Toronto (May 15, 2005) - Dr. Susan Jaglal, respected epidemiologist, Senior Scientist at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab), and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto (U of T), has been named the first joint Chair in Rehabilitation Research by Toronto Rehab and U of T. The new Toronto Rehabilitation Institute Chair at the University of Toronto, established as part of Toronto Rehab Foundation's $146M capital fundraising campaign, is one of five endowed research chairs totaling $10M created to support Toronto Rehab's growing rehabilitation research enterprise, now one of the largest in North America.

"I am extremely excited about being the first Toronto Rehab/U of T research chair because it provides me with a tremendous opportunity to advance health services research in the areas of rehabilitation and continue my work on osteoporosis," says Dr. Jaglal. "In Canada, there is currently no research group dedicated to conducting health services research in rehabilitation. I am particularly interested in integrated service delivery models and look forward to applying knowledge from my current research to care delivery models for rehabilitation."

"Dr Jaglal will lead one of our nine teams of scientists. This team is exploring how to make the health care system work more efficiently and speedily to provide the best possible rehabilitation to everyone who needs it. She is a brilliant scientist with a strong motivation to make the health system work better," says Geoff Fernie, Vice President of Research at Toronto Rehab.

In her new role, one of Dr. Jaglal's research goals over the next five years will be to improve the delivery of rehabilitation services to achieve the best outcomes possible for patients with musculoskeletal and other conditions. "To achieve this goal I will conduct health services research to determine how to improve service delivery and how to maximize health outcomes and knowledge translation research to determine the most effective methods of translating research findings to decision-makers, service providers and patients," says Dr. Jaglal.

Patients with musculoskeletal conditions such as those following total joint replacement surgery and patients with hip fracture represent the majority of patients who receive inpatient rehabilitation. "One of the research challenges I face will be to develop criteria for admissions to inpatient rehabilitation programs versus other forms of care such as home-care or outpatient services for these patient populations. As the number of joint replacements increase through strategies to reduce waiting lists, another challenge will be to determine how the rehabilitation system will respond to these increasing pressures. How will the system respond?" asks Dr. Jaglal.

"With all of the attention drawn to transforming health care in Ontario with specific initiatives such as the development of family health teams and reducing waiting lists, this is a the perfect climate for health services research to inform policies that will make a difference to the lives of Canadians," she says.

Dr. Jaglal is also responsible for assessing "clinical utilization and outcomes" for Ontario hospitals with designated rehabilitation beds in one of a series of Hospital Report Cards. "Previously, we never had the opportunity to analyze data in a systematic way for rehabilitation," says Dr. Jaglal, who was a co-principal investigator in Hospital Report: Rehabilitation 2003 and is working on the 2005 report. "But now we have common data, which increases our ability to compare and find hospitals that are really good performers'so others can learn from them. And we can look at rehabilitation from a health system perspective as well."

As a Senior Scientist at Toronto Rehab, Dr. Jaglal's focus is on older people who have previously had fractures from minor falls and how fractures can be an early warning sign of osteoporosis. "That's something we want to prevent," says Dr. Jaglal. "Hip fractures are the most costly to patients, families and the health care system. A lot of people, once they break their hip, go into a downward spiral."

According to her research, Dr. Jaglal has found that family physicians seldom make the connection between osteoporosis and fractures when treating patients with recent injuries. To address this, Dr. Jaglal and her colleagues have developed a model for a more integrated system of post-fracture care. The new approach is being tested in five Ontario communities, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

Another one of her goals is to coordinate the efforts of emergency departments, fracture clinics, family physicians, rehabilitation professionals and community organizations so that they look for osteoporosis in fracture patients and take action to prevent more fractures. A central feature of her prevention strategy is a step-by-step "tool kit" to guide health care providers in managing fractures and osteoporosis.

"Health services research is a relatively new field and as such there is a paucity of health services researchers particularly in rehabilitation science," says Dr. Jaglal. "This Chair position is a tremendous opportunity for training students in this field as the next generation of researchers."

Dr. Jaglal has a BSc, a MSc, and received a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto. She is a Senior Scientist at the Institute for Clinical and Evaluative Sciences and a Senior Researcher at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre's Osteoporosis Research Program. In addition to being a Senior Scientist at Toronto Rehab, Dr. Jaglal is also the leader of the hospital's research team that investigates the optimization of the rehabilitation system. Dr. Jaglal has published and lectured widely in her areas of research; she has published approximately 50 peer-reviewed journal papers.

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. As a fully affiliated teaching and research hospital of the University of Toronto, Toronto Rehab is Canada's largest provider of adult rehabilitation services, complex continuing care, and long-term care. Toronto Rehab is advancing rehabilitation knowledge and practice through research, education and patient care. www.torontorehab.com

Media Contact

Phone: 416 340 4636
Email: UHN.News@uhn.ca

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