Posted April 27, 2009

Government of Canada Supports Research to Create a Brighter Future for Children with Disabilities

Toronto - The Government of Canada is supporting research initiatives that will help children with disabilities and their families, the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health, announced last week.

"This research will further enable children with disabilities to lead full, meaningful lives, “said Minister Aglukkaq. “Our government is committed to helping improve the lives of children with disabilities and their families and to create a brighter future for these Canadians.”

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Government of Canada’s agency for health research, and the Bloorview Children’s Hospital Foundation have committed $3.9 million over three years, provided through Bright Futures for Kids with Disabilities, to support five outstanding teams of researchers who will carry out the following innovative research projects:

· Dr. Gillian King of the Bloorview Research Institute and her team will help create optimal environments for severely disabled children.

* Dr. Patricia Minnes of Queen's University and her team will help preschoolers with developmental disorders start school successfully.
* Dr. Adrienne Perry of York University and her team will produce a national report card on the health and well-being of children with severe developmental disabilities and their families.
* Dr. Peter Rosenbaum of McMaster University and his team will improve our understanding of the challenges facing the parents of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.
* Dr. Roberta Woodgate of University of Manitoba and her team will help us better understand the experience of First Nations families of children with disabilities.

Canada is internationally-recognized for its contributions to the field of rehabilitating children with disabilities. Canadian researchers have pioneered the development of artificial limbs, specialized braces and mobility systems. While excellent work has been accomplished, there is a need for research into restoring physical function as well as research aimed at enhancing quality of life and social inclusion.

Today’s announcement represents a major step forward for research on child disabilities. The Bright Futures initiative was made possible by the CIHR Institutes of Human Development, Child and Youth Health, Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis, and Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, and the Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation.

"Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation is delighted to invest in research that will bring scientists from many disciplines across the country together to work on solutions that remove physical and social barriers to children with disabilities, and ensure they can participate fully in life," said Dr. Ben Alman, Chair of Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation.

Dr. Michael Kramer, Scientific Director at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, said, "We are proud to be funding this research in partnership with Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation. This collaborative effort will help us to link many different research areas, enhance the depth and scope of research on children and youth with disabilities, and improve their quality of life and the social inclusion.”

Bright Futures for Kids with Disabilities is a partnership between the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Bloorview Children’s Hospital Foundation

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to enable its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to nearly 12,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

Bloorview Children's Hospital Foundation (BCHF) is committed to making a difference in the lives of children with physical disabilities and special needs. BCHF supports exemplary research programs and clinical care at Bloorview Kids Rehab, Canada's largest children's rehabilitation hospital. The foundation contributed a $1.2 million grant to support the Bright Futures for Kids with Disabilities program.

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