Five distinctive international conferences generate solutions to the challenges facing the world's aging populations

Toronto (June 15, 2007) - The world's leading experts on topics relating to aging, disability, informal caregiving and new technologies are gathering in Toronto for a one-of-a-kind festival. From June 16-19, 2007, The Festival of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology (FICCDAT) will bring together for the first time five distinctive conferences to facilitate a global dialogue among leading experts on the universal issues of aging, disability, caregiving and the role of technology in helping the world's aging populations live longer and better.

FICCDAT delegates will have an unprecedented opportunity to share and explore the most current scientific, technological and social developments with other professionals from different backgrounds but who are working towards the similar goal of improving the lives of seniors, persons with disabilities and their caregivers.

"Never before has there been a professional event of this scale where international conferences unite with the common themes related to disability and aging but approached from very different perspectives," says Dr. Geoff Fernie, Vice President, Research, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab).

"In a society where researchers compete for funding, health providers strive for greater recognition and special interest groups search for new donors, there has been growing division amongst professions and groups representing similar causes. This fragmentation has created silos of information and a lack of communication between professions, policy, services, research and practice," adds Dr. Fernie

"The truth is that various professions each have unique challenges and unique approaches to similar issues. The key is to break down their individual silos and share our expertise and experiences in an international dialogue," explains Andria Spindel, President of March of Dimes Canada and Co-Chair of FICCDAT.

She continues, "The silos that exist do so at many levels and FICCDAT is attempting to address them all. Joint sessions between conferences, shared poster presentations, social events and working groups are some of the planned vehicles for breaking down the silos. FICCDAT is sending a message about shared solutions."

Some examples of how FICCDAT is fostering the sharing of knowledge are seen in the collaborations of its five conferences. The Growing Older with a Disability Conference, which will address gerontological issues facing populations with physical and mental disabilities, and the 2nd International Conference on Technology and Aging (ICTA2), which aims to drive a global vision of how technologies can improve the quality of life for seniors, will share between them keynote speaker Dr. Eric Dishman, founder and General Manager of Intel's Health Research & Innovation Group, who is responsible for driving global R&D for new healthcare and wellness-related technologies across the continuum of care from hospital to home. Also, registrants of one conference will be granted access to a session each day for any other of the five conferences. This is meant to promote the festival themes and the opportunity to share knowledge and experiences across atypical professional platforms.

"Grouping five international conferences under the umbrella of a larger festival will provide each field with crucial resources that will help to ensure an outstanding conference," says Dr. Fernie.

He continues, "Furthermore, it will provide the opportunity for delegates to collaborate and learn with other experts in other fields. There are significant overlaps which will be important to explore and solidify further.

Even though FICCDAT is predominately a professional educational event, the topics being discussed touch the lives of everyone. Festival hosts March of Dimes Canada and the Toronto Rehab, two organizations dedicated to improving the lives of individuals recovering from, and living with, disabling injury and illness and age-related conditions, have opened up the festival to consumers. The public is invited to attend the FICCDAT trade exhibition, which features special presentations, new technologies to help people age in their homes, unique services available to caregivers, and a sneak peak at future state-of-the-art laboratories where future innovations will be created.

Visit to learn more about FICCDAT and the five international conferences.

About March of Dimes Canada

March of Dimes Canada is a nationally registered charitable organization providing support services to over 50,000 people with disabilities, their families and caregivers across Canada. For more information please visit the website or call 1 800 263 3463.

About Toronto Rehab

The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) is at the forefront of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today rehabilitation science. Toronto Rehab is one of Canada's leading academic rehabilitation science centres providing adult rehabilitation services, complex continuing care, and long-term care.

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