Dear friends and supporters of SCI Alberta:
On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am excited to announce that the Board has confirmed the appointment of Olle Lagerquist as the new CEO for Spinal Cord Injury Alberta commencing August 19th.
Olle was most recently the Associate Dean of Industry engagement at NAIT. He Brings skills and experience related to strategic planning and operations, private and public fund development, government and industry liaison, change management,communications, and research. Olle also brings great passion for the field of spinal cord injury.
His academic background includes:
MBA Technology Commercialization – U of A
PhD Neuroscience – U of A
MSc Neuroscience – U of A
BSc Kinesiology – U of Victoria
I know you all join me in welcoming Olle to Spinal Cord Injury Alberta. I will be assisting Olle with his onboarding during his first two weeks and then relinquishing my duties as senior staff member. It has been my sincere honor and pleasure to have served this organization for the past 14 years. I look forward to contributing to the field of SCI in a different capacity, to be announced.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about the transition.
Teren Clarke, BN, MM (Mgmt)
Chief Executive Officer
Spinal Cord Injury Alberta
400, 11010 – 101 Street
Edmonton, AB T5H 4B9
Main: (780) 424-6312
Personal Fax: (587)410-2563
To empower persons with spinal cord injuries and other physical disabilities to achieve independence and full community participation.
YouTube spreads ‘misleading information’ about experimental stem cell treatments
Health Canada has warned unlicensed clinics are offering unauthorized cell therapies and making unproven, outsized claims that may pose serious risks to people
In an appearance last year on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast, Mel Gibson raved about how a trip to a Panama stem cell clinic had led to his ailing 92-year-old father’s seemingly superhuman recovery.
Gibson was skeptical at first, he told Rogan. “I’ve heard things about this,” he said he remembered thinking. “You grow a spare mouth on your head.”
That didn’t happen. Instead, after a double dose of stem cells extracted from umbilical cord blood was injected into his father’s hip, he started walking again, Gibson reported. His eyesight improved, his “cognitive power” improved and even his prolapsed heart valve healed, the actor said.
Tommy Hilfiger unveils innovative clothing line for people with disabilities
Tommy Adaptive’s mission is to be inclusive and empower people of all abilities to express themselves through fashion – read more here
The SCI 2020: Launching a Decade for Disruption in Spinal Cord Injury Research Conference is just two months away! The meeting is February 12-13th at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland. If you haven’t registered yet, please do so here
1.) If you are unable to attend in person, don’t worry, this meeting will be live-streamed at the NIH Videocasting site. The archived recording will be available within a few days of the conference.
2.) The poster session application process is now open! Applications are due by January 15th. Space is limited, so only 48 posters will be selected. The goal of the poster session is to help facilitate collaborations and knowledge transfer, therefore the posters and abstracts are in a non-traditional format. Please read the instructions carefully before applying. The application information and form can be found under the Poster Session tab of the registration site.
3.) If you plan to attend in person, please be sure to book your hotel room soon. A limited number of rooms are reserved at the government rate at the Bethesda Marriott Hotel on Pooks Hill Road. The room block will only be guaranteed until January 4th, so don’t delay! Hotel information is available on the Logistics tab of the conference registration site.
Please continue to check back at the Registration site for the updated meeting agenda, which is available at the Agenda tab of the registration site.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact members of the NIH Steering Committee, and stay tuned for details on the Breakout Sessions and Lunch and Learn coming soon.
Stem Cell Tourist Sports Massive Growth: Condition Worsens
“Don’t trust anecdotes.” Take it from Jim Gass. Gass, a 66-year-old former chief
legal counsel for Sylvania, then living in Wilmington, Mass., had a stroke in 2009. He could walk on his own and lived independently, but he wanted to recover his flaccid
left arm and weak left leg.
“I began doing research on the internet,” Gass said. He discovered a lot of online testimonials about successful stem cell treatments. These treatments, unproven and
basically experimental, are not available in the U.S. of course, so you have to travel overseas, and pay a lot of money. Gass was especially impressed with the story of
former football star and golfer Jim Brodie, who recovered from a stroke after cell therapy in Russia.
Read More here: Clinical Trials
Dr Jennifer Leo will be the new Director of The Steadward Centre at the University of Alberta.
She has a doctor of philosophy degree (PhD) focused in Adapted Physical Activity from the University of Alberta.
Read More here: Dr. Jennifer Leo</span
Sherwood Park man determined to walk again with help of clinical trial in Miami
At Reyu Paralysis Recovery Centre on Monday, Landon Smith winces as he’s helped through exercises including rows and sit-ups. Every movement is part of his plan to get full movement throughout his body once again.
Smith is confident he will walk again despite being left paralyzed from the waist down after jumping into a foam pit at a Sherwood Park trampoline park last year.
Read More here: Clinical Trials
July 23, 2018
Dear Gala Attendees,
On behalf of The Steadward Centre staff, participants and their families, I want to sincerely thank you for attending The Steadward Centre’s 40th Anniversary Gala on June 21, 2018. We are grateful for your support and we thank all of you who gave generously towards preserving the legacy of The Steadward Centre, and supporting its important and ongoing work within our community.
At The Steadward Centre, we inspire individual achievement in Adapted Physical Activity and Parasport by conducting and applying innovative research, widely sharing expert knowledge and delivering highly successful programs for individuals experiencing disability. Since its inception, The Centre has expanded exponentially, now serving over 1000 individuals living with impairment from the Capital Region each year.
Once again, the gala provided us the opportunity to raise awareness for our programs, celebrate our successes over the past 40 years, and generate funds to sustain a future so we can ensure that every individual who wishes to participate is able to engage in meaningful physical activity and sport. The generous contribution of our attendees will allow us to continue to reach new heights in the years to come.
