Spinal cord injury has a massive human and economic cost.
Every year, care and treatment for Canadians with traumatic SCI costs our health care system approximately 2.7 billion. As our population ages, the number of injured, and the related care costs, will grow. Thanks to the leadership and vision of Rick Hansen, the Rick Hansen Foundation and partnerships with the federal and provincial governments and other organizations, Canada has become a world leader in SCI research and care. The Government of Canada's five-year funding agreement with the Rick Hansen Foundation in 2007 demonstrated a progressive and insightful approach to tackle the staggering costs of spinal cord injury to Canada’s health care system, and to the quality of life of affected Canadian individuals and communities. The funding led to the eventual creation of the Rick Hansen Institute, which addresses the priority needs of Canadians with spinal cord injuries through a combination of networks and infrastructure that generates greater collaboration within the care and cure communities nationally and around the world. The Rick Hansen Institute (formerly the SCI Solutions Network) was established to foster greater collaboration across the SCI community and to accelerate progress towards a cure for paralysis after SCI. Through our core program areas – Cure, Care, Commercialization and Consumer—we have created a powerful network of researchers, clinicians and service providers who are working to improve the lives of the estimated 86,000 Canadians living with a spinal cord injury.
As this diagram illustrates, spinal cord injury has an enormous impact not only on the health and wellbeing of Canadians with SCI, but also on the Canadian healthcare system.
With funding secured for 2013-2018, we transitioned our efforts from infrastructure building towards a greater emphasis on implementing the results of this research into clinical practice, in the centres where people with SCI are cared for across Canada and internationally.
Learn more about our Strategic Direction
While we continue to search for the cure, we will also focus our efforts on finding ways to ensure that what we know about SCI is used for maximum benefit to the individual and to the healthcare system overall. We expect to see much larger and broader results, in terms of improved and standardized care across the country, and a reduction in the level of impairment after injury. Renewed funding will allow the Institute and its network to:
> Accelerate the implementation of new knowledge into practice
> Ensure that standards and best practices for the treatment and care of people with SCI are implemented nationally
> Continue to enable international and national collaboration in promising clinical trials and research efforts
This funding will have a far-reaching impact—not only for Canadians and our health care system, but for people around the world, and will further solidify Canada’s reputation as an innovative, global leader in SCI research and care.
At this time of unprecedented scientific progress and transformative global communications technology, a world without paralysis after SCI is possible. In the meantime, please feel free to peruse our website for information related to the Institute’s projects and initiatives, and information on spinal cord injury research that might be of interest to you.
Chief Executive Officer