Letter from the Editors

Dear Readers,

It is our pleasure and privilege to introduce Issue 5 of rehabINK, the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute’s student-led digital publication. The articles presented in this Spring edition represent a wide range of perspectives on rehabilitation science from across Canada, including clinical, neurorehabilitation, design and technology, and youth.

As Managing Editor, I invite you to indulge in this issue’s uniquely approachable perspectives, from a behind-the-scenes look at clinical decision-making in occupational therapy to a narrative on the challenges and rewards of one professor’s career in the rehabilitation sciences.

Dissemination vs. communication

Science communication – especially targeting a broad, lay audience – is by no means a new concept in any field of research; nevertheless, a lack of focus on this practice continues to present an enormous barrier to sharing information in an effective and engaging manner. As academics, we are indoctrinated into sharing our findings in a certain way: we present at conferences (primarily attended by other academics), and write densely-worded manuscripts that often are guarded from the public eye by walls of jargon and subscription fees.

But these conventional practices are simply not enough:

 “Science isn’t finished until it’s communicated. The communication to wider audiences is part of the job of being a scientist…”
– Sir Mark Walport

New avenues for science communication are being paved every day, from science-themed pub nights (e.g., Pint of Science) to social media (#scicomm). Due to the clinically-driven nature of rehabilitation science, researchers in this field are uniquely positioned to share and engage with a wider community of stakeholders. At rehabINK, we endeavour to facilitate a platform through which these essential connections can be made.

Highlights from Issue 5

In Transitions for adolescents with chronic health conditions: Facing challenges and building skills, that authors offers practical and straightforward recommendations for adolescents with chronic health conditions during times of transition. Our feature faculty piece by Dr. Rena Helms-Park – Junctions, transitions, and the road ahead: From linguistics to rehabilitation sciences – presents a delightful narrative account of her life and career experiences since moving to Canada. Moreover, Optimistic endgames: Chess and neurorehabilitationintertwines current research with personal perspectives in an engaging and informative commentary.

In some areas of rehabilitation science, the future is now! Shifting the rehabilitation models in changing times: Telerehabilitation and social media explores the roles of technology and social media for physical rehabilitation in an increasingly digital world. In LIVELab: Returning the sound of music to those affected by hearing disorders, we are transported to McMaster University where we tune in to what is up-and-coming in auditory rehabilitation research.

We are also delighted to feature two original research pieces in Issue 5. A spoon is a spoon until you have head and neck cancer: A design case studyhighlights a collaborative product design endeavour for individuals with head and neck cancer. Likewise, in Orthoses and spasticity: Exploring post-stroke clinical decision-making, we are treated to an insider perspective into how some occupational therapists approach decision-making for managing post-stroke spasticity.

Call to action

At rehabINK, we continue to evolve and embrace our position as an accessible medium for authors and readers alike to exchange knowledge in an approachable and meaningful way. In this issue, we call upon you – our readership – to be more than just an audience. We hope that you will indeed read, but also comment, inquire, engage, and share in the dialogue we strive to create.

Mikaela Stiver, Issue 5 Managing Editor

“Rehabilitating rehabilitation” through communication

A number of the articles in Issue 5 of rehabINK explore innovations in both rehabilitation research and treatment interventions. Some also touch upon the ways in which the rehabilitation sciences community must consider how to “rehabilitate rehabilitation,” as described by Anthony Duttine, advisor on disability and rehabilitation to the Pan American Health Organization. Duttine spoke to members of the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at our annual research day. He discussed ways to push forward the field and to ensure that effective services are provided equitably across the globe.

Communicating rehabilitation knowledge is an integral way for decision makers and the public alike to understand the importance of rehabilitation to health and well-being, reported Duttine. “Knowing the audience” by making the messages about rehabilitation sciences relevant, be that with legal, ethical, economic or scientific rationales, may contribute as much, if not more, than traditional methods of knowledge translation.

It is our hope that rehabINK provides a creative, multimedia platform to consider some of the innovations from within the rehabilitation sciences. As the Managing Editor for this issue, Mikaela Stiver’s “Letter from the Editor” describes how rehabINK also gives contributors the opportunity to frame their work in a way that is more accessible to audiences external to the research community.

Moving beyond the academic and methodological boundaries of scientific publishing, our digital publication may be one pathway in the pursuit to “rehabilitate rehabilitation.” I argue that through creativity and ingenuity, both in the research we undertake and the way in which we present these findings, will better prepare us to put our sights on the World Health Organization’s Rehabilitation 2030: Call to Action. Through rehabINK, we aim to provide the next generation of rehabilitation scientists and clinicians with a medium to share their work and to practice communicating with audiences within and beyond rehabilitation sciences.

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Members of the rehabINK editorial team at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute’s Student Research Day on May 10, 2018.

In an effort to embark upon an innovative path, our in-house Summer edition (Issue 6) will explore the connections between rehabilitation, creativity, and the arts. We hope that you enjoy the current issue, and we urge you stop by again in September to experience rehabINK’s unique take on the intersection between science and creativity.

Denise DuBois, Editor-in-Chief