The 40th Anniversary Gala event has successfully raised over $200,000 for The Steadward Centre. Remarkably, the generosity of the community continues, as many of you have expressed an interest in supporting The Centre further through volunteering, extending financial support, and sharing our story with your friends and colleagues.
If you would like a tour of our facility to see our programs in action, or would like to discuss alternative ways to support the program, please contact Eric Upton at email@example.com or phone 780.492.6277.
If you have any questions regarding your personal donation, please do not hesitate to contact Nancy Cheung at firstname.lastname@example.org or 780.492.7298.
Thank you again for your generosity and support!
The Steadward Centre, University of Alberta
Together, We HOLD The Power! Accessibility Conference & Fall Forum
October 18 & 19, 2018
Voice of Albertans with Disabilities is hosting its first Conference and Forum! The conference and forum are a two day dialogue and information exchange, featuring a reception with a keynote speaker, workshops, information tables and presentations. Read More here
Stem Cells Therapy for Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injury (SCI), a serious public health issue, most likely occurs in previously healthy young adults. Current therapeutic strategies for SCI includes surgical decompression and pharmacotherapy, however, there is still no gold standard for the treatment of this devastating condition. Inefficiency and adverse effects of standard therapy indicate that novel therapeutic strategies are required. Because of their neuroregenerative and neuroprotective properties, stem cells are a promising tool for the treatment of SCI. Read More
‘Science-ploitation’: stem cells being used to market dubious therapies, prof says
Stem-cell research can potentially lead to new treatments for all kinds of conditions — but right now, some experts are concerned “pop culture science” is overtaking research-based science. Timothy Caulfield, Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta, says the term “stem cell” is being dubiously used by marketers to sell products. Read More
SCITCS has provided a treadmill to the REYu Paralysis Recovery Centre:
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY GUIDELINES for Adults with Spinal Cord Injury
These guidelines are appropriate for all healthy adults with chronic spinal cord injury, traumatic or non-traumatic, including tetraplegia and paraplegia, irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or socio-economic status. Adults are encouraged to participate in a variety of physical activities that are enjoyable and safe.
You should try to be active throughout the day, and in a variety of ways, in addition to your usual activities of daily living.
If you are newly injured, are pregnant, prone to autonomic dysreflexia, or have other medical conditions, you should talk to your health professional to find out what types and amount of physical activity are right for you. A health professional might include a doctor, a physiotherapist, or a qualified exercise professional.
As a safe progression towards meeting the guidelines it is appropriate to start with smaller amounts of physical activity and gradually increase how long, how often, and how hard you engage in physical activity.
If you have a physical or mental disability, is it absolutely necessary to disclose it to your employer?
It’s a common question in the workplace that many people with disabilities have, especially if the disability is still new to them, invisible to the public or if they’re just entering the workforce.
For example, if part of the job is to lift 30 pounds regularly and it’s mentioned in the job description, then it would be normal for an employer to ask everyone if they are able to lift the weight when conducting interviews, regardless if they have a disability or not. And if a disability is preventing you from carrying out the duty, then disclosing it may be required. Read More
SCITCS donated a manual wheelchair to the Glenrose Hospital physiotherapy unit to be used as a demo when patients are ordering their wheelchair.
“The new chair is very much appreciated! Thanks so much to SCITCS”
Senior Operating Officer
Input from the Alberta Disabilities Forum into the strategic plan of the
Premier’s Council on the Status of Persons with Disabilities
- Many people with disabilities continue to live in poverty.
- Employment is difficult to find when you have a disability
and equal pay for work of equal value is difficult to obtain.
- Despite legislation that protects individuals from being discriminated
by employers, many individuals with disabilities continue to experience
both implicit and explicit
discrimination when seeking employment, navigating the hiring processes,
and maintaining employment. This discrimination takes multiple forms
including inaccessible job search formats,
interview processes that don’t consider cognitive or physical disabilities.
- People who are in receipt of AISH continue to be impacted with
their funds purchasing less due to the increasing cost of living.
- Families who want to plan for the long term financial security of
family members do not have any assurance that funds that are left to t
heir family member will not
be used to replace existing income support benefits.
- Accessibility has many facets. All of which provide significant limitations
for people with disabilities when not addressed.
- Areas that need to be considered to improve access include the following:
- Business practices and training needed to provide better customer service
to people with disabilities; for governments, private industry, health providers,
and community organizations.
- Barriers that impact access to information. This includes information being
provided in person, through print, websites or other means
- The built environment, not only in buildings and housing, but also outdoor space
including sidewalks, curbs, roadways and parks.
- Addressing accessibility in employment practices relating to employee-employer
relationships, including recruitment, as well as, hiring and retention policies and
practices, and access to
- Accessible public transportation needed for going to work, school, shopping
and other aspects of daily life.
- Access to affordable housing is limited and even scarcer when a person has
accessibility requirements because of their disability.
- Information collected in 2017 by Voice of Albertans with Disabilities from
contacts with Alberta’s 7 Cities on Housing and Homelessness Initiative indicated that of the 22,848
affordable housing units in those 7 cities,
only 682 units were accessible. This means only 2.98% of those housing
units are accessible which is well below the Alberta Building Code requirement of 10% of affordable,
publicly funded housing projects to be accessible.
Priorities the Council should be tackling this year and the following 2 years.
- Amend AISH Legislation
- To have a cost of living index requirement for AISH Payments
- To introduce the exemption of a Discretionary Trust in asset calculations
- To exclude spousal income in determination of eligibility.
- Support the development of provincial legislation on inclusion and accessibility.
- the development of an affordable and accessible housing strategy at the provincial level
- funding agreements for building affordable housing in the Province of Alberta include the
stipulation that 15% of all new units be constructed to be barrier free.
