A new research institute at Ontario Tech University will be a global leader in creating and disseminating knowledge to improve the quality of life and well-being of people experiencing disability, and in need of rehabilitation services.
Led by Dr. Pierre Côté, Canada Research Chair in Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, research conducted at the Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (IDRR) will improve the overall health and well-being of people with disability through the conduct of innovative and policy-relevant research. The IDRR was officially created in June 2021.
“Disability and rehabilitation are complex areas of research that include aspects of health, clinical care, human rights, legal perspectives and political activism, recognized by bodies like the United Nations and World Health Organization,” says Côté. “The creation of the Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research is a critical next step to facilitate knowledge translation, and to accelerate policy change through evidence-based strategies and policies that improve the lives of vulnerable populations.”
The IDRR is a partnership between Ontario Tech’s Faculty of Health Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC). Researchers will work with the public, clinicians, community partners and government to develop, evaluate and conduct policy-relevant research to inform patient care and community-based rehabilitation services.
The IDRR evolved from the previous Centre for Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (CDPR) that had operated under a successful joint governance model between Ontario Tech and the CMCC since 2012.
“As founding partners in the Centre for Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (CDPR), we are proud of this critical evolution of the CDPR to the status of Institute. This advancement speaks to the track record of the work done in the past and to the promise of continuing the innovative research that will fundamentally change the lives of those with disabilities. CMCC brings to the table over 75 years of chiropractic and research expertise in the management of spine pain to inform and support ongoing research, patient management and policy through its world-class curriculum and network of teaching clinics in the Greater Toronto Area,” says Dr. Christine Bradaric-Baus, Vice-President Academic, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
Dr. Silvano Mior, Director Research Partnerships and Health Policy, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, is a scientist with the Institute. “The establishment of the IDRR will create a renewed opportunity to further the clinical and policy relevant research initiated with the Centre,” says Mior. “Expanding the pillars of research in the IDRR will ensure our work impacts health care providers, addresses the needs of diverse patients, and spreads into the communities we serve.”
Key facts: Disability is a major global health issue
IDRR promotes the critical intersection between health sciences and the social sciences and humanities
Understanding the consequences of musculoskeletal pain and mental health disability requires collaborative research that recognizes the intersection of public health and social priorities.
The IDRR recognizes that disability is grounded within the principles of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). The new IDRR will ensure EDI is at the core of all its activities by building a diverse research team. It will also engage with community partners, taking its cue from the disability rights movement, which has long embraced a slogan originating in South African disability activism: ‘nothing about us without us’.
People experiencing disability are best positioned to articulate their experiences of functional limitation, barriers to full social participation, and needs for support. In this spirit, the IDRR team commits to assembling advisory boards composed of people with disability who will inform research design, data collection, analysis, and dissemination and can fully participate in institute work without having to worry about their accommodation needs.
IDRR research will ensure Ontario Tech’s principle of ‘Tech with a Conscience’ is understood from the perspective of people experiencing disability when investigating rehabilitation interventions, developing knowledge transfer tools, informing policy, and exploring complex issues related to technology and privacy.