • Social and Behavioral Science Insights for Precision Behavioral Interventions – David Conroy    
  • The potential for AI to tailor behavioural interventions to within-person processes and situational context  – Felix Naughton   
  • Capturing emotions in everyday data – Simon Bacon, Keven Joyal Desmarais and Manuela Gonzalez  
  • Advanced computer science – Alessandro Koreich, Marco Pedersoli and Éric Granger     
  • Emotion Perception in Context – Agata Lapedriza Garcia     
  • Emoface : From 3D emotional avatars to digital health solutions for autism – Adela Barbulescu   
  • Artificial Neural Networks for Multimodal Recognition of Emotion and Pain – Freidhelm Schwenker
  • Integration of AI into community base primary care – Samira Abbasgholizadeh Rahimi        
  • Health interventions and AI – Marta Kersten Ortel and Simon Bacon     

Practicum Sessions

  • Annotation of behavioural data – models of emotions – Manuela Gonzalez and Keven Joyal Desmarais
  • Algorithm development –  Haseeb Aslam   

Industry Translation Panel

  • Alan Hamilton (Consultant), Gino Belanger (ÉTS), Marie-Laure De Boutray (ÉTS), Lilia Jemai (MITACS), Gad Sabbatier (Axelys) and Marco Pedersoli (ÉTS)    

AI Ethics Panel 

  • Sebastien Gambs, Bryn Williams-Jones and Jordan Schoenherr    

Participants worked in groups to develop their own projects

Group 1: New ehealth behaviour change intervention focused on improving people’s physical activity

Group 2: Leveraging eHealth Interventions for Behavioral Change:Capturing User Engagement and Overcoming Challenges

Group 3: Communication in medical consultations

Group 4: Using Deep ML to make it easier for health professionals to personalize and improve adherence to a physical activity intervention through collaboration between computer and behavioural/health scientists

Faculty and Lecturers


Simon Bacon is the CIHR-SPOR Chair in Innovative, Patient-Oriented, Behavioural Clinical Trials, FRQS co-Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health for Health Behaviour Change, and a Professor in the Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Applied Physiology at Concordia. Dr. Bacon is also the co-director of the MBMC, a CIUSSS-NIM/Concordia/UQAM research centre. He is internationally recognised for his work on developing novel behaviour change interventions. Importantly, he has a long history of capturing multimodal physiological data and is the co-primary investigator of the ACCELERATION program.

Eric Granger is is the FRQS co-Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health for Health Behaviour Change, ETS Industrial Research co-Chair on Embedded Neural Networks for Intelligent Connected Buildings (Distech Inc.), and a Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at Montreal’s École de technologie supérieure. He is also director of the LIVIA, a research laboratory focused on computer vision and artificial intelligence. His research expertise includes machine learning, pattern recognition, and computer vision, with applications in affective computing, biometrics, face recognition, medical imaging, and video analytics/surveillance. His contributions on the development of deep learning (DL) models for visual recognition has led to several collaborations with governmental and industrial partners like CBSA, Nuvoola, Ericsson, and Genetec Inc. Dr. Granger is an associate editor for Elsevier Pattern Recognition, Springer Nature Computer Science, and the EURASIP Journal on Image and Video Processing.

Marco Pedersoli is the ETS Industrial Research co-Chair on Embedded Neural Networks for Intelligent Connected Buildings (Distech Inc.) and a Professor in the Department of Systems Engineering at Montreal’s École de technologie supérieur (ETS). He is a member of the LIVIA, the International Laboratory in Learning Systems (ILLS) and part of the research team associated with the FRQS Double Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Digital Health for Health Behaviour Change. His research involves the use of machine learning and deep learning for computer vision and pattern recognition problems. His focus is on methods and algorithms to reduce the level of supervision and the computational cost of deep learning models.

Kim Lavoie is co-Director of the MBMC, holds the Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Medicine, and is a Full Professor in the Department of Psychology at UQAM and an Adjunct Professor of Medicine at University of Montreal. She is internationally recognized for her research on the impact of psychological and behavioural factors on the development and progression of cardiovascular and lung diseases and is invited tospeaks around the world about the impact of behavioral interventions (e.g., motivational communication, exercise, and behavioural weight loss) on key health behaviours and outcomes in chronic lung disease. She currently holds multiple grants in the area of motivational communication training and efficacy for behaviour change in chronic disease.