- Support the review of the RAMP Program to assess the current level of funding limits.
- Consult with First Nations communities about how to make Family Support for Children
with Disabilities (FSCD) Program services accessible and culturally relevant to them.
Premier’s Council needs your input on disability community challenges and Council priorities
Fresh Faces II Chester Ho
Meet Chester Ho, the new Spinal Cord Injury Research Chair and Director of the Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in the Department of Medicine.
By Salena Kitteringham on December 4, 2017
The philanthropic contributions of the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society (SCITCS), led by visionaries Louise and John Miller, have helped make it possible to recruit and appoint Chester Ho, one of North America’s premier spinal cord injury researchers, as the first Spinal Cord Injury Research Chair at the University of Alberta and new director of the Division of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation in the Department of Medicine.
“I am really grateful, not just for the funding of the endowed chair, but also to the Millers for their vision, enthusiasm and persistence―their tenacity―because they have been working on this for a long time,” said Ho, whose previous work at the Louis Stokes Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, was instrumental in the development of an innovative telehealth program now used across the United States for rehabilitating injured American veterans – Read More
“I am so proud of SCITCS board members and our fund raiser of 29 years Craig Simpson and Friends for helping to make this happen.”
Louise Miller CM.,AOE, MBA, LLD (Hon.)President of SCITCS
SCITCS brought Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) to Western Canada in 1990 allowing people with SCI to move their legs. SCITCS has continued to focus on the application of FES for 30 years.
We have supported FES research and provided equipment to the Red Deer General Hospital, the University of Alberta Hospital, YMCA, Saville Fitness Centre, the Steadward Centre the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine and the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta.
People with SCI and other mobility conditions benefit from the application of FES.
“Welcome to Planet SCI. It’s a strange place,” begins Spinal Cord Injury: The First 90 Days, a new resource guide for patients and their families in the very acute stages of spinal cord injury – before any assignment to an inpatient rehabilitation facility has been made. “You may think you’ve been cut off from your past, and also your future. I assure you that is not the case. You can’t go back and redo what’s been done; but what’s ahead is rushing at you faster than you can imagine. So let’s get you ready.”
The book is a map through every step of the recovery process. It details the first hours, days and weeks after traumatic injury; it defines the injury and outlines basic medical care now and in the future. In easy-to-understand language, the book offers detail on the complex medical and psychological issues that define spinal cord injury. Read More
‘Super exciting’ results in stem cell therapy trial
Four out of six paralyzed patients who had 10 million stem cells transplanted into their spinal cords have shown striking improvement a year after treatment, including increased ability to move their hands and arms and to perform basic functions like feeding and bathing themselves, according to research results being released Monday.
All six patients in the early-stage clinical trial, conducted by Fremont’s Asterias Biotherapeutics, reported at least some recovery after the stem cell transplant. The trial is among the first to use embryonic stem cells in human subjects. Read More
The Faculty of Nursing, University of Alberta is celebrating 100 years, honoured the President of SCITCS with 5 other alumni nurses who are members of the Order of Canada. They were presented with a scarf which will be given to welcome the new class of nurses.
Get Involved in your Local Elections, join us in supporting a vision of inclusive neighborhoods, towns and cities! Voice of Albertans with
Disabilities has a vision for a future where everyone is welcomed and included in their town or city. We see ACCESSIBLE towns and cities
where everyone can take part and contribute to their community and workplace.
We see POVERTY REDUCTION efforts so everyone can thrive and prosper. We see a HOUSING STRATEGY that makes
sure everyone has affordable and accessible housing. If you, a family member or a neighbor has a disability, have your voice heard during t
his municipal election. Talk to people in your town or city running for office and ask them some of the questions below.
Do you see:
- Actions that show respect and appreciation for differences in ability, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, sexual orientation, education and religion?
- Buildings and spaces being tested to make sure they are accessible?
- Transportation options that fit different user’s needs?
- Information on the town or city that is easy to find, read and understand?
- People who are different from each other working in your businesses, agencies and municipalities?
POVERTY REDUCTION Questions:
Do you see:
- Anti-poverty work happening in your town or city?
- Work being done for persons with disabilities?
- Persons with disabilities being included in making helpful strategies?
HOUSING STRATEGY Questions:
Do you see:
- A housing strategy that helps lots of people such as persons with disabilities, seniors, newcomers, indigenous peoples and people who are homeless?
- Housing plans that include people as part of a neighborhood, instead of excluding people?
- Data collection to track available housing options that are affordable and accessible?
For more information contact Maureen Murphy-Black: Voice of Albertans with Disabilities 106-10423 178 ST NW, Edmonton, AB T5S 1R5 Phone: 780-488-9088 Tollfree: 1-800-387-2514
Create Wheelchair Friendly Routes on Google Maps
For most, Google Maps is an essential app used for navigation and travel. It’s revolutionised people’s daily lives – that is if you don’t have a disability.
If you do it’s a very different story. Despite providing different options for all modes of personal and public transport,
there are no alternative routes that support those who are disabled or in need of assistance, the main example of this being a lack of wheelchair friendly options.
“Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta”
Since 1996, VAD has assessed businesses and public buildings to determine how accessible they are to persons with physical and sensory disabilities. The results of the assessments are shared with business owners, who are encouraged to make their premises more accessible. While most of the assessments have taken place in Edmonton, we have also conducted assessments in Calgary, Canmore, Red Deer and communities surrounding Edmonton.
Please read the following PDF regarding Best Practice Templates for Accessible Hotel Rooms and Bathrooms. This information can be used by hotels to conduct a self-assessment on what they can do to improve the guest experience of person with disabilities and assist builders during renovations and new builds in the hotel industry.
