AOTA member Susan Magasi, PhD, University of Illinois – Chicago, met with National Institutes of Health (NIH) directors and researchers on November 2 along with a team of researchers with the Disability & Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC) to promote an enhanced research focus on the importance of strong rehabilitation research at NIH.  Magasi emphasized the importance of research on practical therapy topics and quality of life measurements in meetings with directors and researchers with the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).  She noted that NIH representatives “recognized the importance of translating innovation from research to practice, and that research is critical to addressing the many physical and practical challenges people face as they grow older and experience multiple co-morbidities.”  She added that “we need to push the envelope on how OT and rehabilitation researchers can contribute to rigorous NIH funded research on outcomes important to clients including participation and independent living.”

The November meetings represented a continuation of efforts launched in May 2017 when Elizabeth Skidmore, PhD, University of Pittsburgh, joined DRRC members to promote rehabilitation research at the NIH Directors Office and with the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).  AOTA was a part of the DRRC’s efforts to lobby for increased attention to rehabilitation research efforts at NIH, which was ultimately part of the 21st Century Cures Act of 2016.  NIH’s 2017 budget was $33.1 billion with the NIA budget set at $1.2 billion and NCMRR at $1.6 billion.