Q&A with Praxis CEO Bill Barrable on World SCI Day, 2021
September 5 marks World SCI Day, a day to observe and increase awareness of spinal cord injury (SCI). The theme of this year’s day is COVID-19 and SCI: staying healthy with the help of telecommunication and telehealth. We asked Praxis CEO Bill Barrable on what this day and the challenges of this past year have meant to him.
What do you want people to know about spinal cord injury?
Spinal cord injury is a catastrophic injury that has a life-long impact on an individual. Paralysis may be the most visible outcome of the injury, but there are also a wide range of serious health complications associated with it, not to mention significant changes in physical and mental well-being, financial stability, housing, and community participation.
The pandemic has transformed how we live and work. How has Praxis supported the SCI community during this unprecedented time?
If this past year and a half has taught us anything, it’s that when we come together, great things can happen. The pandemic has been challenging for so many, not just because of the serious nature of the disease, but also from the perspective of increased physical barriers and feelings of social isolation, especially for those who already encounter these challenges. At Praxis, we were proud to offer grants for SCI-specific resources during the pandemic. These grants included a diverse array of online resources including a COVID-19 resource toolkit specific to people with SCI from Dr. Janice Eng and her team at SCIRE, an initiative to develop an acute care admission plan by individuals with SCI in consultation with their health care teams, led by Dr. Susan Jaglal, and a telehealth initiative in Alberta led by Dr. Adalberto Loyola-Sanchez to develop a webinar and SCI advice line for rehabilitation support.
Why is spinal cord injury research and in particular research innovation, more important than ever?
We know from past evidence that only a small percentage of health-related scientific discoveries enter into clinical practice and that it takes 17 years for that modest feat. The pandemic has shown the world the important work that scientists do and the need to invest in research and innovation. Removing barriers to access, reducing regulatory complications, and increasing collaboration are just some of the ways we can chip away at that 17 year timeline. With the support of our partners and the SCI community, we, at Praxis, are proud to be leading the way.