Also please read this PDF regarding The Hotel Accessibility Self-Assessment Guide
Your feedback on these templates are welcome: email@example.com
‘Scienceploitation’: Prof calls for crackdown on unproven stem cell therapies
An Edmonton professor is calling for tighter regulation of stem cell therapies, as clinics peddling expensive, unproven and dangerous treatments crop up in Edmonton and across North America.
“This is a big problem,” said University of Alberta health-law professor Timothy Caulfield. “We’re not talking about a handful of clinics, we’re talking about hundreds and hundreds of clinics all over the world, including in North America.”
His research has found many clinics offering the unproven therapies are charging tens of thousands of dollars per treatment, and are not advertising them as experimental.
The impact of spinal cord injury on the quality of life of primary family caregivers: a literature review. Read More
“A Wheel In Two Worlds,” introduces our talented new guest blogger, and important new voice on our website, Ben Mattlin.
In this short article, Ben, a well established writer today, tells how his first job search began 30 years ago: “Editors liked my writing; they just didn’t want me in their offices. Never was this brought home more clearly than when my dad tried to help. A friend of his started to offer part-time work, then learned of my disability and abruptly rescinded. ‘Why didn’t you tell me he’s in a wheelchair?’ she scolded. ‘We can’t have someone like that representing our company.”
Ben went on to become a highly successful freelance writer and frequent contributor to Financial Advisor magazine, the author of MIRACLE BOY GROWS UP and the upcoming IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and USA Today, and has been broadcast on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
We are delighted to welcome Ben, who will be a regular contributor to our blog. Read more
The Need For Independence
by Ron Wickman
In the next ten years, innovativeconcepts that have cross generational function will be the order of the day, especially in regards to accessible features; and the curbless shower will be one of the more important innovations in new home building. This phenomenon can be partially attributed to the “baby boomer” population. The steady rise in the elderly population worldwideis causing us all to re-evaluate our priorities. The housing market has simply not planned for this increasing y enormous market sector. Read PDF Story Here
The NDF recently sent a letter to the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel asking that the NPUAP use its vast resources to conduct research to determine what remarkable prevention measures hospitals have begun to use that resulted in this historic 50% reduction in pressure ulcer incidence.
May 16th Louise Miller SCITCS President with Su Ling Goh of Global and host of the Mayor’s Awards SCITCS won in their category
As Her Majesty the Queen’s representative in Alberta, it is my sincere pleasure to extend congratulations on the 30th anniversary of the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre (Northern Alberta) Society.
Over the past 30 years, through effort and hard work you have consistently fulfilled the mission of creating opportunities for people affected by spinal cord injuries and enhancing their quality of life through support, education and research. You may be justifiably proud of your many accomplishments as the work you support and promote is revolutionary not only to Alberta but to the international health community.
I offer my appreciation to the many volunteers who sustain the important work of the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre (Northern Alberta) Society. Congratulations to all those, past and present, for all that they have contributed to this important cause and best wishes for continued success in the future.
Clinisys and Microsoft Canada Collaborate to Advance Cloud-Based Electronic Medical Records On April 12th Clinisys EMR Inc., an Edmonton-based Health Data Analytics and Electronic Medical Record solutions provider announced it will be working with Microsoft Canada to bring cloud solutions that will benefit the patient population across Canada and allow Clinisys EMR to expand its reach across Canada, and globally.
Speakers at the media event included Jodi Abbott, Edmonton’s Health City and CEO NorQuest, Mel Wong, CEO BioAlberta, Devon Bilous, Minister of Economic
Development and Trade, Laura Kilcrease, CEO Alberta Innovates, Brad Pollack, Microsoft Canada, Mehadi Sayed, Clinisys and Dr. Gary Faulkner, AHS.
Clinisys enables cloud-based solutions that help empower and inform doctors, nurses, and all front-line health workers so that they can provide better, timely, and more effective healthcare. Through this alliance Clinisys will be able to eliminate the need for physical servers and infrastructure by using Microsoft’s Cloud platform, Azure. This will provide world-class security to storing patient information while meeting regulatory compliance standards. Mehadi Sayed, Clinisys President and CEO says, “We are excited to be working with a global leader and are confident that this collaboration will
provide exciting opportunities to grow local talent. It will allow us to bring innovative health ICT products to local and international markets and ultimately improve the provision of healthcare services.”
Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre and Society (SCITCS) Enhances Lives
The Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre and Society (SCITCS) is celebrating 30 years of creating opportunities for people with a spinal cord injury (SCI) and others. SCITCS is managed by a volunteer board and sustained by a dedicated group of volunteers who are committed to improving the quality of life of people with a SCI. Their motto, Never Say… “Never”, remains the driving force behind their organization.
Over the decades, SCITCS has supported newly injured patients with SCI and their families in numerous ways.
They host a monthly pizza night on Unit 3B at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, providing new patients with their best-selling book Daring To Live, a SCITCS Never Say…”Never” T-shirt, and a reacher. A SCITCS board member also visits patients with SCI on a weekly basis to provide support and education. These meaningful connections have assisted patients and their families through the their rehabilitation journey. Most recently, they hosted an Easter pizza party celebration that was very well attended by patients and their families.
Established in April 1987, SCITCS has been promoting and supporting applied research; they were fundamental in bringing state-of-the-art technology such as the ReWalk and Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES) devices to Northern
Alberta. FES applies small electrical pulses to paralyzed
Honourary SCITCS members Khalil and Diana Mushahwar with their daughter Vivian proudly wearing their SCITCS Never Say ..”Never” t- shirts in Palestine
2017 Centennial Flame Research Award
For immediate release
2017 CENTENNIAL FLAME RESEARCH AWARD
Ottawa, April 12, 2017
The Standing Committee on Human Resources, Skills and Social Development and the Status of Persons with Disabilities is inviting Canadians with disabilities to apply for the 2017 Centennial Flame Research Award.