Agata Lapedriza is a professor at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) in Spain and a Research Affiliate at MIT Medialab in the US. She is also a part-time contractor at Apple Machine Learning Research. At UOC she leads the « AI for Human Well-being » lab, at UOC eHealth Research Center. Her research interests are related to Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Affective Computing, Social Robotics, Explainable Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Fairness in AI. She has been collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2012. From 2012 to 2015 she was a visiting professor at MIT CSAIL, and from 2017 to 2020 she was a visiting professor at MIT Medialab, at the Affective Computing group. In 2020 she spent one year as a visiting faculty at Google (Cambridge, USA). 

Friedhelm Schwenker is a Professor at the Institute of Neural Information Processing at Ulm University (Germany). He is the founder of the Technical Committee 9 on Pattern Recognition in Human Computer Interaction of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR). He was chair and vice-chair of the IAPR TC 3 on Neural Networks and Computational Intelligence (2006 to 2014) and was a vice-chair of the TC on Data Mining and Big Data Analytics of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (2014-2016). He is the co-editor of 14 LNCS/LNAI volumes, six special issues in Pattern Recognition Letters Journal, Neural Processing Letters and MDPI Algorithms, and MDPI Entropy. He has authored 300+ peer-reviewed papers in international journals and conferences and serves as an Associate Editor of IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, Plose One, Computational Statistics, Frontiers Computational Neuroscience, Hindawi Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, and MDPI Entropy. His main research interests include affective computing, data mining, artificial neural networks, machine learning, pattern recognition, and mathematical foundations of learning.

David E. Conroy is Professor of Kinesiology, Human Development & Family Studies, and Public Health Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University in the US. He is a recent Past-President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, served on the 2002 Science Board for the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition, and consulted for the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. In collaboration with collaborators from engineering, computer science, and clinical medicine, Dr. Conroy has leveraged insights about the dynamics of motivation to develop just-in-time adaptive interventions for health behavior change. His ongoing work is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NHLBI, NIDDK, NIA, NCI), National Science Foundation, Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute, and American Institute of Cancer Research. www.conroylab.com or @conroylab on Twitter.

Felix Naughton is co-lead of the Additions Research Group at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK where he is Professor of Health Psychology within the School of Health Sciences. He is also Visiting Senior Researcher at the Behavioural Science Group, University of Cambridge, and a registered Health Psychologist. He has a key research interest in the development and evaluation of digital interventions to promote and support health behaviour change and leads a research programme focused on mobile phone-based smoking cessation interventions. He is particularly interested in innovative technology-mediated approaches to changing behaviour, such as through Just-In-Time Adaptive Interventions (JITAIs). Felix has served as a topic expert on behaviour change related NICE advisory committees in the UK and has recently been appointed as an expert advisor for the NICE Centre of Guidelines.

Adela Barbulescu – Adela Barbulescu is the CEO of EMOFACE, a spin-off of the University Grenoble Alpes, in France. EMOFACE is a deeptech startup that develops digital therapy tools for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The application Emoface Play&Learn Emotions proposes gamified activities based on the interaction with 3D emotional avatars in order to train social-emotional skills for autistic children. Emoface is a technology transfer company, resulting from the research on the generation of emotional 3D avatars within the Gipsa-Lab and INRIA, as part of Adela Barbulescu’s PhD thesis. Her research interests are related to Computer Vision, Affective Computing, Digital humans, Digital Therapeutics, Accessibility and Neurodiversity, with a particular interest in combining new technologies and evidence-based practices for health and education applications.

Bryn Williams-Jones is a Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine in the School of Public Health (ESPUM) at the University of Montreal. Prof. Williams-Jones is interested in the socio-ethical and policy implications of health innovations in diverse contexts. His work examines the conflicts that arise in academic research and professional practice with a view to developing ethical tools to manage these conflicts when they cannot be avoided. Current projects focus on issues in professional ethics, public health ethics, research integrity and ethics education. Prof. Williams-Jones is Co-director of the Ethics Branch of the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology (OBVIA) and is Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Journal of Bioethics. In his bilingual blog BrynStorming, he shares his ideas on bioethics and academic life.

Jordan Richard Schoenherr is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Applied AI Institute (Concordia University), an Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and a member of the Institute for Data Science (Carleton University). He also serves as a Research Fellow at the Center for AI and Digital Policy and as a member of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) Artificial Intelligence Steering Committee. Dr. Schoenherr is a former postdoctoral fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Skills and Simulation Centre (uOSSC) and a former visiting scholar at the US Military Academy’s (West Point). He has acted as an ethics consultant for the Ombudsman, Integrity, and Resolution Office (Health Canada / PHAC), the Office of the Chief Scientist (Health Canada), the Canadian Border Services Agency, and the Department of National Defence. His primary areas of interest are learning and decision-making and metacognition with application in cyberpsychology (cybersecurity, disinformation, ethical AI design, and XAI) and scientific ethics (scientific integrity and AI ethics).

