B.Sc. [OT] (University of British Columbia), M.Sc. [OT] (University of Western Ontario), Ph.D. [Epidemiology & Biostatistics] (University of Western Ontario), Post-Doctoral Fellowship (University of British Columbia)
Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Associate Dean, Health Profession, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
Research InterestsAging; Clinical trials; Disability; Fatigue; Measurement; Mobility; Occupational therapy; Participation; Self-efficacy; Technology; Wheelchair
Dr. Miller works on wheelchair mobility issues, wheeled mobility devices, determinants of wheelchair use, developing and evaluating measurement tools, balance and ambulation confidence, and the assessment of technology used to assist with mobility. He also researches the social impacts of wheelchair use. The goal of improving mobility for wheelchair users is to help them integrate back into society more easily and effectively. Dr. Miller’s childhood was spent with a father who was in a wheelchair following military service, and thus, for Dr. Miller wheelchairs were a part of regular life. It wasn’t until he headed out on his own that he realized that life was different for many, and he decided then to help improve life for all wheelchair users.Em
Dr. Miller is a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. He also holds a joint appointment with the UBC School of Rehabilitation Sciences and is a Principal Investigator at ICORD. He pursued his B.Sc. in occupational therapy at the University of British Columbia, followed by an M.Sc. and a Ph.D. at the University of Western Ontario and a Post-Doctoral Fellowship back at the University of British Columbia.
For Dr. Miller, the interdisciplinary nature of ICORD is its main strength. It grants researchers the ability to see something from an entirely different perspective, using different lenses to view the world and the research related to SCI.
Currently recruiting for:
This UBC Master of Occupational Therapy capstone project aims to understand how the use of an activity chair affects daily living among adults with chronic conditions resulting in pain, fatigue, or low standing endurance. Participants will first decide on an Read More...
Researchers at UBC have partnered with RAD Society with the aim of designing outdoor programs to encourage outdoor recreational activity for individuals with mobility impairments. The purpose of this study is to understand the needs, interests, and challenges of individuals Read More...
As part of our multi-phase eHealth module development study, we have completed our first stage of co-creating the contents of the module from family caregivers and healthcare professionals through numerous interviews. We have identified 9 main topics that may be Read More...
The purpose of this study is to explore the role of empathy in the daily lives of individuals who have an acquired spinal cord injury (SCI) and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Individuals will participate in a phone or Zoom interview Read More...
The Canwheel team encompasses six institutions from across Canada with fourteen investigators (including ICORD researcher Dr. Bonnie Sawatzky) from a wide variety of fields, including Psychiatry, Occupational Therapy, Engineering, Gerontology, and Sociology. There are five main projects designed to provide a comprehensive, systematic, and unified approach to enhancing the mobility of older adult wheelchair users.
Dr. Miller is a member of F2N2, otherwise known as Fatigue and Function of Neuromuscular and Neurological conditions. This team of local investigators, which includes ICORD clinical scientists Drs. Hugh Anton, Sue Forwell, and Andrea Townson, is attempting to address the debilitating effects of fatigue by developing improved measures and strategies to cope with this secondary health condition.
Dr. Miller is co-investigating a number assistive technology development projects with ICORD scholar Dr. Jaimie Borisoff. Together they are examining clinical and consumer views of a novel accessibility design (e.g. outside stair lift) as well as the utility of the elevation wheelchair.
Dr. Miller’s work has developed to remedy what he sees as a real gap in rehabilitation: the role of self-efficacy in mobility issues arising during rehabilitation. Many rehabilitation professionals focus on skills but not on confidence. Dr. Miller’s work suggests that confidence is perhaps even more important, as it provides greater motivation than the development of specific skills. Dr. Miller was among the first to publish in this area for key rehabilitation populations (e.g. lower limb amputation, stroke and spinal cord injury) in areas related to falling, ambulation and wheelchair use. Members of his lab are currently developing interventions to promote confidence which will hopefully lead to increased participation in social activities.
Dr. Miller research program also features the development and evaluation of clinical outcome measures. The focus of his work to date relates to measures of wheelchair seating and mobility as well as tools designed to capture information on confidence with ambulation and wheelchair use.
For more of Dr. Miller’s major findings, please see the selected publications below, as well as his recent publications listed at the bottom of the page:
- Development and content validation of the Wheelchair Use Confidence Scale: A mixed-methods study
- A self-administered graded repetitive arm supplementary program (GRASP) improves arm function during inpatient stroke rehabilitation: A multi-site randomized controlled trial
- The development of the Wheelchair Outcome Measure (WhOM)
- Overarching principles and salient findings for inclusion in guidelines for power mobility use within residential care facilities
- Balance confidence among people with lower limb amputations
- The prevalence and risk factors of falling and fear of falling among lower extremity amputees
Techniques employed in the lab:
- Measurement tool development including item response and classical test theory
- Physical activity for assessment of mobility technology
- Randomized control trials
- Simulated outdoor environment for wheelchair skills training
- Social cognitive theory to examine both mobility and fatigue
- Virtual reality software (Wii Fit)
Affiliation with organizations and societies:
- Canadian Association of Gerontology (CAG)
- Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT)
- Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics (CSEB)
- Centre for Clinical Epidemiology and Evaluation (C2E2)
- Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA)
Some of Dr. Miller’s recent awards and accomplishments include:
- Barbara Sexton Lectureship (Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, 2016)
- Nominated for Excellence in Student Mentoring: In Honour of Evelyn Shapiro (Canadian Association on Gerontology, 2016)
- Swinburne Visiting Fellowship (Swinburne Institute of Technology, 2016)
- Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists Fellowship (Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, 2010)
- Outstanding Occupational Therapist Award (BC Society of Occupational Therapists, 2005)
- Ginny Fearing Learning as a Way of Being Award (Bridges 5, 2002)
Current Lab Members
|Masters of Occupational Therapy Students
|Dr. Somayyeh Mohammadi
*has graduated in the past year
|Four Year Doctoral Fellowship (UBC)
|Rehab Sciences PhD Scholarship (UBC)
|Travel Grant (ISPO 2017 World Congress)
|Strategic Investment Project Award (AGEWELL)
|Access Award (AGEWELL)
|Postdoctoral Trainee Award (AGEWELL)
|Friedman Scholarship (UBC)
|Fellowship Health Professional (CIHR)
|Most Moving Demo (AGEWELL)
|ab Sciences PhD Scholarship (UBC)
|UBC Delegate for the Canadian National Medical Students Research Symposium (CNMSRS)
|Rising Star Award (Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute)
|Postdoctoral Award (Canadian Association of Gerontology)
|Doctoral Trainee Competition (Canadian Association on Gerontology)
|Women’s & Children’s Professional Development Scholarship Fund
|UBC 4 for 4 Entrance Scholarship, 2010-2014
|British Columbia Society of Occupational Therapists Shaugnessey Research Award
|Student Research Data Collection Award (BC Network for Aging Research)
|PhD Trainee Award, 2008-2011 (Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research)
|Rejean Hebert Prize in Geriatric Research (Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
|Women’s Auxiliary Scholarship in Rehabilitation Sciences
|Clinical Post-Doctoral Scholarship, 2007-2011 (Canadian Institutes of Health Research)
Current Opportunities in the Lab
- Labbé, D et al.. 2024. Positive and negative experiences of caregivers helping power wheelchair users: a mixed-method study.. Disabil Rehabil Assist Technol. doi: 10.1080/17483107.2024.2313080.
- Derakhshan, P et al.. 2023. Adaptive outdoor physical activities for adults with mobility disability: a scoping review.. Front Rehabil Sci. doi: 10.3389/fresc.2023.1331971.
- Dupuis, F et al.. 2023. Do Exercise Programs Improve Fitness, Mobility, and Functional Capacity in Adults With Lower Limb Amputation? A Systematic Review on the Type and Minimal Dose Needed.. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2023.10.011.
- Cathcart, HF, Mohammadi, S, Erlander, B, Robillard, JM, Miller, WC. 2023. Correction: Evaluating the role of social media in providing support for family caregivers of individuals with spinal cord injury.. Spinal Cord. doi: 10.1038/s41393-023-00936-9.
- Labbé, D et al.. 2023. Predicting high quality of participation in adaptive snow-sports for individuals with disabilities: An exploratory study.. Psychol Sport Exerc. doi: 10.1016/j.psychsport.2023.102501.