4 years ago

Annual Report 2008-2009 - Australian Spinal Research Foundation

Annual Report 2008-2009 - Australian Spinal Research Foundation


ANNUAL REPORT 2008 2009 The events serve the vital purpose of fundraising. They also engage chiropractors, chiropractic assistants and students within a community of people who demonstrate success in the practice of chiropractic. They provide a forum whereby practical experience can be shared, mentorship facilitated and fellowship strengthened. I believe this is crucial to our healthy development as a profession. They also provide a vehicle for those who wish to contribute to our profession in a volunteer capacity. Associate governors, honorary consultants, research committee and clinical advisory panel members, logistics coordinators and team leaders at our events, volunteers in the office and many others support Spinal Research in an extremely valuable way. To them we remain always grateful and I restate here, to them, how vital their contribution is for the successful and profitable ‘running’ of the Foundation. Importantly, they also strengthen the resolve of the Governors to steadfastly and with great gumption pursue the manifestation of our vision, which ultimately is the reason why volunteers give their time and effort. To ensure sustained success from Board level, there needs to be a culture of following through on initiatives, accountability and ultimately a high level of mission ownership across the Board. Going back a few years, this culture was set in place, through example, by past President Dr Brian Kelly. Through maturity and the appointment of CEO Mr Roley Cook, Spinal Research began to increase its level of activity and influence and it was clear that distributed leadership was fundamental to reaching our goals. Having the right people on board for such a model is, of course, integral to its success. I had every confidence, when I took on the role of President three years ago, that we did indeed have the right people and the years since have borne that out. To single out some individuals runs the risk of minimising others’ involvement, yet I must do so for two people as their extreme service must be recognised. • Dr Ray Hayek, Deputy President during my years as President, has been a tower of strength. He brings key knowledge of academia and research and has done enormous work to merge those two arenas with our vision, which has come more from the clinical perspective. This is no small achievement. In Ray’s own words, “this job is not done yet”, and I thank him hugely for his ongoing commitment to a pivotal task. Massive expansion of the research output … is a goal that surely all sections of our profession can rally towards. • Dr Martin Harvey’s work over the last three years has been nothing short of extraordinary. He has travelled three times to the U.S. to develop our international relationships. This year he has headed up the 2009 Parker Seminar organising committee. He has spoken extensively at DG Experiences and many other forums, demonstrating leadership at every opportunity in order to advance the cause of quality chiropractic research. He always does this with extreme clarity of purpose and eloquence. Dr Lisa Shelton has indicated that due to family reasons she is stepping down from the Board this year. In her two years as a Governor Lisa has contributed immensely. In fact, she has set the standard in terms of getting things done and committing herself fully to her roles. Much of her work has been in the area of our publications including our newsletter, Illuminate. Lisa’s attitude is simple and powerful. She is a chiropractor and, therefore, it is natural that she will serve her profession, as well as her patients and her self, throughout her life. I express here our thanks for her contribution and my sincere hope that in the future we will once again see her serve Spinal Research in a formal capacity. In closing, I wish to advise I have decided that the time is right for me to step aside as President. It has been a great honour and privilege to contribute in such a way. I am proud and honoured to have worked with such a committed group of people that is the Board members and staff with whom I have shared the experience. I intend to continue to serve on the Board and engage in Spinal Research’s activities doing what I can to support the Foundation in its mission. Thanks to all our members and donors for their continued support. We are on an exciting journey. Massive expansion of the research output, in time proving that life does indeed go better with chiropractic, is a goal that surely all sections of our profession can rally towards. Dr David Cahill President “ We are in the business of marrying the very highest scientific credibility to a vision which is fundamentally connected to chiropractic principles ” and practice. Dr David Cahill, 2008 Dr David Cahill at the University of Newcastle Associate Professor Barbara Polus 2

