Dr. Emily Nalder Appointed Inaugural March of Dimes Paul J.J. Martin Early Career Professor

Dec 12, 2014

March of Dimes Canada Invests $1.5 million to advance research in community rehabilitation for acquired brain injury at the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto

In June, March of Dimes Canada and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto signed a $1.5 million agreement to advance research in recovery from brain injuries and stroke, the first such donation to the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the largest ever by March of Dimes Canada to a research organization. Both March of Dimes and the University of Toronto are thrilled to announce that Prof. Emily Nalder has been appointed as the March of Dimes Paul J.J. Martin Early Career Professor.

 Nalder’s research program examines the complex factors related to people, environments, health services, and technology that influence the community integration of adults with acquired brain injury.

Dr. Nalder received her Bachelor of occupational therapy with first class honours, and her PhD in rehabilitation therapies from The University of Queensland in Australia. Her doctoral dissertation examined transitions from hospital to home for individuals with traumatic brain injury and their family caregivers. Her postdoctoral work has focused on identifying critical components of community-based rehabilitation programs that enable the participation of adults with acquired brain injury, including examining the effectiveness of tele-rehabilitation programs. She has also practised clinically with adults with acquired brain injury across the spectrum of care including acute care, inpatient and community-based rehabilitation.

Brain injuries and stroke affect 80,000 to 100,000 Canadians every year and are the leading cause of disability worldwide.

March of Dimes’ funding both maintains and expands the organization’s historic presence in research, and will offer evidence-based knowledge to better develop best practices in service areas and program priorities. In addition, March of Dimes offers a learning lab for students and faculty with the potential for further collaborations in Dr. Nalder’s field of expertise, and potentially for cross-disciplinary studies as well.

“The funding of an emerging scholar is historic for March of Dimes, and demonstrates our continuing commitment to research that can improve the lives of people affected by a disability, as well as providing a leadership opportunity to an emerging scholar in this field. We are looking forward to many levels of collaboration with our partner, the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto,” says Andria Spindel, President and CEO of March of Dimes Canada.

The March of Dimes Paul J.J. Martin Early Career Professorship establishes March of Dimes Canada as a leader in community rehabilitation and reintegration research. The name pays homage to the late Right Honourable Paul Martin Sr., who as the Canadian Minister of National Health and Welfare in the 1950s, took the courageous step of delivering the country's universal vaccination program despite an atmosphere of great uncertainty. The vaccine eventually ended the threat of polio in Canada.

The family of the Right Honourable Paul Martin Sr. were extremely pleased to be advised of the named Professorship and committed $100,000 of the current March of Dimes’ contribution.

Dr. Susan Rappolt, Chair of U of T’s Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy expressed deep appreciation for this gift.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr. Emily Nalder to the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto as the March of Dimes Paul J.J. Martin Early Career Professor. March of Dimes Canada has created an exciting opportunity to support an emerging researcher in community integration for individuals with acquired brain injuries,” says Dr. Susan Rappolt, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department. “The generosity of March of Dimes Canada will benefit our Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy community, rehabilitation science across programs, and ultimately, Canadians with acquired brain injuries.”

Dr. Nalder will be collaborating with members of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, and with March of Dimes Canada to promote the community integration of individuals with acquired brain injury.

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 Canada 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 every day community participation of people with physical disabilities through a wide range of programs and services across Canada.  For more information, please visit: www.marchofdimes.ca  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 http://www.ot.utoronto.ca/index.asp.

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
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
Phone: 416-946-0129


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