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Praxis 2016: The model for change

On April 25-27 2016, RHI will host Praxis 2016, an international conference focused on identifying and overcoming barriers to translating research into improved outcomes for individuals with SCI (read a conference overview here). Praxis 2016 will not follow a traditional scientific conference format, but rather will embody RHI’s solutions-focused Praxis model which was developed to help overcome obstacles in SCI research.

The goal of Praxis 2016 is to both shorten the 17-year time frame to achieve translation of knowledge into practice and to increase the number of new therapies and technologies entering the pipeline to ensure that all individuals with SCI have access to the best available technologies and practices as soon as they have been shown to be safe and effective. Identifying and overcoming barriers to successfully advancing through the two “valleys of death” will be a key part of accomplishing this goal.

This goal will be addressed through six conference sessions developed through a consultative process between RHI, the Program Advisory Committee (PAC), the Sessions Speakers and process experts, Stratchan-Tomlison.

The Opening Session will welcome delegates to the conference and orient the audience to the issues to be discussed. Sessions 1 through 4 will be facilitated by Dorothy Stratchan, to guarantee the conference proceedings remain aligned with the session objectives. In addition to their leadership in developing the session content, Session Chairs will oversee their respective sessions to ensure the best possible input, participate in plenary discussions, and finalize conference notes resulting from their session. Each session will include brief talks from panel speakers, followed by an interactive panel discussion related to the session topic.

A unique feature of this innovative conference will be collaborative, working group discussions that allow participants to share their ideas and perspectives as they relate to the four established topics and the challenges within.

The six sessions include:

Day One

Opening Session

Day Two

Session 1: Product Development and Delivery – Challenges and Solutions in Device, Drug and Cellular Therapies
Session 2: Pre-clinical and Clinical Trials of Regeneration and Repair in SCI

Day Three

Session 3: Bringing Knowledge into Clinical Practices
Session 4: Financial Viability - Uncertain Markets: Investors, Industry, IP and Insurance. Product Development and Reimbursement
Closing Session

The Closing Session will provide the transition between the conference and the development of a strategy-based report that will guide post-conference actions. The Session Chairs will provide a summary of their perspectives during this conference wrap-up. While this session will mark the end of the Praxis 2016 conference, it is only the first phase of moving the collective knowledge and ideas into action.

As part of this conference initiative, RHI will work with a pan-Canadian team of knowledge translation experts to evaluate the conference and its role in moving knowledge to action.

A briefing note summarizing Praxis 2016 will be disseminated shortly after the event, with a final conference report available in mid-June. Appointed conference output leads will oversee the fulfillment of any post-event activities identified through the conference proceedings. Conference outputs may include (but are not limited to): the creation of working groups, development of position papers, peer-reviewed publications, advocacy support, changes in funding requirements and agreements for future meetings.

It is through this unique conference process, complemented by the collective intellect, leadership and experience of the delegates, we will be able to develop actionable solutions to the barriers in moving research from “bench to bedside” and from “bedside to worldwide”.  Visit the RHI website for future post-Praxis updates and activities!

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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