Our mission is to fund research and disseminate knowledge that furthers the understanding, development and effectiveness of chiropractic care. Research Committee Chair Report This year has been most productive. Our ongoing research initiatives have been focused in three key areas : 1. working more closely with members of the chiropractic research community 2. supporting outstanding research proposals 3. encouraging and administering increased numbers of research enquiries from both local and international researchers. The President’s Report highlights several areas of active engagement with researchers. We are delighted that relationships continue to grow and provide impetus to delivering on the Foundation’s mission. The calibre of Expressions of Interest (EOI), along with full grant proposals, is becoming exceptional and is a reflection of what our Research Committee (RC) has been encouraging and nurturing over the last three years. All applicants now have access to a Research Committee member during their application preparation so that guiding principles from peer reviews are considered. This ensures that final applications received by the Foundation are of high quality. It is very encouraging to see that researchers have responded well to this initiative. With the quality of applications being received, our challenge, across the profession, is to marry growing researcher interest, capability and quality with increased funds. In an environment of emerging high need to fund more research, the Foundation is looking at new and novel ways to raise more funds. The President’s Report announces that we will launch an extensive research initiative. This is a major and challenging undertaking that the Board has been working towards for some time. In addition we are exploring the development of collaborative partnerships within institutions and government to increase our funding capacity. Our Foundation is determined to open up additional funding streams to support chiropractic based and clinically applicable research initiatives for our profession. The Foundation’s Research Agenda Working Committee (RAWC) met earlier this year to examine and review research priorities for 2009. It was resolved that our published research priorities accurately reflect the Foundation’s position for this funding round. Our 2009 research priorities included: Priority 1: Basic Research There are a limited number of research initiatives which look at various elements of the vertebral subluxation complex and its physiological impact. The Foundation is interested in supporting projects that further these initiatives in a multidisciplinary, collaborative environment and clinical uptake by: • Research carried out towards expanding our knowledge of the vertebral subluxation complex. Priority 2: Clinical Research While there are many clinical trials and studies that look at various elements of chiropractic care, the Foundation is interested in clinically oriented studies that contribute to, and expand our knowledge base about, the impact of chiropractic adjustments on: • the spine • nervous system function • global health and • quality of life. With the quality of applications being received, our challenge, across the profession, is to marry growing researcher interest, capability and quality with increased funds. By having key research priorities and a Board committed to the importance of continuity of funding access, the Foundation has again provided research grant support despite the shadow cast by the global financial crisis. By having key research priorities and a Board committed to the importance of continuity of funding access, the Foundation has again provided research grant support despite the shadow cast by the global financial crisis. We believe that out of difficult times extraordinary possibilities arise to those who are keen to grow stronger. We believe that this is the time for chiropractic researchers to collaborate on research initiatives, especially those that are grounded by key professional research priorities. Our Foundation is very keen to forge alliances here and those that gain our full support. I would like to thank members of the RAWC group, which include: Drs Martin Harvey, David Cahill, Mark Uren and Mr Roley Cook for their support, contribution and ongoing passion towards creating opportunities to sustain our current research initiatives. Their capacity to explore new and novel ways with which we can open up extra opportunities for our researchers is an asset to our Foundation and, indeed, our profession. This group met in July to workshop a wide range of research initiatives, along with other possible funding streams, to consider over the next three years. Funding Agreement The Foundation’s funding agreement with researchers has been redrafted to reflect current expectations and recommendations from the Board during this funding round. We have adopted more stringent and frequent reporting requirements along with assurances from both grant recipients and their institution that projects will be adequately resourced with required infrastructure, outside Foundation funds, to ensure their success. I can share with you that this condition has already made a difference. An approved application for 2009 was not accepted by the recipient and their institution initially, as they could not satisfactorily meet this funding requirement and they opted to delay their acceptance until they could meet all grant approval requirements and obligations. In addition, we have reviewed cash flow management of funding grants by introduction of grant payments against agreed cash flow programs. Prudent mechanisms like these ensure that our research funds, those that are derived from member activities, contributions and donations are dispersed with our utmost care to ensure the best return on research investments. 2009 Funding Round The 2009 funding round marks our third year of grant making since the introduction of our Research Culture Statement and our Research Priorities. During the 2009 funding period, eleven EOI were received. In this mix there were three applications from North America. EOI applications were assessed for their relevance, merit and potential by the Research Committee and our Clinical Advisory Panel (CAP). EOI scores were averaged and the seven highest scoring applications were then invited to submit full grant applications after peer review. 3

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