ONF 20th Anniversary

The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation marks 20th anniversary
Taking leadership to improve the lives of Ontarians living with neurotrauma

In the late 1990’s a group of people and organizations familiar with the difficulties and gaps in the care and treatment for those with neurotrauma made a bold decision to establish the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF). With a focus on research, ONF soon became the go-to resource for evidence-based best practices and knowledge about acquired brain injury (ABI), spinal cord injury (SCI) and prevention.

In 1998 following the confirmation of government funding to a partnership group known as the Ontario Neurotrauma Initiatives Partnership (ONIP). ONIP partners included the Rick Hansen Foundation, Canadian Spinal Research Organizations (CSRO), the Canadian Paraplegic Association (a precursor organization now known as Spinal Cord Injury Ontario) and the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA).

Over the years, ONF has broadened and strengthened it connections with those living with neurotrauma. ONF has built and supported networks of researchers and advocates working to find and implement health care solutions that address the needs of those living with neurotrauma. The Foundation is known and respected for its leadership in sharing knowledge and establishing standards and guidelines that support care that tackles the serious health issues related to ABI and SCI. And the Foundation has taken the lead to bring together individuals and organizations seeking to prevent neurotrauma across the lifespan.

Over the past two decades ONF has invested $100-million and, as the list of achievements below notes, supported hundreds of thousands of Ontarians to access better care and services.

• The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation is established by the Canadian Paraplegic Association (now SCI Ontario), the Canadian Spinal Research Organization, Ontario Brain Injury Association, and the Rick Hansen Foundation and receives funding from the Ontario government for its program.
• ONF announces the first grant recipients in the summer of 1998.

• ONF joins the Canadian Neurotrauma Research Partnership, a group of agencies supporting spinal cord and brain injury research.
• ONF releases the first “Compendium of Best Practise in Neurotrauma Injury Prevention”.

• ONF awards Dr. Michael Cusmano of St. Michael’s Hospital a grant to study a neurotrauma injury prevention program through Ontario school boards through the healthy living curriculum.

• ONF awards Dr. Carol Dematteo, MacMaster University, a grant to examine the transition faced after sustaining acquired brain injury by children and their parents.

• ONF awards Dr. Wendy Pentland, Queen’s University, a grant to study and develop a “Telephone Peer Support Group Program for Women with Spinal Cord Injuries Living in Small Communities and Rural Areas of Ontario.”

• ONF funds the (now) popular Stay on Your Feet (SOYF) program for two years in three Ontario communities: Grey Bruce, Elliot Lake and Kingston. SOYF is a well-entrenched prevention program across the province.

• ONF funds Evidence-Based Review of Moderate to Severe Acquired Brain Injury (ERABI), an online review of medical literature on acquired brain injury (ABI) rehabilitation which is now considered one of the definitive resources on this subject.
• Results of an ONF-funded study that focused on those populations with a high incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) demonstrated that those who were homeless or in prison had experienced higher rates of TBI than the general population.

• ONF supports the establishment of province-wide Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Research Network (OSCIRN) to enable SCI research across five academiNm_23_coverc health science centres in Kingston, Hamilton, Toronto, London and Ottawa to consider all aspects of the continuum of care as well as social participation and quality of life for those living with SCI.
• The cross-provincial partnership between ONF and the Reseau provincial de research en adaption-réadaption (REPAR) is established.

• ONF launches the NeuroMatters newsletter. ONF partners with the Insurance Bureau of Canada to provide evidence about the effects of catastrophic brain injury. 

• ONF funds a pilot project with partners Hamilton Health Sciences Centre and Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario to develop a system that will help those with SCI nSci_kmn_implementation_guide_(cover_page)avigate the health care system.
• ONF supports the Canadian site of US-based project focused on improving the understanding the effectiveness of rehabilitation for those with TBI.