In accordance with the Centennial Flame Research Award Act, this annual monetary award is given to a person with a disability to enable him or her to conduct research and prepare a report on one or more Canadians with disabilities who have made a contribution to Canadian public life or to the activities of Parliament.
Funding for this award is collected from the Centennial Flame monument on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, and the monetary donations made to the Centennial Flame Research Award Fund. The total value of the award for 2017 is $5,500.
For your application to be considered, the following criteria must be met:
You must be a person with a disability;
You must submit a letter of presentation in which:
You describe who you are and identify your disability;
You describe your work experience and/or your community involvements;
You say why you deserve the award;
You elaborate further on your proposed subject and your research methodology;
You must submit a letter of support for your application from a person of your choice other than the subject of the research;
You must submit proof of Canadian citizenship;
All required documents must be sent to the Clerk of the Committee and must be postmarked on or before Friday, June 30, 2017.
Those interested in more information on this award may consult the Committee’s website or contact the Clerk of the Committee.
– 30 –
For more information, please contact:
Julie Geoffrion, Clerk of the Committee
Communities across Canada are saying ‘yes’ to making our country more accessible and inclusive! Last November, Rick surprised 1,400 students and staff at Vincent Massey Collegiate in Winnipeg, MB, with the first Barrier Buster grant of $30,000 to make the school entrance more accessible. When the Vincent Massey project is completed, it will be the first time in 50 years someone in a wheelchair can independently enter the school’s main doors.
Barrier Buster grants (funded mainly by the Government of Canada) help break down physical barriers in communities from coast to coast, creating real and lasting impact for people with disabilities. We are also grateful to corporate sponsors Canadian Tire Corporation, Boston Pizza, Scotiabank, Today’s Parent, and Shaw Communications for their support with our Access4All activities. Thank you! Read More
SCITCS is the lucky recipient, celebrating 30 years, thank you to Mike and his Partner including the staff of the Canadian Brewhouses throughout Alberta. This will allow SCITCS to continue to create opportunities for people with a SCI and other mobility issues.
Top 10 Most Significant Advances in Spinal Injury Repair
Air-powered waterproof wheelchair debuts at Morgan’s Wonderland
SAN ANTONIO – A revolutionary wheelchair was unveiled at Morgan’s Wonderland on Friday. It doesn’t use any batteries and runs on air. The “PneuChair” also is waterproof. It glides with the simplicity of a joystick and weighs 80 pounds, a third of the weight of a normal wheelchair. Director of Human Engineering Research Laboratories Rory Cooper developed the chair, along with the University of Pittsburgh and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Read More
2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design Relevant to Timeshares
Since the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design went into effect, it is the dominant conclusion by most ADA experts that timeshares are subject to the same accessibility standards as hotels. Prior to the introduction of the updated standards, both timeshare developers and timeshare owners had mostly focused on complying with the Fair Housing Act when timeshares were either being constructed or modified.
The updated 2010 standards also impacted timeshares by addressing elements commonly present in many timeshare developments. These features include pools, boat ramps, golf courses, children’s play areas and spas. Any new construction or alterations commencing after March 15, 2012 must comply with the new standards. Read more
$1-billion system for Alberta’s vulnerable gets overhaul
A program supporting Alberta’s severely handicapped is getting overhauled to deal with problems plaguing the $1-billion system. The Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) program provides beneficiaries with income assistance, health and personal benefit supports. In October, it was slammed by auditor general Merwan Saher for being inefficient and inconsistent, with onerous intake forms, hard-to-find information and undertrained workers. At the time, then human services Minister Irfan Sabir promised to review AISH and, on Wednesday night, his renamed Community and Social Services ministry unveiled a host
of changes to improve the program. Read More
Improved Accessibility in Alberta Provincial Parks including William Watson Lodge
Albertans with physical disabilities will have five more parks to enjoy with their families this summer, plus a new place to fish in the Castle Wildland Pro-vincial Park next summer.
The five parks are being improved as part of a $3 million plan to create accessible experiences in 15 provincial parks by 2020. In addition, Alberta Parks will create a barrier-free fishing experience in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park in 2018.
The accessible fishing venue in the Castle Wildland Provincial Park will feature a boardwalk around Bath-ing Lake. Over the next four years, more than $20 million will go to access routes, inclusion projects, camping, signage, picnic areas and hiking trails in the Castle parks.
The province will also begin construc-tion this year on two additional replacement cabins at William Watson Lodge in Peter Lougheed Provin-cial Park, scheduled to open in 2018. The $2.8 million project follows the completion of two other replace-ment cabins at the popular destina-tion, which sup-ports seniors and persons with mo-bility challenges.
Exploring the Human Body
How much do you know about the workings of your body? The human body is endlessly fascinating, and a bit mysterious. But if it’s been a while since your high school biology class, don’t worry. We’ll explore the systems of the body and find out how they all work together to make us tick. You’ll be learning about the circulatory system, immune system, endocrine system, urinary system, digestive system, nervous system, respiratory system, and lymphatic system. Read More
Spinal Cord Injury Patients Face Many Serious Health Problems Besides Paralysis
‘Paralysis is just one of the many serious health problems faced by patients who suffer spinal cord injuries. Spinal cord patients also are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease; pneumonia; life-threatening blood clots; bladder, bowel and sexual dysfunction; constipation and other gastrointestinal problems; pressure ulcers; and chronic pain, according to a report published in the journal Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports.
