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CEO Update from Bill Barrable - June 2012

Pour la version française, cliquez ici

In this Issue:


Interdependence 2012: The Global SCI Conference deemed a success

From the rousing opening keynote address by Dr. Charles Tator encouraging the next generation of SCI researchers and care givers to deliver on the promise of a world without paralysis after spinal cord injury, to Rick Hansen's challenge to never give up on our dreams, i2102 proved to be an incredible experience full of knowledge sharing, networking and collaboration.

FastFacts2The breadth of expertise and knowledge brought together from across the continuum of care was truly remarkable and as many noted, critical to shaping the agenda of SCI research moving forward. With 23 countries and 200 organizations represented, over 500 delegates came together and made the world of SCI research and care a little bit smaller.

This issue is dedicated to sharing the insights, presentations and special moments from the three-day conference held in Vancouver, Canada, May 15-17.

Again, thank you to the delegates, presenters, speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, as well as the tireless RHI-RHF organizing committee and volunteers for their work in making i2012 such a success.

We hope you enjoy the summer and see you again in September.

As we’ve said before, our best work remains ahead of us.


Bill Barrable
CEO, Rick Hansen Institute


Message from the Research Program Advisory Committee


As Chair of the Research Program Advisory Committee for Interdependence 2012, I am pleased that the event was a great success. The conference achieved a difficult balance of high quality science over a broad range of subjects, thought-provoking discussions, productive meetings, great networking opportunities and inspirational dialogue. Much of the program was designed to encourage cross-disciplinary interactions and discussions, so it was great to see so many of the delegates really get out of their proverbial 'comfort zones' and attend sessions that they would not normally attend at other conferences.  I hope that these cross-disciplinary discussions will lead to new collaborations that will lead to innovative treatments for paralysis after SCI, treatments for the secondary complications of SCI, rehabilitation strategies and improved quality of life for people with SCI. I believe it was agreed by all in attendance that multi-disciplinary and international collaboration is essential.

Of course I must highlight the inspirational words and presence of Rick Hansen at Interdependence 2012. It is important to remember that Interdependence 2012 was one of the final events of the 25th Anniversary of Rick Hansen's Man In Motion World Tour. Thus, the timing of the conference has allowed us to reflect on what has been accomplished in SCI research over the last 25 years, but it also has given us a sober reminder of how much more work there is to be done in order to achieve a world without paralysis after SCI.

I hope that everyone left Interdependence 2012 as inspired as I was to continue to be a difference maker.


Dr. Michael Fehlings,
Chair, i2012 Research Program Advisory Committee


RHI Clinical Research Network Meetings

More new interviews will be posted on our Youtube channel over the coming months.

As part of Interdependence 2012, RHI sponsored nearly 100 delegates from our Clinical Research Network to attend i2012, bringing our network members together for the first time. There were 18 network presenters at the RHI Project Showcase Session providing a great opportunity to highlight a sampling of RHI-funded research. In addition, the many additional sessions such as RHSCIR, ACT and Minocycline allowed for project updates for the site leads and attending coordinators.

Watch interviews (see right) with Stacy L. Elliott, Michael Fehlings and Sukhvinder Kalsi-Ryan, members of the RHI Clinical Research Network that attended i2012, and learn more about their work.

Click here to view a select list of RHI Clinical Research Network affiliated presentations.

To view all conference photos, visit RHF's Flickr page: May 15 | May 16 | May 17


RHI Emerging Company Showcase

As part of the commercialization component of Interdependence 2012, RHI hosted the RHI Emerging Company Showcase at i2012. The Showcase provided emerging companies, seeking financing for an innovative therapy or medical device directly related to the effects of paralysis following SCI, the opportunity to pitch their company and innovation to a panel of potential investors.

The following four companies were selected by a committee of life sciences and healthcare commercialization professionals, to participate:

Each company was given ten minutes to present, followed by five minutes of Q&A. The session was moderated by Clare Salisbury of Gowlings, our generous sponsor of the session.

The session was welcomed by conference delegates whose SCI research interests do not normally include the commercialization process as it is an aspect of SCI research that is typically not included at other SCI research conferences. In addition, a strong representation of Vancouver's local life sciences investment and commercialization community was also present. Due to its success, RHI plans to increase the scale of the Emerging Company Showcase into a regular series of investment forums. More information on the RHI SCI Global Investment Forum will be made available in the coming months. In the meantime, please contact John Barclay () if you would like to learn more.


Rick Hansen Relay visits Blusson Spinal Cord Centre

BSCC_eventMedal Bearers, Dr. Brian Kwon and Sangeet Singh with Rick Hansen during the Relay stop at Blusson Spinal Cord Centre on May 22.

Capping the nine-month Man In Motion World Tour was a Relay stop and visit by Rick Hansen to the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre on May 22. Staff and dignitaries from various institutions, partners and local businesses were in attendance, and greeted incoming RHI/VCH Medal Bearer Brian Kwon. Dr. Kwon passed the singular Rick Hansen medal to SCI treatment success story Sangeet Singh, who later passed the medal to Dr. Stewart and Marilyn Blusson to exit the Centre. The day ended with 'Celebration 25 / A Concert for Heroes' - a spectacular live performance at the Pacific Coliseum attended by more than, 5,000 people, which will be broadcast on CTV and CTV Mobile on Sunday, June 24 at 7 p.m. ET.

Check out our Facebook page for more photos from the Relay's stop at Blusson!


What some of the Interdependence 2012 delegates had to say....

Delegate Feedback: % of delegates who responded or rated i2012 Excellent/Very Good

1.      Overall quality of Interdependence 2012 (89% agreed Excellent/Very Good)

2.      Overall educational value of the content provided (78%)

3.      Opportunity to network with other delegates (91%)

4.      Potential to build on existing or develop future collaborations (85%)

5.      Quality of the presentations (84%)

6.      Conference staff/volunteers (98%)

7.      As a result of i2012, did you acquire new information important to your work? Yes (93.3%)

8.      Are you leaving with ideas to improve your work? Yes (86.2%)

9.      Conference Materials (Program, Abstracts, Posters, Handouts) (92%)

"The meeting exceeded my expectations. I thought there was a good degree of contact with investors and companies. I spoke with several people with SCI. The venue was great with the hotel convenient.  Overall a very professional feel." Jim Guest, The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis

"Congratulations to you and your team for a very successful SCI Conference - i2012. The plenary and breakout sessions were well organized and focused. The networking opportunities throughout the day provided enough time to connect and reconnect with a wide array of stakeholders." Kent Bassett-Spiers, Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.

"The breadth and depth of the content was impressive, I found there was a really great flow time-wise (lots of time for networking, the days felt full but not overwhelming). I heard a lot of great feedback too." RHI Clinical Research Network member

"The program was informative, well run and extremely professional.  viDA Therapeutics Inc was provided the opportunity to speak at the inaugural Emerging Company Showcase and I must say, the venue, the speaker stage setup and the moderator to the session were exemplary. Having attended a number of conferences over the years, you and your organization should be proud of the higher bar that you have set for those that follow." Alistair Duncan, viDA Therapeutics Inc.


Thank you to our i2012 sponsors:












The Rick Hansen Institute is a Canadian-based not-for-profit organization that drives innovation in spinal cord injury research and care. We strive to improve the lives of people living with SCI in Canada and around the world.



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