4th meeting of OSCIRN brings SCI community together

Researchers, clinicians, scientists, students, industry, people with SCI review developments, future possibilities

The challenge of basic spinal cord injury research is making it relevant to those living with SCI as well as potential funders and supporters. This gap was narrowed at a May meeting organized by the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and its partners.

Almost 160 participants gathered to share information on the most current developments in SCI research including researchers, funders and people living with SCI. Ontario Spinal Cord Injury Research Network is a collaborative network of clinicians and scientists based at five Ontario academic health science centres in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and London. This group collaborates to research and implement multi-centre SCI clinical research projects.Dr._robert_bell__may_2017

“We had some pretty specific goals in mind when we developed the conference agenda,” says Tara Jeji, ONF Program Director, Spinal Cord Injury. “Having the SCI community involved was critical. They need to hear about progress being made towards a potential new therapies and technologies to improve function and care for those with SCI and to encourage people to participate in clinical trials.” The conference included presentations, workshops and poster presentations as well as lots of opportunity for participants to build their personal and professional networks.

Dr. Bob Bell, Assistant Deputy Minister of Health for the province provided the keynote address (see photo above). Chaired by Dr. Michael Fehlings, presenters included Dr. David Darrow, Dr. Karim Fouad, Dr. Brian Kwon, Dr. David Magnuson, Dr. Martin Oudrega, Dr. Nick Terrafranca and Dr. Albert Yee.

Barry Munro, Chief Development Officer for the Canadian Spinal Research Organization (CSRO) and ONF kicked off the conference with a reflection on the current research realities from the perspective of those living with SCI. Other keynote topics focused on various aspects of neuromodulation as well as progress being made in repair and rehabilitation. Participants also had the opportunity to explore poster presentations and participate in workshops and update sessions on a range of current and upcoming research project.

“ONF is the link between the work of the basic and clinical researcher as well as the individual living with SCI,” says ONF CEO Kent Bassett-Spiers. “This conference was an opportunity to get everyone who is or wants to make a difference through research together in one room.

The scientists need to meet those who are benefitting from their efforts in the same way that those living with SCI need to understand how important it is for them to participate in research projects.

May_conference_team Organizers of the OSCIRN conference: (back row, left to right) Dr. Michael Fehlings, Dr. Karim Fouad, Dr. Keith Hayes, Mr. Kent Bassett-Speirs;  (front row) Dr. Anoushka Singh, Dr. Tara Jeji