ThinkFirst Nova Scotia
Medical Director: Dr. Simon Walling
Phone Number: 902-473-8453
Coordinator: Lynne Fenerty, RN
Phone Number: 902-473-7895
During the summer of 1990, a dramatic increase in spinal cord injuries due to diving was noted in Nova Scotia along with similar Canadian trends of 60 spinal cord injuries related to diving from 1987-1999. Although improving outcomes for persons who suffer a spinal cord injury is paramount, equally important is the prevention of these devastating injuries.
SCIP Nova Scotia was formed from a committed group of neuroscience health care professions and community agencies to promote the prevention of traumatic central nervous system injuries. SCIP NS was formed and adopted from the SCIP model developed in British Columbia, a joint project of the University Hospital-Shaughnessy Site and the British Columbia Paraplegic Association.
In 1991, SCIP Nova Scotia (NS) concentrated efforts on promoting awareness and educating the public in the areas of water safety and injury prevention. The Honourable George Moody, Minister of Health proclaimed May11-18, 1991, Spinal Awareness Week.
SCIP NS was supported by Canadian Association of Neuroscience Nurse, NS Chapter, Department of Neurosurgery, Victoria General Hospital, NS Rehab Centre, Canadian Paraplegic Association, Red Cross Society of NS and Royal Life Saving Society of NS. Financial assistance was established by the Paul Macleod fund for Spinal Cord Injury. This fund was set up by the family of Paul, who died as a result of a spinal cord injury. Dianne Pottie, Neurosurgical ICU Nurse was the Chairperson of SCIP.
In 1992 ThinkFirst Canada, Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program was founded and was incorporated within the SCIP NS program. ThinkFirst had developed resource material and binders for school programs. This program was delivered to schools throughout NS. In 2000, Lynne Fenerty joined the Division of Neurosurgery and became involved in the SCIP/ThinkFirst activities with Director, Dr. David Clarke and Coordinator, Dianne Pottie. Later, Dr. Simon Walling became director and Lynne became the coordinator.
Over time with the growth of ThinkFirst and expansion of programs, ThinkFirst/SCIP NS has also grown in its scope and delivery of programs. There has, however, been more work done with regards to brain injury prevention and research than spinal cord injury prevention to date. Although all school programs and community education programs delivered include both brain and spinal cord injury prevention, the majority of program development and growth has been related to brain injury prevention and helmet programs supported by the Department of Health and Wellness, ThinkFirst and the Division of Neurosurgery. In NS, we have become leaders in injury prevention; advocacy, education, research, and programming.
- Injury Prevention - advocacy, eduation, research and programming
- Ski and Snowboarding Helmet observational studies and marketing campaigns
- Operation Headway: Noggin’ Knowledge, a helmet enforcement and fines alternative education program, designed and delivered by Neurosurgery since 2004; adopted as a ThinkFirst Canada National Program.
- We continue to deliver brain and spinal cord injury prevention and concussion management programs for schools, community groups and professionals throughout Nova Scotia and Canada.
- We act as a major referral base for helmets, brain injury, concussion and injury prevention research; fulfilling many requests for support and resources throughout Nova Scotia and Canada.
Div. of Neurosurgery: ThinkFirst Injury Prevention.