The PIRL was formed in 2008, at the time called 'the Clinical Whiplash Intervention and Prognosis Research Group" out of necessity as the number of clinical physiotherapists involved in whiplash research through the University of Western Ontario grew. The shift to PIRL allows greater flexibility in our research pursuits, where we can continue work within the field of whiplash but also move into other neuromusculoskeletal pain conditions. PIRL is best coneptualized as a network of academics, clinical researchers and data collectors located across Canada, all of whom have an interest in furthering knowledge, clinical practice, and improving outcomes for people with non-cancer pain.
Membership is currently limited to researchers or clinicians who have participated in some part of PIRL activities over the past year. New members are added each October as participants in the Master's of Clinical Science program at the University of Western Ontario's School of Physical Therapy choose research projects aligned with PIRL. At the same time, those members who have not been active in any part of PIRL activities are considered for removal. In this way, the membership list is relevant and an accurate snapshot of the activity in the research network.
The mission of PIRL is simple:
To rigorously generate and disseminate trustworthy knowledge that has obvious clinical application for the assessment and treatment of people with non-cancer pain.
Rigorous generation of trustworthy knowledge requires intimate knowledge of research methods, and willingness of all data collectors to adhere to the highest research standards. Knowledge with clinical applicability means that the research conducted and disseminated by PIRL is developed from the ground-up with the end-user, the clinician, in mind. PIRL is an amalgam of academics and clinicians, which ensures that research is designed and conducted properly, while involving key stakeholders from the outset.
The PIRL is directed by Dr. David Walton at Western University, in London Ontario, Canada. Clinician members are dispersed across Canada, from New Brunswick to British Columbia. Academic research connections have also been formed with researchers at McMaster University (Hamilton), McGill University (Montreal), the University of Toronto, the University of Calgary, Northwestern University (Chicago), the University of New South Wales (Sydney) and the University of Queensland (Brisbane).