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Message from the Institute Director

Geoff FernieEvery day, I ask myself: is our research making a real difference in people’s lives? And are we providing good value for the money invested in our work?

There’s no doubt our research is having a demonstrable impact on people affected by disability and aging. We are producing practical solutions to real-life challenges through new therapies and assistive technologies, and important advances in knowledge.

Our work involves:

  • developing treatments and technologies to prevent injury and illness, and restore function to a high level
  • modifying the environment and devising technologies that allow people to continue to live at home, and move safely around the community
  • lessening the burden on professional and family caregivers, and reducing their injuries
  • working to increase accessibility, effectiveness and efficiency of the healthcare system, and reduce costs

A Growing Need

A wave is about to hit as baby boomers start reaching retirement age. This will add to the demand for rehabilitation services fuelled by a growing population that is living longer because of medical advances.

During their lifetime, almost everyone will at some point be affected by disability, either directly or by caring for someone who has a disability.

At Toronto Rehab, we’re providing solutions, from better assistive devices and home monitoring systems to new patient lifts. Our research is throwing light on serious, potentially life-threatening conditions like sleep apnea and swallowing disorders. We’re also addressing pressing challenges, like infection-control, faced by the healthcare system.

Value for Money

Formal mechanisms help assess whether our research is making a difference and providing a good return on investment. The International Scientific Advisory Committee, a team of distinguished scientists, independently reviews the quality and potential significance of our work. In 2011, the scientists praised the state of our research enterprise.

Dr. Walter Wodchis, a University of Toronto health economist and Toronto Rehab scientist, recently calculated the economic return on some of our research projects. His findings make a solid financial case for this work.

A Fast-Growing Program

Created in 2001 with a grant from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, our program has quickly earned a reputation for translating results into practice―and ideas into marketable products.

iDAPT: A World First

Our remarkable new research centre, where aerospace technology meets rehabilitation research, opened in 2011. The $36-million iDAPT Centre for Rehabilitation Research is a network of state-of-the-art labs, workshops and services. The iDAPT Centre (Intelligent Design for Adaptation, Design and Technology) is already revolutionizing rehabilitation science.

Vital Support

We are grateful to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and other agencies and foundations, for their support. These include the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. We also thank the generous individuals who donate to our research through the Toronto Rehab Foundation. With this support, and our collaborations with University Health Network colleagues and close working partnership with the University of Toronto, we are producing solutions that make a difference – so we can maximize life.

Dr. Geoff Fernie
Institute Director, Research