At the age of 37, Robert Buren had a cycling accident resulting in complete paraplegia. He is a high-performance athlete, motivational speaker, author and researcher, who is now entering the second year of his PhD at University of British Columbia, Okanagan. The core focus of Robert’s research is to determine if mindful behavioural interventions (eg. Mindfulness meditation, CBT, ACT) can help reduce or eliminate neuropathic pain and increase health-related quality of life for individuals with a spinal cord injury. His dissertation incorporates mixed methods: a systematic review, a national survey, interviews and small randomised controlled trials. In collaboration with colleagues, Robert is also contributing to research investigating the effects of prolonged sedentary behaviour, as well as the importance and impact of physical activity among individuals with spinal cord injury.
Robert shares his experiences from the conference.
Attending the 62nd International Spinal Cord Society Annual Scientific Meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, made possible by the support of the SRI, proved to be an exceptionally enriching experience. The conference served as an invaluable platform for networking and collaborating, providing me with the opportunity to engage with influential researchers and experts in my field globally. Presenting my initial work and participating in specialised groups, such as the Psychosocial Special Interest Group, not only exposed me to a broader audience but also facilitated insightful discussions. The financial assistance from SRI played a pivotal role in facilitating my in-person participation, ensuring that I could fully embrace the unique opportunities the conference presented. The connections forged and insights gained have not only left a lasting impact on my current PhD studies but have also broadened my international network, laying the groundwork for prospective collaborations. The unwavering support and accommodation extended by SRI contributed to making the entire experience seamless, ultimately rendering it immensely rewarding.