Media Releases

March of Dimes Canada Invests $1.5 million to Advance Research in Acquired Brain Injury at the University of Toronto

June 18, 2014

Establishes March of Dimes Canada Early Career Professorship

TORONTO, ON – Today, March of Dimes Cana­da and the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to  (U of T) signed a $1.5 mil­lion agree­ment to advance research in recov­ery from brain injuries and stroke, mak­ing the dona­tion to the Uni­ver­si­ty the largest made by the nation­al char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tion in its over 60 year his­to­ry.

Brain injuries and stroke affect 80,000 to 100,000 Cana­di­ans every year and are the lead­ing cause of dis­abil­i­ty world­wide. Sur­vivors often have dif­fi­cul­ties with dai­ly activ­i­ties and par­tic­i­pat­ing in their com­mu­ni­ties due to mobil­i­ty, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, cog­ni­tive and per­cep­tu­al impair­ments, and only about half are able to return to work. With this dona­tion, March of Dimes Cana­da is act­ing on its mis­sion to “max­i­mize the inde­pen­dence, per­son­al empow­er­ment and com­mu­ni­ty par­tic­i­pa­tion of peo­ple with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties” by estab­lish­ing the March of Dimes Cana­da Ear­ly Career Pro­fes­sor­ship in U of T’s Depart­ment of Occu­pa­tion­al Sci­ence and Occu­pa­tion­al Ther­a­py.

“This is the first major part­ner­ship we have with a uni­ver­si­ty and we are excit­ed at the prospect of work­ing with the select­ed fac­ul­ty mem­ber, with grad­u­ate stu­dents and with the wider uni­ver­si­ty net­work to ben­e­fit Cana­di­ans with dis­abil­i­ties as it relates to our mis­sion,” said Andria Spin­del, Pres­i­dent and CEO of March of Dimes Cana­da.

The March of Dimes Cana­da Ear­ly Career Pro­fes­sor­ship will pro­vide a fac­ul­ty mem­ber in the ear­ly stages of her or his research career with a well-estab­lished frame­work for inves­ti­gat­ing inter­ven­tions and path­ways to increase the inde­pen­dence and social inte­gra­tion of brain injury sur­vivors. The pro­fes­sor­ship will also pro­vide research evi­dence to enhance exist­ing March of Dimes Cana­da pro­grams, which serve more than 60,000 Cana­di­ans annu­al­ly.

“We are thrilled and proud to be the recip­i­ent of this land­mark gift by March of Dimes Cana­da,” says Dr. Susan Rap­polt, Chair of U of T’s Depart­ment of Occu­pa­tion­al Sci­ence and Occu­pa­tion­al Ther­a­py. “This pro­fes­sor­ship cre­ates tremen­dous capac­i­ty for new sci­en­tif­ic evi­dence to improve the qual­i­ty of life and pro­duc­tiv­i­ty of indi­vid­u­als with acquired brain injuries and their fam­i­lies through new oppor­tu­ni­ties for train­ing stu­dents and col­lab­o­rat­ing with our part­ners across the Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Sec­tor.”

The Uni­ver­si­ty of Toronto’s reha­bil­i­ta­tion sci­en­tists and prac­ti­tion­ers work col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly to trans­late new research evi­dence into ther­a­pies that help indi­vid­u­als with brain injuries cap­i­tal­ize on their post-injury strengths to get them out of the hos­pi­tal and back into their roles in their com­mu­ni­ties. The Depart­ment of Occu­pa­tion­al Sci­ence and Occu­pa­tion­al Ther­a­py is an inter­na­tion­al leader in research on acquired brain injuries at the indi­vid­ual, com­mu­ni­ty and soci­etal lev­els.

March of Dimes Cana­da

March of Dimes is a nation­al­ly reg­is­tered char­i­ta­ble orga­ni­za­tion pro­vid­ing sup­port ser­vices to peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, their fam­i­lies and care­givers across Cana­da. Our goal is to enhance the inde­pen­dence and com­mu­ni­ty par­tic­i­pa­tion of peo­ple with phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties every day through a wide range of pro­grams and ser­vices across Cana­da. For more infor­ma­tion, please vis­it:  or call 1–800-263‑3463.

Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Sci­ences at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to

In 1918, the Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to became home to the first ever Cana­di­an aca­d­e­m­ic pro­gram in occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­py. The Depart­ment of Occu­pa­tion­al Sci­ence and Occu­pa­tion­al Ther­a­py cur­rent­ly has more than 20 core fac­ul­ty, and over 300 clin­i­cal fac­ul­ty with sta­tus appoint­ments, all ded­i­cat­ed to the edu­ca­tion of our 160 pro­fes­sion­al stu­dents. Our vision is to devel­op inno­v­a­tive occu­pa­tion­al ther­a­pists who are essen­tial con­trib­u­tors to health while demon­strat­ing their skills in, and com­mit­ment to, research. For more infor­ma­tion, please vis­it


For more infor­ma­tion, con­tact:

Ruth Kapelus, Media and Pub­lic Rela­tions
March of Dimes Cana­da
Phone: 416–425-3463 ext. 7258
Toll Free: 1–800-263‑3463 ext. 7258

Moni­fa Miller, Advance­ment Com­mu­ni­ca­tions
Temer­ty Temer­ty Fac­ul­ty of Med­i­cine, Uni­ver­si­ty of Toron­to
Phone: 416–946-0129