As many as 94 percent of spinal cord patients suffer chronic pain. “It typically occurs within the first year after injury but decreases in intensity and frequency with time,” Drs. Sweis and Biller wrote. “It affects patients emotionally and interferes with activities of daily living.” The most common causes of spinal cord injuries are motor vehicle accidents (46 percent), falls (22 percent), violence (16 percent) and sports injuries (12 percent). Alcohol intoxication plays a role in 25 percent of all spinal cord injuries. Eighty percent of spinal cord injuries occur in males aged 15 to 35. Fifty-three percent of spinal cord injury patients are left tetraplegic (partial or total paralysis of the arms, legs and torso) and 42 percent are left paraplegic (partial or total paralysis of the legs).
The most common systemic complications following spinal cord injuries are pneumonia and other pulmonary problems. Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death. The degree of cardiovascular dysfunction is directly related to the severity of the injury. Spinal cord patients are at risk for life threatening blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (usually in the legs) and pulmonary embolism (lungs). Pressure ulcers also are common. Life expectancy depends on the severity of the injury, where on the spine the injury occurs and age. Fatal complications of spinal cord injury include blood clots and sepsis due to pneumonia, urinary infections or pressure sores.
The good news is that among patients who are not completely paralyzed, 80 percent stand by 12 months and 50 percent walk out of the hospital by 12 months, with improvements continuing for two years after injury. New treatments for spinal cord injury, including stem cells, gene therapy and electrical stimulation, are being studied. The hope is that these options can some day restore some function for patients.’ Reprinted in part from Loyala Medicine Webpage, Jim Ritter, February 16, 2017
Where there’s a will there’s a way..
ANA LUCAS OSMA – SCHOLAR, ATHLETE, SURVIVOR
When you ask Ana Lucas Osma about her life story, you’ll wonder why no one has made a movie about her yet. Her life is full of love, laughter, and is a story of resilience, and unbelievable talent. In person, she’s so sweet, and down to earth, and it’s a pleasure to share a bit of her fascinating story.
Ana was born in Madrid to a large family of five. Her father passed from cancer, she was young, and as a result, she and her family grew very close to each other. While coming from school, the bus driver drove too fast, and lost control on a curved road. The accident was later attributed to the drivers’ high blood alcohol content level. 8 people were affected, however Ana came out of the accident with a severe spinal cord injury. She was 18 years old.
The remarkable thing about Ana’s story is the way she handled the aftermath of her injury. Many who are affected by spinal cord injury, particularly after an accident, have trouble accepting the reality of their situation and coping. Ana was focused on moving on with her life as soon as possible. A year after hospitalization for her injury, she decided to apply to University for Veterinary Medicine. In Spain, with a disability, you have access to any University you would like to attend. Ana was an excellent student throughout her academic career, and decided she wanted to be chosen for the program through merit, rather than as an access candidate. She didn’t mention her injury in her application, and still got accepted to a top program in her country. The University was not wheelchair accessible, and although they assured Ana that the facilities and resources she needed would be put into place, they were not. Her friends helped her throughout her degree, carrying her chair up flights of stairs etc. Despite her difficulties, she finished her studies within 5 years, in the top 10% of her class.
When the University staff congratulated Ana on her success, she questioned them as to why they did not install wheelchair accessible services to help her through her schooling. They admitted they didn’t think she would finish her program due to her injury. Now everything at the University is wheelchair accessible.
After finishing Veterinary school, Ana decided she wanted to take some time to establish her independence. She chose to travel to Australia to study English, as well as practice medicine in a veterinary clinic. She was in Australia for one year, and discovered that she wanted to pursue research, something she was interested in while in Vet School. As she researched PhD. programs, she decided that she wanted to pursue a subject in the field of spinal cord injury, to better help understand her own injury, and those of others. She moved from Madrid to Toledo to work in a facility, which specialized in spinal cord injury where she started her PhD in Neuroscience. When she was living in Toledo, one of her friends told her about Canada. By this point, Ana discovered her love for solo travel. She decided to spend a summer by herself in Canada and fell in love with her experience and the country.
She decided to apply for a fellowship after completing her PhD with Dr.Vivian Mushawar at the University of Alberta, and she received a position to work with Vivian for three years. This is where she met Louise, and the rest of the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Centre Society family. She became a board member, and from there, Edmonton became her home. She met her husband Darren shortly after beginning a job in another research lab. They had a beautiful destination wedding in Mexico, and have worked together with the SCITCS Board to support and bring awareness about Spinal Cord Injury treatment and recovery.
Ana is a veterinarian, a scholar, a world traveller, and additionally, a star athlete. She had always been an active child, and wanted to continue her athletic lifestyle despite her injury. She often starts her days with morning swims, and while in Toledo she was playing on a National basketball game. After arriving in Canada, she faced a new challenge to her lifestyle, the northern winters. Snow can present a number of difficulties to a wheelchair user, even crossing the street can be quite dangerous or an impossible mission. Despite the challenges, the snow never kept Ana indoors. Sleigh hockey as well as cross country skiing. She has competed in several long distance races, working her way up from 13km to 31km Last year in the Canadian Birkebeiner, she was awarded the Ole Hovind Award, which is given to a dedicated and experienced cross-country skier. Ana has also competed in a number of organized sporting events. She has won two bronze medals at the Canada winter games, and is following her dream of possibly competing in the 2018 Para Olympics in Korea. After recovering from her injury, instead of focusing on sports she couldn’t do, she loves trying new types of activities. Ana also loves food, wine and trying new things
Ana always enjoyed challenges, and being in a wheelchair has never stopped her from living her life to the fullest. Out of interest, she has undertaken a psychology degree, she is continuing to train for her cross-country skiing races, and she’s thinking about spending some time with veterinary clinic work after spending many years in the field of spinal cord injury research. She is bubbly, funny, sweet and resilient, a true role model for anyone facing challenges in their lives. Ana’s mother is an inspiration for the way Ana lives her life. She told Ana the life you have is now, you can’t change the fact you’re in a wheelchair, you need to live life with what you have and learn to do things in a different way.
