Progress in Rehabilitation Research

The 2012 American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) annual congress “Progress in Rehabilitation Research” was held in the tranquil city of Vancouver. It was considered the most successful event in ACRM’s 89 year history. There were about 700 attendees from more than 27 countries.

The programme was packed with diverse topics catering for most senior staff to trainees and academicians to clinicians. The global leaders in their field presented their results from cutting edge research programmes in; brain injury, spinal cord injuries, neuromodulation, disorders of consciousness, outcome measures, pain management, spasticity management and socio-political aspects of rehabilitation programmes in the changing landscape of health care policies in the world.There were pre-conference courses for in-depth teaching on “Evidence, Theory and Experience: implementing Evidence into Rehabilitation Practice”.

Dr G R Ulicny moderated a session where it was debated how long the rehabilitation programme should be.Should it be limited to 2 years? The initial short perspectives were presented by stakeholders including patient associations, insurance agencies, federal government,a medical director and a Canadian researcher representing the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR).

The main theme seemed to be the strategic decision of ACRM to have an outward looking approach. There was a discount for interna- tional attendees which may account for 260 delegates from outside the USA. Various networking groups were formed, for example the “Outcome Measurement Networking Group”,which invited participants to propose a topic for the next conference.

Perhaps the most significant development was the formation of the “International Networking Group” (ING) which was attended by the most senior ACRM Committee members. ACRM pledged their interest in promoting cross-border collaboration in rehabilitation research, developing shared ideals and promoting other international rehabilitation conferences on their website. The latter was approved during the meeting and a little known event organised by International Rehabilitation Forum (IRF) was on the ACRM website within days! That IRF programme was at Dhaka in December 2012 on the theme of “developing Rehab services in low resource countries”.The ACRM has now pledged to dedicate 1 symposium to the International Networking Group in the 2013 Conference. This will explore how cross border collaborative research could be facilitated and how best to tap into the EU research fund which is under spent and insists upon multinational diverse partnership.

ACRM encourages membership.Membership benefits include free hard copies of the Journal “Archives of PMR”and a reduced rate for conference registration fees and often free registration at the mid-year conference.For more details see http://www.acrm.org/.The 2013 conference will be on 12-16th November at Orlando, Florida near Disneyworld.