In October, SRI Patron Lady Southey AC hosted a lunch at Cranlana for the SRI. The lunch was an important opportunity to help us gain more support among a select group of invited guests to help us achieve our goal of improving health outcomes for people living with spinal cord injury.
Sandy Clark, President of the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia introduced the topic of spinal cord injury and our guest speaker Briar Stevens, spoke about living with spinal cord injury from the age of three when she acquired her injury from being tackled by a cub lion on the plains of Africa. Quite apart from the beautiful landscapes of Zimbabwe where Briar shared images of her time growing up alongside the Zambesi River with parents who conducted safari tours there, Briar left our guests with the very clear message that more research needs to reach patients in a shorter timeframe.
As Briar explained, health improvements can be life-changing. They can be transformative to a person living with spinal cord injury by increasing their ability to socialize, including being employed, rather than being at home with a carer. Her story highlighted the necessity to reduce the lag of up to 17 years between a research outcome and its translation into beneficial clinical practice, something that the SRI is focused on with its collaborations project in order to improve the barriers to research translation.
Lady Southey gave the final address, describing how passionate the team is to help those with spinal cord injury achieve better health outcomes. She also acknowledged her predecessor, our first patron Betty Amsden AO and expressed her desire to carry on with the important work that Betty had started in seeking more support for this worthy yet neglected cause of spinal cord injury research.
Images top L-R: Lady Southey AC; Briar Stevens; Sandy Clark; Dr Peter Kingsbury, Dr Con Mylonas, Jeanne Pratt AC, Prof. Doug Brown; Briar Stevens presenting.