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 has recently retired from a long tenure as a scientist and director of musculoskeletal health and outcomes research at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital. She has held an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto along with graduate appointments in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute and the Clinical Epidemiology Program of Health Policy Management and Evaluation, both at the University of Toronto.
Beaton is currently on the executive of OMERACT (Outcome Measurement in Rheumatology Research), an international organization promoting evidence-based outcome selection for core outcome sets in clinical trials in musculoskeletal disorders. She is chair of the methodology group and co-chair of the technical advisory group at OMERACT.
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 measures.
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