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Spinal Cord Injury Ontario

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The Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation

We are saddened that Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) has closed its doors after 23 years. ONF has been the hub for the neurotrauma community, driving many of the advancements that have improved the lives of the 500k Ontarians living with SCI or ABI.

Spinal Cord Injury Ontario is committed to preserving the legacy of ONF and ensuring that their critical work can continue.

The following is a message from the board of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation

After 23 years of making a difference in the lives of those living with spinal cord injuries and head injuries, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF) closed its doors on March 31, 2021. Despite discussions through 2020, the Foundation and the Ontario government were unable to reach a funding renewal. The Foundation is hopeful, however, that the defining characteristics of the model ONF pioneered will be leveraged to enable successor programs. In fiscal 2021/22, the Ontario Ministry of Health is directly funding projects that ONF previously lead.

Started by the neurotrauma community in 1998, the Foundation helped grow the number of researchers devoted to neurotrauma care and prevention. Critical to ONF’s operations was maintaining a unique and important partnership with its community, listening to the community’s priorities to develop and implement best practice.

Sean Court, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Health, in his letter to the community noted that: (We) recognize the important work that ONF has done over the years. ONF has been a recognized leader in translating evidence into practice and in ensuring the voices of people living with spinal cord injury and acquired brain injury are driving the work. We appreciate this contribution.

Over time, the Foundation evolved from an organization focused on grants to a knowledge broker, ensuring that research was put into practice at scale. ONF charted a course for patient-oriented and impactful research through its efforts to facilitate multi-disciplinary collaboration, its extensive provincial, national and international partnerships, its networking capacity, and its knowledge generation, mobilization and implementation programs. ON F’s work has set the standard for neurotrauma care in Ontario and beyond.

ONF was an important organizer of brain and spinal cord trauma academic activities, research, teaching and patient care. Dr. Charles Tator, Professor of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto.

This outstanding organization had a profound impact on research and clinical practice in spinal cord and traumatic brain injury in Ontario. Dr. Milos Popovic, Professor, University of Toronto and Director of Research, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, University Health Network.

We have recently been directed to your website which is fantastic and an excellent resource … Your concussion pathway so perfectly demonstrates the pathway required. Miffy Durham, Acting Head of Department, State Head Injury Unit, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Western Australia.

With the Foundation’s closure, many individuals in the field have remarked on its contributions, as well as the loss.

I can’t thank ONF enough for their leadership, support and unprecedented ability to translate research evidence into guidelines/standards to shape concussion care across the world. Dr. Nick Reed, Assistant Professor and Canadian Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion, University of Toronto.

ONF’s efforts have provided important collaborative platforms, tools and strategies to address this critical public health concern. Susan Bonomo, Public Health Nurse, York Region.

The Foundation is justifiably proud of the Ontario neurotrauma community’s research achievements. The Board of ONF thanks the countless people with lived experience who guided ONF – and kudos to the researchers and health practitioners who responded to the challenge. ONF’s Directors also wish to recognize the trail-blazing work of Kent Bassett-Spiers, ON F’s founding and only CEO, and his remarkable team. We are all profoundly sorry to see ONF’s great run come to an end, and we look to the Foundation’s stakeholders to build on its legacy.

The Board of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation
Mary Webb, Chair; Marc Allaire, Joseph Falconeri, Lloyd Mogul, Neil Stuart
June 11, 2021

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