I’ve asked Ana what types of information she’d like to give to those who are learning more about their own, or the spinal cord injuries of others. She said she feels lucky for her wonderful childhood. She has brought up that many people have had misconceptions about her academic and physical abilities. It’s frustrating, but she’s enjoyed the opportunity and challenge of proving them all wrong. Many people ask about her disability with curiosity, however people should begin to see wheelchairs as something normal, rather than not. It doesn’t take much to make the world a more accessible and accommodating place. Simple changes like cleaning the streets of ice and snow, and having wider, wheelchair accessible stalls in bathrooms make a world of difference. She appreciates how organizations like SCITCS help people help themselves. She’d love accessibility to be something that is normally accounted for during construction practices. To those who struggle with their own injury, Ana believes there is always an alternative way to overcome barriers and become a role model, and leader in the process.
SCITCS provided the initial funding which led to the development of the Smart E Pants and the Redliner to save our shoulders. Read More
Google Maps Is Now Wheelchair Friendly
Dec 21, 2016 — We Did It! Thank you all for supporting inclusion of Wheeler’s. It took some time but now we can know in advance if we can get in or not. Thank You Google for understanding the need and making it happen.
Spinal Cord Injury Manifesto
Click here for the PDF
When University of Alberta spinal cord researcher Karim Fouad began his career, not a lot was known about injuries of the central nervous system—the brain and spinal cord.
“What researchers did know is that nerve cells don’t regrow,” said Fouad, who was named as a tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Spinal Cord Injury as part of a $11.9-million federal government funding announcement Dec. 2. “I wanted to know why not.” Read More
Assured Income for the Severely Disabled (AISH) results of the 2016 Audit
Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) Program. He concluded that “the Department of Human Services is unable to demonstrate that the AISH Program is efficient. The Auditor General identified a number of improvements Alberta Human Services could make to better serve Albertans with disabilities requiring access to AISH benefits:
- Ensure its application processes are user friendly
- Set service standards for application processing times and regularly monitor against these standards
- Improve procedures and guidelines to ensure staff
- Apply policy in a consistent manner
- Improve its processes to measure, monitor and
- Report on the efficiency of the AISH program
The Voice of Albertans with Disabilities is currently working on a project, funded in part by Alberta Human Rights and Multiculturalism; Creating Accessible Hotels in Alberta.
The outcomes of the project are that:
- Persons with disabilities will have more access to equitable and appropriate hotels and lodgings in Alberta.
- A template of an optimum accessible hotel room, complete with washroom, lavatory and barrier-free amenities within the room be developed.
- Persons with disabilities and caregivers will be involved in the process of identifying their needs.
- The Hotel Industry in Alberta will have awareness of the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities.
- The project will provide an understanding of the specific accommodations to be considered.
- Education and awareness for policy makers, decision makers, construction industry and municipalities.
- Increased knowledge of best practices and gaps between policies, standards and delivery systems within the hospitality industry.
We would like to hear directly from persons with disabilities who travel and stay in hotels and lodges throughout Alberta. Please take the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2TCZFLB.
Please forward this email to your contacts and post on social media. Thank you.
We also need individuals who might be interested in participating in focus groups that we will arrange directly with them. The Registration Checklist (attached with this email) will be the pivotal point for focus groups as we want to hear directly from persons with disabilities. Focus groups may be done by phone. Please contact the Project Manager, Donna Graham, at 780-488-9088, Toll-free at 1-800-387-2514 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding focus groups or if you have any questions/concerns.
Your assistance is appreciated.
ALBERTA DISABILITIES FORUM
Joel Murphy: Legal Superstar, Disabilities Advocate, Board Game Whiz
Joel is the newest member of the Spinal Cord Injury Treatment Society of Alberta’s Board of Directors. He met Louise Miller, the President of SCITSC in 2009, when he was awarded a SCITCS grant for his studies. Joel was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. He majored in neuroscience and psychology at the University of Alberta before pursuing a law degree. He is in his third year of law school. Though this might seem like an odd path, Joel recognized many of the skills he learned through his undergrad were directly applicable to the practice of law. He was already an avid reader and writer, and saw that he could add value to the legal field with his interdisciplinary education.
Particularly, Joel is interested in commercial and real estate law, with additional interests in business. He is an advocate for disabilities, and recognizes that accessibility needs to be a priority for builders and developers. Joel was born with a rare syndrome that resulted in a spinal cord injury when he was five years old. By the time he was six, he was in a wheelchair.
What’s remarkable about Joel is his positive energy and charisma. Many who have undergone lifestyle changes as a result of medical conditions undergo feelings of sadness and helplessness. Joel never lets his disability become and excuse. He tells me that it could be if he let it, but excuses never get you anywhere. You have to keep trying.
“As a kid, when you’re in school, some peoples houses are inaccessible, so people seem afraid to ask you if you want to come over and hangout etc. Rather than letting this be a drawback, it pushed me to be more approachable, social, forward and friendly. Its shaped who I am and how my personality has developed.”
“Attitudes towards disability and accessible services have been getting better. There is more understanding and newer buildings are more accessible. In terms of renovating older buildings, there is less flexibility. There is always a fight to build a lift or a ramp.”
The University of Alberta Law Building, where Joel studies is a Soviet era style building. None of the washrooms for example are accessible. For six years there have been efforts to develop accessible washrooms, but they’ve been in vain. The rest of the faculty and program has been really accommodating. The law library tables are low to the ground and accessible, taxi services are always available for transportation purposes.
Like the true science major he is, Joel has many ideas for solutions to enhance accessibility and encourage all business and establishments to think about how they can accommodate patrons with disabilities.
