Epidemiology of Acquired Brain Injury (ABI)
The Ontario ABI Dataset project led by Dr. Colantonio tracks traumatic and non-traumatic brain injuries in Ontario across the continuum of care, enabling the provision of timely data to stakeholders about survivors of ABI for health service planning and resource allocation, policy-making, evaluation, advocacy, and prevention; it is also a valuable data source for further research on ABI, and allows for examining limitations of existing data sources.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Among Vulnerable Populations
Through Dr. Colantonio's epidemiological research, her collaborative team discovered that a significant number of homeless and incarcerated individuals have sustained a TBI, and that facilities servicing these populations are not trained, nor have the resources, to address brain injury in these settings. Likewise, the incidence and prevalence of TBI among older adults, children and adolescents, and members of Aboriginal communities is significantly greater than in the general population. In addition to identifying TBI among vulnerable populations, Dr. Colantonio and her colleagues explore factors that affect incidence & prevalence, provision of and access to services, community reintegration after injury, and prevention of injury and re-injury. They are also working on developing screening tools for TBI.
Dr. Colantonio's research has identified risk factors relevant to specific industry sectors, the presence of a distinct distribution by sex across industry sector and mechanism of injury, and that considerably more women sustain an occupational TBI than is generally represented in the literature. Dr. Colantonio is currently co-leading a mixed-methods study on successful return to work following injuries resulting in cognitive impairment that applies a sex- and gender-based methodology and analysis.
Girls and Women with ABI
Dr. Colantonio has been examining women's health outcomes following TBI for several years, including long term outcomes after TBI among women, primarily focusing on reproductive health. More recently, she developed a qualitative study examining social and environmental factors affecting the health and well-being of women survivors of TBI. She is instrumental in developing, and currently chairs, an international, cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary task force addressing issues related to girls and women with an ABI, asserting a stronger presence for research on girls and women with ABI at many major conferences and in the literature. In addition to reproductive health, Dr. Colantonio is interested in screening for TBI in women's shelters and prisons, identifying barriers to accessing and using services, and informing development of resources that meet the needs of girls and women with ABI.
Research-informed Theatre as a Knowledge Translation (KT) tool
Dr. Colantonio co-developed with colleagues [including UHN Scientist Pia Kontos] a successful research-informed production, After the Crash: A Play about Brain Injury. The play has been performed for numerous clinical, lay, research, and knowledge user audiences, and has received a merit award for its contribution to sharing knowledge about brain injury. Dr. Colantonio has plans to extend the reach of this tool by addressing situations relevant to different populations with ABI.
For more information about Dr. Colantonio's research and ongoing studies, please see visit her website at www.abiresearch.utoronto.ca