At the NIH Rehabilitation Research Conference, “Moving the Field Forward’ held May 25- 26, 2016 on the NIH Campus, Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) delivered the keynote address to 460 attendees, including Peter Esselman, MD, chair of the AAPM&R Quality Practice, Policy, and Research Committee (QPPR) and several AAPM&R members. Dr. Collins stressed the relevance and importance of rehabilitation to NIH and how the development of a coordinated rehabilitation research plan is long overdue.
The highlight of the 2-day conference gave participants the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed draft NIH rehabilitation research plan, which was last updated more than 20 years ago. The draft plan calls for coordination of rehabilitation research initiatives across the NIH Institutes and was in part developed from community feedback. The Academy submitted comments on the draft plan in December 2015 and also signed on to a Disability & Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC) comment letter.
At the Town Hall session at the end of the conference, the Trans-NIH Medical Rehabilitation Research Coordinating Committee, led by Alison Cernich, PhD, ABPP-CN, director of the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, described the development of the rehabilitation research plan and the subsequent revisions to the document that resulted from the community input. The coordinating committee led a brief discussion of the metrics that will be used to monitor progress and methods by which progress on the plan will be shared with the community.
The conference also included opportunities for participants to hear updates on a wide-array of topics such as: Novel Outcomes in Rehabilitation and Integration Into Clinical Care; Technology in Rehabilitation; Environmental Impacts in Rehabilitation; Effective Pathways to Evidence for Rehabilitation; Using Data to Drive Discovery, and Bending the Arc of Technology Toward Rehabilitation and Health. Conference organizers wanted to stress the need in moving rehabilitation interventions from a traditional “one-and-done” isolated model of care to one where rehabilitation interventions are integrated into the mainstream of health care for various populations.
For more detailed information on the conference and the draft rehabilitation research plan, visit the NIH website.