Dr. Angela Colantonio is the Director of the University of Toronto’s Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, and a Professor in the department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. She is also a Senior Research Scientist at the KITE/Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network. Dr. Colantonio heads an internationally recognized research program on acquired brain injury, which focuses on women, sex and gender, return-to-work, violence, and marginalized populations (www.abiresearch.utoronto.ca). She has authored over 270 publications and has presented to over 500 research, clinical and lay audiences. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the American College of Epidemiology. She received the 2015 Robert L. Moody Prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation and a Distinguished Member and Women and Rehabilitation Science Award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Describe your role as an educator?
As Director of the University of Toronto Rehabilitation Sciences Institute, I have the privilege of training the next generation of scientists that includes sex and gender considerations in research. Our lab also extends education to researchers, service providers, users and the general public.
What distinguishes your research program? What innovative approaches have you taken?
Our research team has been on understudied brain injury populations such as injured workers, older adults, indigenous, homeless, justice involved and persons injured by assault including in the intimate partner context with a sex and gender lens. We have also used innovative knowledge transfer approaches such as research informed theatre and involve end users of the research throughout the research process (www.abiresearch.utoronto.ca).
What are some research highlights relating to sex and gender?
We reported long term outcomes specific to women such as menstrual cycle disruption, post partum difficulties and the ability to conceive after TBI. Also we have reported differential patterns of injury by sex as well as differences in comorbidities in the population.
What have you found most rewarding in your work?
It’s gratifying to have feedback by persons affected by brain injury, brain injury associations and organizations like PINK Concussions that our work matters and that it is useful. I am grateful for the support of persons affected by brain injury.
What are three key areas of research on concussions in females we need to focus on in the next few years?
We need to better understand biological vulnerabilities as well as comorbidities and the interaction with the psychosocial environment. More research is needed in understudied areas such as concussion among older adults, diverse ethnicities/races and contexts such as intimate partner violence. Further, we need to know the best way to integrate this knowledge to make a difference for persons affected.
Dr. Ron Savage has worked with children, adolescents and young adults with neuro-developmental disabilities for over 45 years. He is currently on the Board of Directors for PINK Concussions, dedicated to understanding the unique differences in concussions and brain injuries in the female brain. Previously, Dr Savage was the Founding Chair of the International Pediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS), President of the Sarah Jane Brain Foundation, Chairman of the North American Brain Injury Society (NABIS), Editor of Brain Injury Professional, and served on the Board of Governors for the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA).