Catharine Craven BA, MD, FRCPC, MSc
Associate Professor
Medicine (DEPMD)
Contact Info
T: (416) 597-3422 6122
Toronto General Hospital - UHN
200 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON, M5G 2C4
Contact Faculty Member for more information
Research Interests
Rehabilitation Health Services Studies

Dr. Craven is a Clinician Scientist appointed as an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of Toronto. Dr Craven is a Senior Scientist within the Neural Engineering and Therapeutics Team at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and the Medical Lead of the Spinal Cord Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Rehab’s Lyndhurst Centre within University Health Network. Dr Craven’s has been in providing outpatient services to patients with spinal Cord injury in the community for over 19 years and is well acquainted with the physical, social and emotional berries to health after spinal cord injury. Dr Craven’s clinical and research expertise is in the prevention and treatment of secondary health conditions among individuals living with spinal cord injury and their related health service needs. Her recent work has focused on the associations between changes in body composition and multimorbidity among individuals with chronic spinal cord injury. Dr Craven led the design, implementation and publication of the Rick Hansen Institute sponsored  scoping review and atlas of rehabilitation services in Canada, entitled the E-scan Atlas “Capturing Capacity in Canadian SCI Rehabilitation” Dr Craven co-leads the SCI-HIGH project aimed at developing structure, process and outcome indicators to advance SCI rehabilitation in Canada by 2020.  Dr Craven has published over 130 articles on related topics (  


Research Synopsis

Dr. Craven's clinical and research expertise is in the prevention and treatment of secondary health conditions among people living with spinal cord injury (SCI), with a focus on sublesional osteoporosis (SLOP), the interrelationships between body composition and multimorbidity of chronic disease, and health service provision.

SLOP is a disease process unique to patients with traumatic SCI characterized by excessive bone resorption, regional declines in bone mineral density (BMD) and bone quality (architecture and strength) of the hips and knee regions, thereby increasing the propensity for lower extremity fragility fracture. One in ten people with SCI report lower extremity fractures in the last year, with a persisting five-year increase in mortality following the fracture. Fractures increase patient morbidity due to complications of fracture immobilization (i.e. heel ulcer or deep venous thrombosis) and often results in delayed union or non-union, which temporarily decreases the person's functional abilities and increases their attendant care needs.

The primary aim of my research is to reduce fracture occurrence and the fracture related morbidity and mortality among patients with SCI.

Detection and Treatment of Sublesional Osteoporosis
We have developed clinical paradigms for the detection and treatment of sublesional osteoporosis. In addition, our team has also been utilizing new imaging technology to measure regional changes in bone mineral density, bone architecture and body composition around the knee in order to identify people with SCI at high risk of fracture who require treatment.

To date, my research interests include:

  1. The prevention and treatment of SLOP after spinal cord injury
  2. Determining the efficacy of oral bisphosphonate therapy for the prevention and treatment of SLOP
  3. Determining the safety and efficacy of rehabilitation interventions including passive standing (PS), functional electrical stimulation (FES), body weight support treadmill training (BWSTT) and whole body vibration (WBV) for treatment of SLOP
  4. Determining the physiological and psychological benefits of longitudinal exercise interventions among people with SCI
  5. Diagnosis, measurement and clinical implications of changes in body composition over time among patients with SCI
  6. Economic consequences of secondary health conditions of SCI
  7. Development of non-invasive protocols for the identification of individuals with SCI, metabolic syndrome, and an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events


Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

  1. Peripheral Quantitative Computed Tomography: Review of Evidence and Recommendations for Image Acquisition, Analysis, and Reporting, Among Individuals With Neurological Impairment.
    J Clin Densitom. 2018 Jul 29;:
    Cervinka T, Giangregorio L, Sievanen H, Cheung AM, Craven BC
  2. Economic Impact of Aging on the Initial Spine Care of Patients With Acute Spine Trauma: From Bedside to Teller.
    Neurosurgery. 2018 May 22;:
    Furlan JC, Fehlings MG, Craven BC
  3. Prevention and management of osteoporosis and osteoporotic fractures in persons with a spinal cord injury or disorder: A systematic scoping review.
    J Spinal Cord Med. 2018 May 10;:1-25
    Zleik N, Weaver F, Harmon RL, Le B, Radhakrishnan R, Jirau-Rosaly WD, Craven BC, Raiford M, Hill JN, Etingen B, Guihan M, Heggeness MH, Ray C, Carbone L
  4. A scoping review on health economics in neurosurgery for acute spine trauma.
    Neurosurg Focus. 2018 May;44(5):E15
    Chan BCF, Craven BC, Furlan JC
  5. Assessing Heart Rate Variability As a Surrogate Measure of Cardiac Autonomic Function in Chronic Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury.
    Top Spinal Cord Inj Rehabil. 2018;24(1):28-36
    El-Kotob R, Craven BC, Mathur S, Ditor DS, Oh P, Miyatani M, Verrier MC