Virginia Wright appointed as the Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Rehabilitation

November 16, 2012 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
After an extensive recruitment process, Virginia Wright, Senior Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute, has been appointed the Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation Chair in Paediatric Rehabilitation.

The chair, previously held by Colin Macarthur, is one of four chairs that the Bloorview Research Institute holds in partnership with the University of Toronto.

Under Virginia's leadership, the chair in paediatric rehabilitation will focus on advancing the science of outcome measurement.

"There are serious limitations and gaps in the measures that clinicians, families and decision makers use to uncover the impact of rehabilitation," says Virginia. "Addressing these gaps will mean that clinicians can better define client and family goals and intervention focus, which should lead to improved quality of care and better outcomes".

Virginia is an experienced and passionate leader known internationally for outcomes work in paediatric rehabilitation and was the recipient of a Career Development Award (2007 to 2011) through the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program (a CIHR Strategic Training Initiative).

"Many consider Virginia to be the face of Canadian pediatric physical therapy research," says Dr. Katherine Berg, Chair and Associate Professor of the Department of Physical Therapy in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto.

"She's had an enormous impact on research and clinical practice in paediatric rehabilitation and this new role will allow her to further understanding of the interrelationships between motor abilities, functional gait outcomes, fitness, participation and quality of life. This understanding will lead to improved care and outcomes for young patients."

Virginia's research focus is on outcome measurement (development, validation and application) in the areas of cerebral palsy, juvenile arthritis, acquired brain injury, prosthetics, gross motor skills, quality of movement, life satisfaction and the effectiveness of interventions in paediatric rehabilitation.

Currently, her main measurement work is the launch of a multi-centre validation and expansion of the Challenge Module, a new measure of advanced motor skills that she and her University of Toronto Department of Physical Therapy students have developed at Holland Bloorview over the last three years. This research, co-lead with Dr. Barbara Gibson, is funded by a CIHR operating grant. She is also leading, with Dr. Darcy Fehlings, a randomized trial evaluating the Lokomat treadmill gait trainer in children with cerebral palsy. This trial, funded by the CIBC Children's Foundation, includes an innovative outcome measures component that she is guiding.

This new endeavour will allow Virginia to create awareness and raise the bar around outcome measurement, and take outcomes research, training and essential knowledge translation to the next level.

The chair was established in 2006 and funded by the Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation, currently operating as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation. In a joint initiative with University of Toronto, Holland Bloorview also holds the Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation Chair in Developmental Paediatrics, The Bloorview Kids Foundation Chair in Childhood Disability Studies and the Canada Research Chair in Paediatric Rehabilitation and Engineering.