Dr. Dorcas Beaton is a senior scientist at the Institute for Work & Health, where she is a member of the measurement research group and the lead researcher for a health measurement scale called the DASH (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand) Outcome Measure. She is also an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto, and holds graduate appointments in Rehabilitation Sciences and in the Clinical Epidemiology Program of Health Policy Management and Evaluation.
Beaton is currently on the executive of OMERACT, an international organization promoting evidence-based outcome selection for core outcomes sets in clinical trials in rheumatology. She recently retired from her position as an associate scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital in the hospital's Musculoskeletal Health and Outcomes Research Unit.
With a background in occupational therapy, Beaton worked as a clinician for several years in orthopedics and upper extremity rehabilitation before transitioning to research. She holds an MSc in clinical epidemiology and a PhD in health measurement, specifically on the interpretation of change scores from outcome measure.
Beaton's research interests focus on measurement (i.e. measuring disability, work disability and recovery, as well as interpreting scores), translation of measurement into clinical practice, and the treatment and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders. She conducts quantitative and qualitative research, and supervises graduate students interested in musculoskeletal conditions and measurement-related sciences.
“Why do I focus on health measurement? I’m intrigued by how people know they’re getting better. People gauge their recovery from a musculoskeletal condition in many different ways. Some adapt to a disability; some redefine what good health means. Others experience improvements to pain and functional limitations, and a large focus of my work has been to develop and improve pain measures to capture these improvements.” – Dr. Dorcas Beaton