Dr. Dorcas Beaton

Senior Scientist
PhD, Health Measurement, University of Toronto
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416-927-2027 ext. 2116

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.

Photo of Dorcas Beaton

“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


Accommodating and communicating about episodic disabilities (ACED): A partnership to deliver workplace resources to sustain employment of people with chronic, episodic conditions. Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada Signature Initiative. Ongoing.
Role of aging in return to work and stay at work: a systematic review. Funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Ongoing.
Providing research evidence for WHO guideline on rehabilitation services. Funded by World Health Organization. Completed.
Role of health-care providers in the workers’ compensation system and return-to-work process. Funded by Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba. Completed.


Kosny A, Lifshen M, MacEachen E, Furlan AD, Koehoorn M, Beaton DE, Cooper J, Neis B. What are physicians told about their role in return to work and workers' compensation systems? An analysis of Canadian resources. Policy and Practice in Health and Safety. 2018 [Epub ahead of print]. doi:10.1080/14773996.2018.1465264.
Davis AM, Ibrahim S, Hogg-Johnson S, Beaton DE, Chesworth BM, Gandhi R, Mahomed NN, Perruccio AV, Rajgopal V, Wong R, Waddell JP. Presurgery osteoarthritis severity over 10 years in 2 Ontario prospective total knee replacement cohorts: a cohort study. CMAJ Open. 2018;6(3):E269-E275. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20170164.
Kosny A, Lifshen ME, Yanar B, Tonima S, MacEachen E, Furlan AD, Koehoorn M, Beaton DE, Cooper J, Neis B. The role of healthcare providers in return to work. International Journal of Disability Management. 2018;13:e3. doi:10.1017/idm.2018.4.


DASHBash: Celebrating 20 years of the DASH Outcome Measure. IWH Speaker Series. February 23, 2016.

Interviews and articles

IWH Updates. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 85, Summer 2016.
DASH developers credit groundwork and ongoing support for measure’s 20-year success. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 84, Spring 2016.
No small measure. OOHNA Journal: Ontario Occupational Health Nurses Association (Toronto, ON). March 1, 2016. Available from: http://www.oohna.on.ca/assets/c2eed-2016-mar-april-newsletter.pdf
IWH Updates. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 79, Winter 2015.
Newly adopted productivity measures help people with arthritis stay at work. At Work: Institute for Work & Health; No. 77, Summer 2014.