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Our Partnerships

The Rick Hansen Institute serves as a catalyst for collaboration among spinal cord injury researchers, clinicians, and individuals with SCI across Canada.

To accelerate progress in SCI research and care, there is an urgent need to harness the promise and potential of collaboration, here in Canada and around the world. Greater collaboration helps cement existing partnerships and helps develop new ones. It also enables us to identify and validate the most promising discoveries, and accelerate the translation of those discoveries into clinical practice.

Here are a few examples of our current partnerships:

> Blusson Integrated Cures Partnership (BICP)
In April 2013, the Rick Hansen Foundation announced a grant of $20 million over ten years to support researchers and clinicians at the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre (home to ICORD and RHI) to accelerate preclinical and clinical research in spinal cord injury. This funding is aimed at strengthening the partnership between the Rick Hansen Institute and ICORD. The goal of the Blusson Integrated Cures Partnership is to become a world leader in innovative and collaborative pre-clinical and clinical research to accelerate the discovery of SCI cures.  Learn more about ICORD.

> Blusson Spinal Cord Centre Partnership (BSCCP)
In 2014, expanding upon the existing BICP collaboration, RHI, working with the Rick Hansen Foundation, ICORD, Vancouver Coastal Health, GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health and the University of British Columbia's Faculty of Medicine, formed the Blusson Spinal Cord Centre Partnership to accelerate progress in the cure of and care for spinal cord and brain injuries by collaborating proactively and with intention. Together, each partner recognizes that they can be more effective in realizing the potential and the opportunities that exist in British Columbia at this time.

> Accreditation Standards
In order to ensure that all Canadians receive the same level of care, RHI partnered with Accreditation Canada to develop comprehensive and evidence-based standards for SCI called the Acute and Rehabilitation SCI Standards of Care (SCI Standards). Accreditation Canada is the major national accrediting body for organizations across all health sectors in Canada. Learn more about the SCI Standards.

> Clinical Research Network
RHI engages with 31 facilities across Canada participating in the Rick Hansen SCI Registry. Many of these facilities also participate in other RHI-funded projects, such as the Minocycline in Acute SCI multi-centre clinical trial, the Access to Care and Timing project and the CAMPER study. See a list of participating RHSCIR facilities.

> Best & Brightest
We also work with academic and funding agencies to support up and coming SCI researchers. To date, we have worked with the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, University of Ottawa and the Research Manitoba (formerly Manitoba Health Research Council) to provide funding and support for fellowship and scholar awards. Learn more about our Fellowship and Scholar Award Opportunities.

> Provincial Association
We partner with several provincial organizations on SCI research initiatives in the province. One such partnership is with the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF). Currently, members of ONF and RHI are collaborating on numerous projects and initiatives, such as the Canadian SCI Pressure Ulcer Strategy and the SCI Knowledge Mobilization Network. In addition, RHI and ONF collaborate on several SCI research and best practice implementation projects by providing funding and support to participating Ontario facilities. Learn more about ONF.

> Industry Partners
Through our Commercialization Program, we are actively developing a number of industry partnerships as companies are often the most effective vehicle for bringing a new technology to market and implementing the technology into healthcare delivery. Currently, our industry partnerships include large multi-national companies and early-stage ventures. Our current industry partners include AbbVie Corporation, Acorda Therapeutics Inc., Astellas Pharma Canada Inc., Bionik Laboratories Inc., MyndTec Inc., Self Care Catalysts Inc. and viDA Therapeutics Inc. Learn more about our Commercialization Program.

> Community Organizations
We are proud to partner with provincial SCI organizations across Canada, including SCI Canada and its federation partners. They have been key partners in our efforts to engage people with SCI and their families in research, and to help us understand how research knowledge can best benefit the lives of people with SCI. In particular, we are working with SCI Canada and Universite Laval researcher Luc Noreau to use the SCI Community Survey to work with Canadian communities to improve care for spinal cord injury. 

We often work with organizations that host events and activities to share research knowledge with people with SCI and their families, including ICORD, Spinal Cord Injury BC, the Ontario SCI Solutions Alliance, and Unite2FightParalysis’ Working2Walk conferenceLearn more about our Consumer Program.

"Globally, there is a strong appetite and desire to come together in a truly global network, and that's what we're laying the foundation for. If we're going to accelerate progress on the long journey... then we have to magnify our collective efforts." 

- Rick Hansen

International Partnerships

Outside of North America, RHI is working with several organizations in order to create a truly global network of individuals working in SCI research and treatment that will have the greatest impact on people with spinal cord injury around the world. Here are a few examples of some international organizations we are working with on multi-centre clinical trials and other research endeavours:

> China
Peking University Third Hospital (PUTH), Accreditation Canada International and RHI are working together to develop and implement best practice standards for acute and rehabilitative care for SCI in China. Implementation of these standards will ultimately ensure that the approximately 60,000 individuals who sustain a spinal cord injury China each year receive the best possible care and health outcomes. PUTH was also one of the first international sites to pilot the Rick Hansen SCI Registry. Learn more about this partnership.

> New Zealand
Participation in a global registry is seen by many as one efficient way to obtain a large enough dataset to accelerate the number of clinical trials that can be conducted and the identification and adoption of best practices. Along with China's PUTH, Christchurch New Zealand’s Burwood Spinal Unit was one of the first two international facilities to pilot the Rick Hansen SCI Registry. Learn more about these collaborations.

> Australia
Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane, Australia is the site of two RHI-based projects: the Minocycline in Acute SCI multi-centre clinical trial and the Access to Care and Timing Project. Including Australian data in both projects will provide increased access to data in order to identify treatment approaches and best practices for SCI care in Canada and Australia. Learn more about this partnership.

Additional international partners include:

Funding to AOSpine North America for the development of a set of MRI-based biomarkers in patients with acute spinal cord injury and the American Spinal Injury Association's (ASIA) InSTeP education model for SCI clinicians.

> United Kingdom
Some funding provided to Stoke Mandeville Hospital to support a study on the systematic review and meta-analysis of the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan (BBB) score. Before novel therapeutic approaches can be tested in human SCI subjects, the safety and benefits of these interventions will need to be demonstrated in pre-clinical models. The BBB score is one of the most frequently used locomotor outcome measures in SCI contusion models in rats. To date, however, there is little understanding whether reported BBB scores in the literature truly are statistically consistent and clinically relevant.