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New partnership announced between RHI and CIMVHR

The Rick Hansen Institute and the Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research partner on unique collaboration to help Canada’s Military and Veterans living with spinal cord injuries

Ottawa, October 26, 2011 - The Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) and Canadian Institute for Military & Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) today announced the signing of an agreement to identify, develop, validate, and accelerate the translation of evidence and best practices to improve health care outcomes for Canadian Military and its veterans with spinal cord injuries.

Signing_the_MOU_-2PHOTO (from left): Bill Barrable, CEO at RHI; Alice Aiken, Director of CIMVHR; and Rick Hansen, Co-Chairman of the Rick Hansen Foundation

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Under the partnership agreement, RHI will act as the primary resource for the CIMVHR for SCI translational research and best practices implementation for care of people with SCI; and the CIMVHR will help translate knowledge from RHI into a military context.

Present at today’s signing at the Ottawa Hospital were Rick Hansen, Co-Chairman of the Rick Hansen Foundation; Alice Aiken, Director of CIMVHR; and Bill Barrable, Chief Executive Officer of RHI.

“This is an important milestone and an important step towards understanding veteran health issues related to SCI and towards building a broader community dedicated to veteran and military health,” said Barrable. “We now have a mechanism in place to translate knowledge generated by SCI research and best practices into the unique context of the Canadian Military and its veterans that will ensure tangible next steps and outcomes.”

The CIMVHR was established by Queen's University and the Royal Military College of Canada to address the gap in veteran health research in Canada and to deal with the diverse set of physical, mental and social health issues that are faced by veterans, returning soldiers and soldiers who are in garrison and their families, with a focus on prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. Shortly after, the two institutions hosted the first Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Kingston, which attracted over 250 Canadian and international delegates. To date some 19 universities across Canada have joined the CIMVHR.

“Canada was alone among its major military allies in not having an institute such as this. More people have served in Afghanistan than served in Korea, and their injuries are more serious. The Canadian academic community has come together with the key stakeholders in National Defence and Veterans Affairs to ensure relevant research is being done that will directly impact the lives of these Canadian heroes and those who have gone before them,” said Aiken, an associate professor at Queen's University, former member of the Royal Canadian Navy, and now Director of the CIMVHR.

Spinal cord injury is one of the greatest survivable catastrophes experienced by a human being, and it presents far reaching consequences for individuals, families and the Canadian health care system. One of RHI’s strengths is investing in areas and projects that move basic discoveries into new treatments and approaches – while identifying best practices in SCI treatment and promoting their wide-scale adoption by medical and allied professionals; and creating opportunities to achieve better medical outcomes while reducing the stress and costs of care on the health care system.

CIMVHR and RHI will work together to increase collaboration focused on reducing the incidence and severity of permanent paralysis resulting from SCI; increasing restoration of physical function following SCI; and reducing the incidence and severity of secondary complications associated with SCI. Particular emphasis will be placed on collaboration relating to effective collaboration and knowledge exchange of translational SCI research and best practices implementation for care of individuals with SCI to the Canadian military and its veterans.

The partnership with CIMVHR builds upon RHI’s recent announcements with US military-related organizations, such as Paralyzed Veterans of America and the James J. Peters VA Medical Center.

Meanwhile, to follow up on the success of the first Military and Veteran Health Research Forum, the CIMVHR, together with Queen's and RMC, will host the second annual forum November 14 – 16, in Kingston, ON. The forum will focus on research in mental health, operational and environmental health protection, combat casualty care, physical and mental rehabilitation, the transition from military to civilian life, and health care policies and programs.


About the Rick Hansen Institute

The Rick Hansen Institute (RHI) is a Canadian?based not?for?profit organization committed to accelerating the translation of discoveries and best practices into improved treatments for people with spinal cord injuries. It does this by leading the collaboration of researchers, health care professionals and service providers across Canada and internationally. RHI has matched leadership and research collaboration with government funding to facilitate one of the largest interdisciplinary spinal cord injury research programs in the world. For more information, please visit: www.rickhanseninstitute.org.

About the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR)

The Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) is an innovative organization that engages existing academic research resources and facilitates the development of new research, research capacity and effective knowledge exchange. With a network of academic researchers from across Canada, it serves as a focal point for all interested Canadian universities who have agreed to work together in addressing the health research requirements of the military, veterans and their families. For more information, please visit: www.cimvhr.ca



For more information, please contact:

Dan Maceluch, ABC
Director, Marketing & Communications
Rick Hansen Institute
direct: 604.707.2114
mobile: 778.991.7532

Lauren Hanlon
Communications Manager
Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research
direct: 613.533.3136