“In terms of accessibility advocacy, it should be productive. There is a lot of attention on what we should call people with disabilities etc. but whether you can get into buildings is much more important. Portable ramps are a very simple solution that can go along way. A building repository with a list of buildings that are accessible would be an awesome and very useful tool. Many with disabilities assume they can’t get into certain establishments anyway, and many business that do not have accessible venues think they don’t need them because they don’t have disabled patrons. Its a vicious cycle where no one is happy.”
“Businesses need to see accessibility as an opportunity! If I go to a bar with my fiends and I can’t get in, all of us will just go somewhere else, and we’ll never come back again. That’s lost profit, which is more than it would have taken to have a simple portable ramp installed. For example, Mercer Tavern has an elevator and a ramp despite being a historical building. They are always accommodating and they are a business I’m happy advocating and taking my friends to!”
Joel is an incredible conversationalist, and we could’ve kept talking for ages! We ended our conversation discussing how disability should never be assumed to be someone’s only identity. Joel had some inspiring words for those in a similar situation to his own;
“There are lots of things you can do, the world is not closed off to you. Lots of people with disabilities are angry, particularly if the injury is the result of an accident. If you have that attitude, you’re hurting yourself. Even if the world isn’t accessible, don’t get angry, find places that work, there’s no excuse to not go out and take on the world.”
FUN FACTS ABOUT JOEL:
Fav Jobbies: Read a lot of books, trivia, Tuesday night, going out, foodie, board games faces
Fav food: Sushi, Wasabi
Fav Weird Movie: The Emperors Club – Kevin Klein, Jesse Heisenberg
Coolest Halloween Costume: Stephan Hawking
Hilary or Trump: Either way we’re kind of doomed
Fav location: New York, Fast paced, I live for the concrete jungle!
Desert Island: Ramp! Matches, survival book,
Fav drink: Old Fashioned
Current Jam: Billy Joel
Dinner with a dead person: Winston Churchill
If not Canadian, which nationality: Irish
Accessible U is an initiative of Accessible Housing. It is an information hub created to help you find useful information about accessibility, especially in residential environments. It is designed to inform and empower people, thereby contributing to a more accessible Alberta. Read More
First Ever Quadriplegic Treated With Stem Cells Regains Motor Control in His Upper Body
For the first time ever, neuroscientists have treated a total quadriplegic with stem cells, and he has substantially recovered the functions of his upper body only two months into the process. Read more
A Closer Look at Adaptive Technology
Facebook has changed the way people talk about spinal cord injury
Recently, FacingDisability.com began an interactive Facebook quiz called, “What the Heck is It?” – a game that asks our fans about simple pieces of adaptive technology to see if they can guess what they are. One example is this image of an adaptive steering wheel handle. It got people talking. Even though the object was easy to guess, it prompted lots of arguments about using it. Some thought it was too dangerous, while others said they couldn’t live without it. This single post brought almost 90 comments. Read More
New sit-to-stand wheelchair gives users greater mobility access
YOQNEAM, Israel – Israeli technology start-up UPnRIDE Robotics is launching an upright, self-stabilizing wheelchair at a medical conference in Germany next month and the company hopes the device will hit the market next year.
Before then, UPnRIDE needs to pass two clinical trials, one in New York with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, before it can get regulatory approval — and ensure health insurance companies will help customers with the hefty price tag. Read More
‘Bionic’ woman Claire Lomas completes Great North Run
A paralysed woman wearing a “bionic” suit has completed the Great North Run, five days after she started it. Claire Lomas, from Leicestershire, was paralysed from the chest down in a riding accident in 2007.
She began the half marathon, which runs from Newcastle to South Shields, on Wednesday and crossed the finish line at about 10:00 BST. Read More
SCITCS brought the first ReWalk to Canada in 2014 and made it available at the University of Alberta, Edmonton for a research project in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.
Contact professor Dr Jaynie Yang at email@example.com
Blind MP to draft Canada’s first national accessibility law
After a construction site accident, Robert Woo was paralyzed from the chest down. Woo spent the next four years in a wheelchair. But even as he learned how to live his new life, he couldn’t stop asking one very simple question: How could humans build skyscrapers, but not something better than a wheelchair? Then Woo heard about bionic exoskeletons. And it changed his life. Read more
Adaptive Rowing is for people with disabilities who participate in the sport of rowing.
Anyone can get involved in rowing, regardless of physical disability, sensory or learning impairment.
There are many benefits to being involved in rowing; the sense of freedom, making life-long friends, and learning new skills whilst keeping fit and healthy. You can do all this on the water or indoors, just for fun or to compete in races. Read More
A Better Version Of The Wheelchair
The wheelchair has remained relatively unchanged for decades. Why is this? We’ve made better televisions, better tools, better cars… why has it taken us so long to improve the way disabled people get around? Ogo Technologies is looking to change that. The Ogo is a new wheelchair that seeks to revolutionize the market.
SCITCS wishes to congratulate the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital for successfully meeting the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Rehabilitation Accreditation Standards. This accomplishment is due to the commitment and dedication of the SCI program staff, collaboration and partnerships with patients and their families including community partners, SCITCS, SCI-AB, academic institutes and the Rick Hansen Institute.
Bill Barrable CEO of the Rick Hansen Institute presented the Accreditation Certificate to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.
Note: 2012 the Rick Hansen Institute partnered with Accreditation Canada to develop comprehensive evidence based standards for SCI care.
Left to right
Gail Aguillon, Dr Rebecca Charbonneau, Michelle Wallace, Isabel Henderson, Bill Barrable
Federal government launches National Housing Strategy consultation
The time is now to fix Canada’s housing crisis. For the first time in more than 20 years the government appears ready to re-engage on affordable housing. We have to act now to ensure ending homelessness is on the agenda.
The Federal government has launched their National Housing Strategy consultation with a new website.