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Acquired Brain Injury and Prevention Program and SCI Initiative Evaluations – 2017-2020 Funding Cycle
The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation commissioned external evaluators to assess and evaluate its Prevention, Acquired Brain Injury programs and joint Ontario SCI Initiative led in collaboration with partners at Praxis Spinal Cord Institute. The independent evaluations combined a blend of quantitative and qualitative assessment methods to better understand the impact of the Foundation within the community over the 2017-2020 funding cycle.
Key findings of the Ontario SCI Initiative evaluation:
- The Initiative was relevant and aligned with stakeholders’ priorities, including those of the Ontario government. The emphasis on knowledge translation, best practice implementation, and patient engagement distinguished the initiative from other sources of SCI funding.
- The Initiative helped fund 21 SCI-focused projects in four different strategic areas. People with SCI were substantially involved and engaged in these projects.
- Historic partnerships and effective collaboration were a major strength of the Initiative and essential to all activities.
- People with SCI were empowered through increased knowledge about SCI, strengthened connections with the SCI community, and deeper involvement in research. Researchers developed stronger skills in knowledge translation and patient engagement.
Key findings of the Prevention and Acquired Brain Injury program evaluation:
ONF was widely regarded as valued partner that actively supported stakeholder organizations in advancing evidence-based neurotrauma practice. Key mechanisms and factors contributing to effective partner engagement include:
- ONF’s extensive relationships and history of collaboration with a broad range of key stakeholders in the neurotrauma sector;
- high levels of dedication and motivation among ONF partners, including significant levels of volunteer/’in kind’ contributions;
- the principle of reciprocity in partnership engagement;
- the principles of collective impact guiding ONF collaborations; and
- system level changes encouraging greater intersectoral and cross-sectoral collaboration, with the potential to inform policy.
Key mechanisms and factors contributing to documented ONF impacts and outcomes include:
- ONF’s provincial mandate;
- ONF’s organizational continuity (of funding, staff support and priorities) that provide the level of stability needed to see long-term projects to fruition;
- ONF staff (high levels of dedication, expertise and motivation);
- a rapidly changing external environment: budget cuts, organizational restructuring, staff turnover in partner organizations, extensive system reform (both and enabler and a barrier);
- ONF’s inability to ‘mandate’ utilization of evidence-informed best practices (e.g., concussion guidelines);
- the limited attention given to neurotrauma related issues by broader health system.