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CEO Update September

CEO Update September 

In This Issue

 Meet Our New Board Members

Please join us in welcoming our three new board members with extensive scientific and clinical credentials on an international scale.


Gary Birch, O.C., Ph.D., P.Eng.
, has been Executive Director of the Neil SquireSociety since 1994. His current professional affiliations and contributions include: Adjunct Professor at UBC, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Adjunct Professor, SFU, Gerontology Research Program, to name a few. In 2010, Gary received Canada’s highest civilian honour for lifetime achievement when he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to the development of the Neil Squire Society. He is an individual with SCI.


Dr. Colleen O’Connell
specializes in neuro-rehabilitation and is Research Chief at the Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation in Fredericton, N.B., holding faculty appointments with Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine and the University of New Brunswick Institute of Biomedical Engineering. In addition to her clinical and research practice, Colleen is the founder and chair of Team Canada Healing Hands, a not-for-profit organization of health care professionals and support volunteers providing outreach initiatives in Haiti.


Dr. Catherine Truchon
has been the program leader of the Spinal Injury Unit at L’Institut de Readaptation en Deficience Physique de Quebec since 2004. She holds a Masters Degree in Neurosciences from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology from the Universite de Laval.
Catherine is currently the Quebec City site coordinator for the Rick Hansen Spinal Cord Injury Registry, providing valuable support, leadership and coordination for the roll out of the project in the province of Quebec. 
Drs. Birch, O’Connell and Truchon join the following RHI board members: Ryan Barrington-Foote; Rajiv Das; Harley Nott; Daryl Rock (Chair); Sam Sullivan; Marie Trudeau; and Dr. David Williams. Click here for more information about our board members.

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 Dr. Marcel Dvorak Appointed RHI's New Scientific Director  

  Marcel_biophotoDr. Marcel Dvorak has recently been appointed Scientific Director at the Rick Hansen Institute. Marcel is no stranger to RHI. He is a surgeon who is an expert in SCI and his long-term interest in collecting observational data in order to better understand the value of healthcare interventions led, in large part, to the creation of the Rick Hansen  Spinal Cord Injury Registry. Now as Scientific Director, he will oversee not only the Registry but some of our most promising projects over the next 2 years, including: The Access to Care and Timing Project (ACT); The Canadian Multicentre CSF  Pressure Monitor ing and Biomarker Study (CAMPER); and The Minocycline Multicentre Study. For further details on these   projects, please download a copy of our latest Annual Report. 

 DrKwonResearch_medMarcel will provide leadership and serve as a focal point for the scientific and medical related interactions between the RHI Board of Directors, the new Translational Research Advisory Committee (see below), RHI staff and with RHI clinical and strategic partners. “Marcel and the research team will play a pivotal role in the execution of our research goals and realizing our mission to lead collaboration with national and international research communities to accelerate cures for SCI," said RHI CEO Bill Barrable.

Marcel will be supported by Dr. Michael Fehlings (International Research Development), Dr. Brian Kwon (Associate Scientific Director), Cathy McGuinness (Managing Director, Registry), and Vanessa Noonan (Research Director), as well as work with fellow RHI Directors Amir Rasheed (Best Practices Implementation), and Phalgun Joshi (Compliance).

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 The Rick Hansen Institute in China

Rick_CanadaPavilion-China3Staff from the Rick Hansen Foundation, Rick Hansen Institute and ICORD, as well as Rick Hansen himself, recently travelled to China to discuss collaboration opportunities with leading members of the local SCI research community. Hansen was joined by RHF’s Colin Ewart, RHI’s Mark Aston and ICORD’s Dr. Andrei Krassioukov on the trip. They travelled to the Shanghai Expo to raise awareness for disabled people and meet with SCI researchers. “We look forward to working with China in the hopes that partnerships can be forged and we can all work together to find a cure for spinal cord injury while creating a more accessible and inclusive world,” said Hansen. Hansen was part of the official Canadian delegation to the 2nd Canada-China Health Policy Dialogue led by the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health of Canada.

Rick Hansen is seen with Canada’s Commissioner General , Mr. Mark Rowswell, well-known in China by his stage name Dashan. Photo courtesy of English.Eastday.com







 The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada's Minister of Health, with Rick Hansen and delegation from the Rick Hansen Institute including Mark Aston and Dr. Krassioukov being welcomed at the China Rehabilitation Center (CRRC).

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 We're on TRACresearch_generic-med

The Translational Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) is a newly created committee of the board, comprised of senior RHI staff and board members, as well as SCI research experts, consumer representatives and people with SCI. These individuals will assess the translational research needs of persons with SCI, help move research projects towards clinical application, and provide independent evaluation, and recommendations to our Board of Directors on research and best practice directions. A special thank you to Dr. Peter Wing, Clinical Professor, Division of Spine, Department of Orthopaedics, University of British Columbia, who will help get the committee off the ground and ultimately help to usher in the first chair.

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 Also of Note


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.



RHI 219Ontario Brain Institute and Rick Hansen Institute Launch Joint Fundraising Campaign to Accelerate Research in Brain and Spinal Cord Injury

The two organizations have set a goal of $4,000,000 to fund initiatives that will have a direct impact on people with brain disorders or spinal cord injury. More >

DBarthelemy homepageResearcher Spotlight: Q&A with Dr. Dorothy Barthelemy

Dr. Dorothy Barthélemy, a leading researcher in spinal cord injury (SCI), is fascinated by why some people with SCI regain their ability to balance and walk over time – and others do not. More>