Samira A. Rahimi is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Medicine, Associate Academic Professor of Mila-Quebec AI Institute, Associate member of Faculty of Dentistry, and Affiliated scientist at Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research of Jewish General Hospital. She is Associate Member of the College of Family Physicians of Canada, President of the Canadian Operational Research Society (CORS), and Director of Artificial Intelligence in Family Medicine (AIFM) at McGill. Prof. Rahimi is Fonds de Recherche du Québec-Santé (FRQS) Junior 1 Research Scholar in human-centered AI in primary health care, and her work as Principal Investigator has been funded by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), Roche Canada, Brocher Foundation (Switzerland), and the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR)-Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). In recognition of her outstanding work, Prof. Rahimi has received numerous awards, including the prestigious 2022 New Investigator Primary Care Research Award from the North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG).

Sébastien Gambs has held the Canada Research Chair in Privacy and Ethical Analysis of Massive Data since December 2017 and has been a professor in the Department of Computer Science at the Université du Québec à Montréal since January 2016. His main research theme is privacy in the digital world. He is also interested in solving long-term scientific questions such as the existing tensions between massive data analysis and privacy as well as ethical issues such as fairness, transparency and algorithmic accountability raised by personalized systems.

Lilia Jemai is the National Artificial Intelligence Lead at Mitacs and is in charge of Mitacs’ artificial intelligence strategy, large-scale projects and strategic accounts. She holds three Master’s degrees in research and 12 years’ experience in data valorization, artificial intelligence and decision support technologies, including nine years in research and post-secondary education.

Alan Hamilton is a clinical scientist with a focus on the development/evaluation of pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions for alleviation of breathlessness and activity limitation in patients with chronic lung disease. After completing his PhD (Physiology; 1995) and Postdoctoral Fellowship (Pharmacology; 1997) at McMaster University, Alan joined Boehringer Ingelheim (BI), a global pharmaceutical company. Alan had several scientific leadership roles during his 25-year career with BI: Global Clinical Evidence Program Lead (Phase I to Phase III/IIIb) for tiotropium/olodaterol, a combination bronchodilator in COPD (2004 – 2105); Behaviour Change Intervention Design Team Lead and Clinical Evaluation Lead for Airology, a digital self-management support solution in COPD (2018 – 2021); COPD Biomarker Qualification Consortium (CBQC) Steering Committee Industry Co-chair (2020 – 2021). After leaving BI in 2022, Alan established Alan L Hamilton Consulting Inc and partnered with the COPD Foundation (US), taking on the role of Senior Director of Research and PIVOT Program Lead (Patient Inspired Validation of Outcome Tools). Alan has an adjunct appointment in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University (Department of Health Research Methods, Impact and Evaluation).

Gad Sabbatier is project manager in science and technologies at Axelys, the society for development and transfer for innovation from Quebec research institutions. Gad Sabbatier has got a joint PhD in material engineering from Université Laval and in mechanical engineering from Université de Haute-Alsace in the field of biomaterials and medical devices. Gad was then researcher at Queen’s University and then at McGill University in collaborative research contracts with companies. Gad is also an outstanding trainer with 15 years of experience and a social entrepreneur. In 2021, he cofounded the 2nd Lab, a non-profit organization that empowers early career scientists towards impactful careers that benefit society.

Marie-Laure De Boutray is a research advisor for ÉTS, an innovation broker with Axelys and CEO of a grants and innovation consulting firm. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Université de Montréal, a master’s degree in civil engineering from Polytechnique Montréal and two PhD in environmental engineering from Polytechnique Montréal and École des Ponts ParisTech (France). She has worked as a project manager in biotechnology. Passionate about research and entrepreneurship, she now helps professors and students turn their research into reality through technology transfer and start-up creation. She also supports company-university research partnerships and helps companies of all sizes establish collaborations with universities. Marie-Laure builds bridges between academia and industry. She assists professors and students in filing patent applications. She also negotiates intellectual property licenses and assignments.

  • Marta Kersten Ortel, Concordia University

  • Alessandro Lameiras Koerich, ÉTS


  • Manuela Gonzalez

  • Keven Joyal Desmarais

  • Vincent Gosselin Boucher

  • Anda Dragomir

  • Paul Waligora

  • Muhammad Haseeb Aslam

  • Soufiane Belharbi

  • Muhammad Osama Zeeshan

Program Partners

Concordia University

Fonds de recherche Santé du Québec

ÉTS - École de technologie supérieure

Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Medicine

Montreal Behavioural Medicine Centre

Canadian Behavioural Interventions and Trials Network

LIVIA - Laboratoire d'imagerie, de vision et d'intelligence artificielle