Ethical perspectives on knowledge translation in rehabilitation

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Jan;94(1 Suppl):S55-60. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.08.218. Epub 2012 Nov 17.


Although the literature on the ethical dimensions of knowledge creation, use, and dissemination is voluminous, it has not particularly examined the ethical dimensions of knowledge translation in rehabilitation. Yet, whether research is done in a wet lab or treatments are provided to patients in therapeutic settings, rehabilitation professionals commonly use (as well as create) knowledge and disseminate it to peers, patients, and various others. This article will refer to knowledge creation, use, and transfer as knowledge translation and examine some of its numerous ethical challenges. Three ethical dimensions of knowledge translation will particularly attract our attention: (1) the quality of knowledge disseminated to rehabilitationists; (2) ethical challenges in being too easily persuaded by or unreasonably resistant to putative knowledge; and (3) organizational barriers to knowledge translation. We will conclude with some recommendations on facilitating the ethical soundness of knowledge translation in rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Conflict of Interest
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / ethics*
  • Physical Therapy Specialty / organization & administration*
  • Rehabilitation
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / ethics*