Toronto (Oct. 24, 2000) - The Honourable Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Elizabeth Witmer, today announced $15 million in funding to create a new provincial rehabilitation research program at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab).

Today's announcement constitutes a major investment in rehabilitation research in Ontario. That’s welcome news for the more than 15,000 people a year in Toronto and across the province, who rely on Toronto Rehab to help them rebuild their lives physically and emotionally after a disabling illness or injury.

"This new funding is critical to improving both the quality of rehabilitation care, and life, for the thousands of Ontarians who live with the consequences of disabling injury and disease," said Mark Rochon, President and CEO of Toronto Rehab. "As the population grows and ages, the need for rehabilitation services will increase significantly over the next decade. It is imperative that we find new and better ways to help individuals who experience life-altering events achieve the fullest possible participation in society. And more research is key."

"The funding we are providing today will be used to improve the quality of rehabilitative services in Ontario and through research, ensure that the care provided is based on the best rehabilitative practices," said Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, Elizabeth Witmer.

As the largest provider of rehabilitation services in Canada, Toronto Rehab is a leader in rehabilitation science and is dedicated to advancing rehabilitation research, education and patient care.

The announcement comes as Toronto Rehab launches its public awareness campaign to highlight the significant contributions rehabilitation science makes to enhancing patient care and quality of life. “Now, more than ever we need to push the boundaries of rehabilitation research to help people participate fully at home, at work, school, and in society,” said Rochon.

The Ministry's funding announcement includes $3 million a year for five years to establish a provincial research program at Toronto Rehab. In addition to the provincial funding, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Foundation announced $1 million in funding to support the new research program this year, and in the future.

The new research program will be spearheaded by Dr. Jack Ivan Williams, formerly the President and CEO of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). Funding received today will enable Toronto Rehab to expand the knowledge base of best practices in rehabilitation, evaluate the effectiveness of services now provided, develop new and more effective approaches to patient care and put them into practice to speed recovery and improve the health of people:

  • who have had a heart attack or major heart surgery such as bypass or transplant surgery;
  • who suffer from the effects of a stroke or acquired brain injury;
  • who have sustained a traumatic spinal cord injury or who have a spinal cord disease;
  • who have undergone joint replacement surgery, sustained multiple fractures or had extensive surgery for the reconstruction of limbs following the removal of cancerous tumours;
  • who experience severe and multiple age-related illness;
  • who have Alzheimer and Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis and other complex medical conditions.

Working in partnership with Ontario's other academic rehabilitation centres, Toronto Rehab will lead the province's new rehabilitation research network to advance knowledge and practice in rehabilitation. The Institute will share its discoveries with patients, families, other health care professionals and policy makers to ensure that the highest quality of patient care is available throughout Ontario.

In addition to today's Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care announcement, the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute made the following announcements:

  • Dr. Jack Williams was named Vice President, Research at Toronto Rehab;
  • $1.5 million in funding from the University of Toronto to establish the first Chair in Rehabilitation Research. The contribution will be matched by the Toronto Rehab Foundation to create the $3 million dollar research chair;
  • The creation of the Saunderson Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury Research made possible by a donation from Bill and Meredith Saunderson;
  • A commitment by the Toronto Rehab Foundation to create three additional research chairs over the next five years;
  • A $700,000 Fellowship, established by the Canadian Paraplegic Association Ontario, that will provide $70,000 a year for the next 10 years for a Clinical Research Fellow in spinal cord injury.

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