Lawson scientist Dr. Robert Teasell is considered a global leader in neurorehabilitation research and has been instrumental in transforming clinical care in this area across Canada by ensuring that clinical practices are informed by the best available and up-to-date research evidence. In recognition of his accomplishments, he received the Scientist of the Year Award at the 2018 Lawson Impact Awards event this past spring.
Dr. Teasell leads the Collaboration of Rehabilitation Research Evidence (CORRE) research team at St. Joseph’s Health Care London’s Parkwood Institute. He is also the Medical Director of the Stroke Rehabilitation Unit at Parkwood Institute and has an active outpatient chronic pain practice.
He has led the development of three internationally renowned evidence-based reviews for stroke rehabilitation, brain injury and spinal cord injury, which are regarded as the three most comprehensive research syntheses in neurorehabilitation in the world. Dr. Teasell has advised and helped plan stroke care for all of Ontario’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and six provincial healthcare systems. This is in addition to the many clinical guidelines and models of care he has helped develop and update.
Dr. Teasell also bridges the gap between research and clinical practice through collaborations between his research and clinical teams. His multidisciplinary Rehabilitation Knowledge to Action Project (REKAP) team received the 2014 Sandra Letton Quality Award for their quality improvement project designed to make Parkwood Institute a leader in stroke rehabilitation by improving care through implementation of best practices.
In addition to his neurorehabilitation research, Dr. Teasell has published extensively on chronic pain with a recent focus on the role of obsessive personality traits in determining chronic pain disability and coping abilities.
Drawing on his clinical and research expertise, Dr. Teasell has supervised many students and has been committed to developing the next generation of medical researchers.
“Dr. Teasell has been successful in a number of areas. Certainly in terms of publications and mentorship of students who have gone on and had very successful careers of their own. Despite a busy clinical schedule, he always makes a point of engaging with his research team every day. His staff and students really appreciate the opportunity to work with him,” says Dr. Cheryl Forchuk, Beryl and Richard Ivey Research Chair in Aging, Mental Health, Rehabilitation and Recovery, and Assistant Director, Lawson Health Research Institute.
Dr. Teasell has authored 335 peer-reviewed articles, as well as many other collaborative group peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, published abstracts, posters, presentations and monographs. He has also been the editor for 14 special journal editions and is on the editorial boards for Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, Journal of Rehabilitation, and Pain Research and Management.
In 2016, he was invited to present the Ramon J. Hnatyshyn Lecture, the leading annual national stroke lecture at the Canadian Stroke Congress in Quebec City. In 2010, he received the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Merit award for his many contributions to the field of physiatry. He was also awarded the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada McLaughlin-Gallie Visiting Professor in 2012. This year he will be awarded the Post-Acute Stroke Award of Excellence from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and the National Stroke Association in the United States.
“I’ve received a lot of national and international awards but there’s nothing better than being recognized by your peers and particularly your peers in the city where you work. It’s been a nice acknowledgement of not just my work, but also the work by the whole research team and all the people who have supported me over the years,” says Dr. Teasell.