2008 – 10th Anniversary
• ONF celebrates its 10th Anniversary.
• The first edition of the ONF Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) guidelines is released.
• The Ontario SCI Solutions Alliance, a collaborative multi-stakeholder network, is launched by partners ONF and SCI Ontario.
• ONF convenes the first expert panel to establish a research agenda to address neurogenic bowel issues faced by those with SCI.
• ONF sponsors the first face-to-face meeting of the Public Health Injury Prevention Managers – now known as the Injury Prevention Managers Alliance.
  • ONF supports the formation of the first provincial community of practise on the issue of substance use and brain injury (SUBI).
• ONF establishes and agreement with the Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA) to develop a first-of-its-kind program “Ergonomic Program Implementation Continuum” aimed at preventing musculoskeletal disorders and slips, trips and falls.
• ONF convenes “The Prevention of Neurotrauma in Hockey” which leads to the organization of the “Hockey Neurotrauma and Concussion Initiative” focused on reducing the risk of concussion and neurotrauma injuries in hockey.

• ONF funded research, “Preventing Inflicted Infant Head Trauma: A Best Practice Implementation,” was released.
• ONF funds 10 grants in communities across Ontario to implement best practice interventions.

• ONF convenes a summit on mTBI with a range of stakeholders in order to initiate the development of a province-wide mTBI care strategy.
• ONF fund research for the development of a diagnostic pediatric TBI assessment tool.
• ONF sponsors and participates in the conference “Global Blueprint for Stem Cell Translation”, held in Toronto.
• ONF provides leadership and funding for the establishment of the Fall Prevention Community of Practice.

• ONF becomes involved in the nascent field of implementation science through participation in the first Global Implementation Science Conference.
• ONF sponsors the first “Canadian Injury Action Forum” engaging researchers,Pressure_ulcer_guide_coverpractitioners and policy makers to take action on injury prevention.

• ONF partners with the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) to develop and host the “National TBI Research Strategy” a two-day workshop.
• ONF launches its partnership with the Centre for Family Medicine Mobility Clinic in Waterloo with a focus on creating a model to improve access to primary care for those with SCI.
• ONF organizes the first “Young Worker Safety Think Tank” to set priorities for action to keep young workers safe.

• ONF, in partnership with the Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHR), funds the Canadian TBI Research and Clinical Network.

• ONF launches the first guidelines focused on pediatric concussion care: “Pediatric Concussion Guidelines.”
• ONF publishes “Preventing and Treating Pressure Sores: A Guide for People with Spinal Cord Injuries.”


•ONF launches Loop, the bilingual communication platform for the Fall Prevention Community of Practice. The first Fall Prevention Month is launched in November.

• ONF sponsors three important summits focussed on healthcare issues faced by those with SCI: Primary Care, Urohealth and Neuropathic Pain.

• ONF initiates the development of standards for concussion care. ONF and Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESSS) publish the “Clinical Practice Guideline for the RehabFpmlogoilitation of Adults with Moderate to Severe TBI.”
• ONF funds the development and release of “Neuropathic Pain Practice Guideline” for those living with spinal cord injury.

• ONF launches “Standards for Post-Concussion Care” and initiates the implementation of the ONF/INESSS TBI Guidelines in 14 settings across the province.
• ONF is a sponsor, planner and participant in the Global Implementation Conference in Toronto.
• ONF introduces the “Care Pathways” strategy in partnership with SCI Ontario.

• The ONF proposal for the development of “Neurotrauma Care Pathways” is included in the Ontario 2018/19 budget.
• The third edition of “Adults Guidelines for Concussion/mTBI and Persistent Symptoms” is released.  
• ONF and the Centre for Family Medicine Mobility Clinic in Waterloo in partnership with RHI announce funding to help establish five more mobility clinics across Ontario based on the successful model established in Waterloo.
• ONF expands the Loop bilingual community of practice on fall prevention to include practitioners working with children aged 0 to 6 and also adds a child fall prevention toolkit to Fall Prevention Month activities.