Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture

Join us for the 2016 Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture

Friday, October 14, 2016

Design Exchange, 2nd Floor
234 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario

Doors open 11:00 a.m.
Presentations 11:30 a.m.
Closing remarks 12:30 p.m.
Lunch 12:45 p.m.

Wheelchair/accessibility entrance: Just west of the Bay/Wellington intersection on the north side of Wellington. A ramp with handrails goes up to doors on the right marked “Ernst & Young Tower” (one of the TD Centre group of towers). Once in the E&Y Tower lobby, a hallway immediately on the left leads to doors on the right entering the Design Exchange lobby. 


A celebration of Wolfgang Zimmermann and the work of NIDMAR

With presentations by Joachim Breuer, Andrew King, The Honourable Wayne G. Wouters and Wolfgang Zimmerman

Over 20 years ago, the National Institute of Disability Management and Research (NIDMAR) opened in doors, with the important aim of reducing the human, social and economic costs of disability to workers, employers and society by providing education, research, policy development and implementation resources to promote workplace-based reintegration programs.

The driving force behind NIDMAR is Wolfgang Zimmermann, who spearheaded its creation and has been its executive director ever since its launch in 1994. Zimmermann’s dedication to NIDMAR’s aims stems from a life-changing event as a young adult.

At the age of 20, Zimmermann was injured during his first week on the job as a tree-faller in a British Columbia forest. A tree fell on him and broke his back. His employer and union at the time supported his return to work, and he became the first injured worker in the 500-person camp to do so. Nonetheless, a few years later, all injured workers at the company were let go.

Knowing first-hand the emotional, social and financial impact of both job attachment and job loss on a person with a disability, Zimmermann became a tireless advocate for labour-management workplace reintegration programs.

That energy resulted in the foundation of NIDMAR, which went on to create Canadian and international codes of practice for disability management, a consensus-based disability management audit tool, certification standards for return-to-work coordinators and disability management professionals (leading to CRTWC and CDMP designations), and the Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences (PCU-WHS), which welcomed its first students in September 2014.

The Institute for Work & Health’s 2016 Nachemson lecture celebrates the important work of Wolfgang Zimmermann and the organization he leads. Three people who have worked closely with Zimmermann will talk about his important contribution both in Canada and beyond to improving the circumstances of people with disabilities in the working world.

Andrew King, formerly the National Leader for Health, Safety and Environment at the United Steelworkers Union in Canada who recently completed his master’s of law degree at the University of Ottawa, will talk about the role of Zimmermann and NIDMAR in the development of an International Labour Organization (ILO) code of practice for disability management.

Joachim Breuer, Director General of German Social Accident Insurance (DGUV) and Vice-President of Europe Rehabilitation International, will talk about the implementation of NIDMAR standards in German workplaces.

The Honourable Wayne G. Wouters, PC, Chancellor of PCU-WHS and former Clerk of the Privy Council and Secretary to the Cabinet in Ottawa, will talk about the use and impact of Zimmermann’s work through NIDMAR on the federal public service.

The annual Nachemson lecture is one of the most important networking events of the year in Ontario for policy-makers, researchers, professionals, advocates and other stakeholders in the field of work injury and disability prevention. This year’s lecture is a little different than most. It not only includes a number of speakers, but also takes place on a Friday over the lunch hour.

Save your spot by completing the online Nachemson Lecture Sign-up Form. (Although the lecture and lunch are free, please note that IWH is unable to cover costs incurred to attend the event.)

About the Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture

Dr. Alf Nachemson was a distinguished orthopaedic surgeon and researcher from Sweden, a founding member of the Institute for Work & Health’s Scientific Advisory Committee and co-editor of the Institute-based Cochrane Collaboration Back Review Group from 1995 to 2002.

The annual Alf Nachemson Lecture was established by the Institute in 2002 to honour Dr. Nachemson’s significant contribution to the use of research evidence in clinical decision-making. Dr. Nachemson passed away in 2006, and the lecture was renamed the Alf Nachemson Memorial Lecture.

The lectureship is awarded to a prominent national or international individual who has made a significant and unique contribution to:

  • causes or management of work-related musculoskeletal pain
  • evidence-based practice in the prevention of work-related injury, illness or disability
  • emerging challenges in the interface between work and health
  • the role of evidence in policy-making.

Past Nachemson presentations

2015: Judy Geary was a member of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) executive team that led significant reforms to strengthen case management and vocational rehabilitation services for workers disabled by a work-related injury or illness. In her lecture, Using research evidence to help prevent work disability in Ontario, Geary outlined the lessons learned in integrating research evidence in the reform of valued public services.Listen to the slidecast of the full lecture (slides with audio).

2014: Dr. Paul Schulte, long-time director of the Education and Information Division at the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), shared his perspective on moving research into practice. In his lecture titled, Assessing the impact of NIOSH resarch on worker health protection (2.6 MB, PDF), Schulte offered lessons learned about how best to ensure that research does, indeed, have an effect on worker health protection. Watch the slidecast of the full lecture (slides with audio).

2013: Dr. Mieke Koehoorn shared examples of the contribution of research to informing regulatory and compensation policy in worker health protection in British Columbia through the Partnership for Work, Health and Safety in her presentation titled Research informing policy: How to make an impact (845 KB, PDF). Listen to/view the slidecast of the full lecture (slides with audio). Watch videos of Dr. Koehoorn summarizing the main points of her lecture: On a unique research-policy partnershipOn the impact of research on policy and On the challenges of a research-policy relationship.

2012: Dr. Michael Silverstein offered his views on how we might modernize our regulatory standards and practices to keep pace with the changing world of work in his presentation titled Thirty years after OHSA: Keeping pace with the changing world of work (1.8 MB, PDF). Listen to/view the slidecast (slides with audio).

2011: Dr. Robert T. Reville talked about Research informing public policy: Workers' compensation in California (353 KB, PDF). Listen to/view the slidecast (slides with audio).

2010: Dr. Terrence Sullivan talked about Improving quality and performance in health services: Reflections from Cancer Care Ontario (2.4 MB). Watch an interview with Dr. Sullivan prior to the 2010 lecture.

2009: Dr. Joan Eakin talked about No small matter: Unpacking the problem of health and safety in small workplaces (35 KB).>

2008: Dr. Thomas Wickizer talked about Quality improvement in health-care services for injured workers (257 KB).

2007: David Stuewe discussed Safety climate: the role of leadership in enhancing workplace safety (312 KB).

2006: Dr. Barbara Silverstein spoke on Preventing the burden of workplace musculoskeletal disorders: What do we know about what works? (470 KB).

2005: Dr. Glenn Pransky delivered his remarks on Reducing disability and improving return to work: Where do we go from here? (275 KB).>

2004: Dr. Graham Lowe discussed Healthy work environments: Canada's next big idea. (537 KB).

2003: Dr. Jeremy Grimshaw, in the inaugural Nachemson lecture, delivered his talk on Future prospects for evidence-based practice: Getting closer to the destination. (194 KB)