Festival brings together the world's experts on caregiving, disability, aging, and technology

    Five distinctive international conferences generate solutions to the
    challenges facing the world's aging populations

    TORONTO, June 11 /CNW/ - The world's leading experts on topics relating
to aging, disability, informal caregiving and new technologies are gathering
in Toronto for a one-of-a-kind festival. From June 16-19, 2007, The Festival
of International Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology
(FICCDAT) will bring together for the first time five distinctive conferences
to facilitate a global dialogue among leading experts on the universal issues
of aging, disability, caregiving and the role of technology in helping the
world's aging populations live longer and better.
    FICCDAT delegates will have an unprecedented opportunity to share and
explore the most current scientific, technological and social developments
with other professionals from different backgrounds but who are working
towards the similar goal of improving the lives of seniors, persons with
disabilities and their caregivers.
    "Never before has there been a professional event of this scale where
international conferences unite with the common themes related to disability
and aging but approached from very different perspectives," says Dr. Geoff
Fernie, Vice President, Research, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto
    "In a society where researchers compete for funding, health providers
strive for greater recognition and special interest groups search for new
donors, there has been growing division amongst professions and groups
representing similar causes. This fragmentation has created silos of
information and a lack of communication between professions, policy, services,
research and practice," adds Dr. Fernie.
    "The truth is that various professions each have unique challenges and
unique approaches to similar issues. The key is to break down their individual
silos and share our expertise and experiences in an international dialogue,"
explains Andria Spindel, President of March of Dimes Canada and Co-Chair of
    She continues, "The silos that exist do so at many levels and FICCDAT is
attempting to address them all. Joint sessions between conferences, shared
poster presentations, social events and working groups are some of the planned
vehicles for breaking down the silos. FICCDAT is sending a message about
shared solutions."
    Some examples of how FICCDAT is fostering the sharing of knowledge are
seen in the collaborations of its five conferences. The Growing Older with a
Disability Conference, which will address gerontological issues facing
populations with physical and mental disabilities, and the 2nd International
Conference on Technology and Aging (ICTA2), which aims to drive a global
vision of how technologies can improve the quality of life for seniors, will
share between them keynote speaker Dr. Eric Dishman, founder and General
Manager of Intel's Health Research & Innovation Group, who is responsible for
driving global R&D for new healthcare and wellness-related technologies across
the continuum of care from hospital to home. Also, registrants of one
conference will be granted access to a session each day for any other of the
five conferences. This is meant to promote the festival themes and the
opportunity to share knowledge and experiences across atypical professional
    "Grouping five international conferences under the umbrella of a larger
festival will provide each field with crucial resources that will help to
ensure an outstanding conference," says Dr. Fernie.
    He continues, "Furthermore, it will provide the opportunity for delegates
to collaborate and learn with other experts in other fields. There are
significant overlaps which will be important to explore and solidify further."
    Even though FICCDAT is predominately a professional educational event,
the topics being discussed touch the lives of everyone. Festival hosts March
of Dimes Canada and the Toronto Rehab, two organizations dedicated to
improving the lives of individuals recovering from, and living with, disabling
injury and illness and age-related conditions, have opened up the festival to
consumers. The public is invited to attend the FICCDAT trade exhibition, which
features special presentations, new technologies to help people age in their
homes, unique services available to caregivers, and a sneak peak at future
state-of-the-art laboratories where future innovations will be created.
    Visit www.ficcdat.com to learn more about FICCDAT and the five
international conferences

    MARCH OF DIMES CANADA is a nationally registered charitable organization
providing support services to over 50,000 people with disabilities, their
families and caregivers across Canada. For more information please visit the
website www.marchofdimes.ca or call 1-800-263-3463.

    The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute (Toronto Rehab) is at the forefront
of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today -
rehabilitation science. Toronto Rehab is one of Canada's leading academic
rehabilitation science centres providing adult rehabilitation services,
complex continuing care, and long-term care. More information is available at:

For further information:

For further information: or to book an interview with a keynote speaker,
please contact: Jamie Read, Toronto Rehab, (416) 597-3422, ext. 3866,
read.jamie@torontorehab.on.ca; Ruth Kapelus, March of Dimes Canada, (416)
425-3463, ext. 7254, RKapelus@dimes.on.ca; Carolyn Lovas, Toronto Rehab, (416)
597-3422, ext. 3837, lovas.carolyn@torontorehab.on.ca

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