Sunday, May 18, 2014

CP Canada Network Workshop

I've just returned home from an incredible few days in Halifax, where I attended the Let's Talk CP 2014: Translating Science into Family Life Conference, which was held at the IWK Health Centre.

In addition to this conference, I was invited to attend the CP Canada Network Workshop, which was co-funded by NeuroDevNet and the Provincial CP Associations. The CP Canada Network workshop is the annual meeting of provincial CP Association representatives and researchers from the Cerebral Palsy Discovery Program of NeuroDevNet. This Canadian partnership aims to promote collaborations and initiatives that will enhance the health and well-being of individuals with CP and their families.

I can't tell you how awesome it felt to be included among such a powerful group. It was a great opportunity to network with other provincial representatives, as well as experts in diverse research and clinical areas.

Darcy Fehlings, MD is Head of the Division of Developmental Pediatrics, and Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Toronto. Her current clinical position is Physician Director of the Child Development Program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  Dr. Fehlings is a Senior Scientist in the Bloorview Research Institute. The focus of her research is on the innovation and evaluation of interventions for children with cerebral palsy.

Dr. Fehlings spoke about current research of the Cerebral Palsy Discovery Program. NeuroDevNet's CP researchers are working to identify genetic and environmental risk factors for cerebral palsy through basic research and the creation of a trans-Canadian CP registry. Their team is also developing animal models of CP that mimic the human condition, in order to increase understanding of the underlying causes of the disorder, as well as brain-protective strategies, and treatments for CP.

Dr. Fehlings is incredibly passionate about her work, and her excitement shows as she speaks about the advances in innovation and the possibilities that exist for individuals with CP.

Also present at our meeting was Dr. Michael Shevell, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the McGill Faculty of Medicine and Pediatrician-in-Chief at the Montreal Children's Hospital.  Dr. Shevell has an active clinical research program focusing on issues related to neonatal neurology and children with or at risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, in particular cerebral palsy and global developmental delay.  

Dr. Ellen Wood is a pediatric neurologist at the IWK Health Centre and Professor of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University.  Her main clinical and research interest is in developmental disabilities, particularly cerebral palsy. She is the neurologist with the Multidisciplinary Cerebral Palsy Clinic Team.

Annette Majnemer, OT, PhD is Director at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Medicine at McGill University. Her research interests focus primarily on the child, family and environmental factors that influence activity limitations and participation restrictions in children and youth with developmental disabilities.

We had representatives from CP Associations in Alberta, New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland. It was amazing to be able to participate in a roundtable discussion and active dialogue between researchers, health professionals, and family members (parents and advocates), with the same goal - to create awareness, and promote initiatives to enhance the lives of those living with CP.  We talked about World CP Day, Steptember, and the CP Canada Network. I will have more to say about each of those in later updates.

I have some work to do to wrap my head around all of the information that was shared over these past few days. Stay tuned for an update about the CP in Motion Conference!


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