Following a number of meetings and the drafting of a White Paper setting out the aims and objectives of the new alliance, the formal launch of the GRA took place at the International Committee of the Red Cross Headquarters in Geneva during the week of the World Health Assembly.
At its inaugural meeting, Professor Côté was elected to the Board. As well as holding the federally-funded Canada Research Chair in Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation, Professor Côté holds positions at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), where he heads the UOIT-CMCC Centre for Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation.
The aims of the GRA are to advocate for rehabilitation services around the world and to strengthen the role of rehabilitation in health and social systems around the world. The GRA will aim to further the efforts of existing rehabilitation organizations by building and strengthening networks and partnerships. It will work with WHO as a strategic partner to advocate for quality, co-ordinated and accessible rehabilitation services.
According to WHO, only 10 people per million population in the world currently has access to skilled rehabilitation services. It is also known that 74 per cent of the total years lived with disability in the world are living with conditions for which rehabilitation is beneficial. With a 23 per cent increase in prevalence of health conditions with severe disability, there is a large unmet need in low- and middle-income countries, and the need for a dedicated focus on rehabilitation workers is critical.
Speaking on his appointment to the GRA, Professor Côté commented: "The founding of this important alliance comes at an important time. I am honoured and privileged to have been elected by the founder members of the GRA to sit on its Board and look forward to contributing to coordination of advocacy work in this area of global health. As an epidemiologist, I am all too aware of the catastrophic global impact of disability and the GRA's advocacy efforts will make a key contribution towards supporting WHO's commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals "
WFC Secretary-General Dr Richard Brown said: "As primary contact health professionals, chiropractors can take a leading role in rehabilitation and disability prevention. With low back pain the leading global cause of years lived with disability, chiropractors have an opportunity to actively engage in rehabilitation. In addition, collaborating with other organizations and forming strategic partnerships will greatly increase the role our Constituent Member nationals associations can play."
Inaugural Board of the Global Rehabilitation Alliance
- President: Thierry Regenass
- Vice President: Emma Stokes
- Vice President: Christoph Gutenbrunner
- Treasurer: Karsten Dreinhofer
- Secretary: Jan Monsbakken
- Members at Large: Stephanie Clarke, Pierre Côté, Isabelle Urseau
Founding Members of the Global Rehabilitation Alliance
- American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
- Dementia Alliance International
- Global Alliance for Musculoskeletal Health (GMusc)
- Humanity & Inclusion (HI)
- International Council of Nurses (ICN)
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- ICRC MoveAbility Foundation
- International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO)
- International Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (ISPRM)
- International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS)
- World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT)
- World Federation for NeuroRehabilitation (WFNR)
- World Federation for Occupational Therapy (WFOT)
- World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC)