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Building Capacities to Implement Best Practices

Patients expect to receive the best and most up-to-date health care possible.

Once research has proven a certain practice to be the best option for treating people with a given condition, one might expect that practice to become the new standard. However, it takes much longer than one might think: an estimated average of 17 years for only 14% of new scientific discoveries to enter day-to-day clinical practice. Many best practices are under-utilized, or wide variations exist across centres on their adoption.

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Building a National Registry

Prior to 2004, very little was known about spinal cord injuries in Canada: their causes, prevalence, severity, or what factors affected how people improved (or didn’t improve) over time after injury. A registry—an organized system to create a centralized repository of information—which follows the progress of people with SCI over a period of time, has the potential to yield valuable information such as which interventions provide the best long-term outcomes for the patient. Unlike clinical trials, which normally involve a smaller sample of participants in an artificially standardized research environment, registries are often much larger with a more representative sample of people, and can give a better idea of what works in a real-world environment.

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Stefan Parent: Timing is Everything When a Spinal Cord is Injured

Born and raised in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Dr. Stefan Parent, MD, PhD discovered his career path as a teenager, when he became interested in surgical procedures after an ACL (knee) injury. Inspired by Rick Hansen, patients, as well as mentor and spine surgeon Dr. Hubert Labelle, his ethos is to ‘never give up’.

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Isabelle Robidoux: Leading Progress in SCI Through Research

Physiotherapist Isabelle Robidoux has seen first-hand the positive impact of collaborative spinal cord injury research initiatives, led and managed by the Rick Hansen Institute.

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Ginette Thibault-Halman: SCI Researcher Making a Difference


Ginette Thibault-Halman is a difference maker of a different kind. As a scientific research coordinator in the Division of Neurosurgery at Queen Elizabeth II Health Science Centre in Halifax, she has a front row seat to witness the impact of spinal cord injury and the benefits of today’s research.

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