An Opportunity for Cross-Regional Exchange & Learning 

The Latin America Paraplegia Society (SLAP) was established in 1997 and Asian Spinal Cord Network (ASCoN) in 2001. More recently the African SCI Network (AFSCIN) was established in 2015 and the Middle East – North Africa network (MENASCI) was formally established in 2019. SLAP, ASCoN and AFSCIN are ISCoS affiliated societies/networks with MENASCI in its the process of gaining affiliation to ISCoS. 

All networks are similar in that they actively promote and facilitate cross-regional exchange, education, capacity development, research and injury prevention in parts of the world where SCI services often remain limited. 

The “Network of Networks Day” was conceptualised and designed to provide a platform for all networks and the international SCI community to learn from each other and to discuss challenges and examples of good practice and to provide up-to-date knowledge in areas that remain problematic in many countries. 

This meeting will be organised as a virtual event held on 28 September 2021. 

Programme timing is based on GMT+1 / UTC+1 (London, United Kingdom) Time. 

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It is with great pleasure that I welcome you to the 2nd ISCoS Network of Networks Day. The “Day” provides a platform for Regional SCI Networks and the international SCI community to come to together and share experiences, challenges and successes in the development of services for people with SCI around the world. 

The first Network of Networks Day in 2020, held just prior to the ISCoS ASM, was very well received. Since that first virtual meeting there has been ongoing communication across the Regional Networks. I am delighted that once again, in 2021, ISCoS and the Networks have joined forces to organise the 2nd Networks Day.  

The programme is well designed and will introduce and discuss the ISCoS collaborative framework for Strengthening Health Systems in SCI, allowing the four Regional Networks to discuss the challenges related to the delivery of appropriate comprehensive SCI services and ways that these challenges can be overcome. Additionally and most importantly, the programme will demonstrate the powerful, positive and practical role that People with SCI and their representative organisations can and do play. 

I wish the 2nd Network of Networks Day every success and look forward to continued collaboration with the common goal of increasing access to comprehensive sci services for people around the globe.  

A/Prof Ruth Marshall
ISCoS President

A/Prof Ruth Marshall
ISCoS President


Organised by representatives of the four Regional Networks in conjunction with ISCoS External Relations and Education Committees, the first Network of Network day took place in September 2020, just prior to the ISCoS Annual Scientific meeting. It was well received and well attended by representatives from 17 countries. This first meeting provided practical  information and an opportunity for cross regional exchange and learning. This exchange has continued, and work has been ongoing between ISCoS and the Networks to design and organise the 2nd Network of Networks day with these objectives:

  • To introduce and discuss the ISCoS collaborative framework for Strengthening Health Systems in SCI in relation to the standardisation of SCI service delivery, work force development and emergency response. To present lessons from the field
  • To provide a platform for each of the four regional networks to discuss the challenges related to the delivery of appropriate comprehensive SCI services. To consider how challenges can be overcome and to provide practical examples where SCI services are functioning well in each region
  • To share experiences from the 4 Regional SCI Networks and demonstrate the powerful, positive and practical role that People with SCI and SCI representative organisations can play in relation to; advocacy and policy development; training and education; human resource development; community inclusion and public awareness

We look forward to welcoming you to join us in these discussions

Prof James Middleton
Clinical DirectorChair Network of Networks Day

Prof James Middleton
Clinical Director
Chair Network of Networks Day


Assoc Prof. Ruth Marshall ISCoS President

Assoc Prof. Ruth Marshall
ISCoS President
Dr. S Charlifue Hon. Secretary

Dr. S Charlifue
Hon. Secretary
Dr. E M Hagen Hon. Treasurer

Dr. E M Hagen Hon.
Dr. H S ChhabraEx President

Dr. H S Chhabra
Ex President


Dr Al- Ahmar
President Founder of MENASCI

Elma Burger
Chairperson of AFSCIN

Prof Nazirah Hasnan
University of Malaya Medical Centre

Dr Federico Montero
Director National Rehabilitation Center-San José

Mr Stephen Muldoon
Chairperson of ISCoS Education Committee

Dr Francois de Villiers Theron
Orthopaedic Surgeon

Dr. (Mohmmad Rami) Al-Ahmar

Physiatrist & Spinal Injury Consultant in Jordanian Royal Medical Services & Current President Founder of MENASCI Middle East North Africa Spinal Cord Injury Network.

Dr. (Mohmmad Rami) Al-Ahmar is holding a position of Physiatrist & Spinal Injury Consultant in Jordanian Royal Medical Services (JRMS). He acquired his MBBS, MD from Damascus University (Syria) and completed his residency in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Jordanian Board PM&R) in 2008.

In 2012 he achieved Spinal Cord Injury Fellowship (Robert Jones & Agnes Hunt Hospital, Oswestry, UK). During his career he has obtained numerous titles and membership: Consultant  of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation; Musculoskeletal and Spinal injury (PM&R JB); International Spinal Cord Injury Society (ISCoS) Educational Committee member; representative for Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region since 2015; Founder & current President of Middle East North Africa Spinal Cord Injury (MENASCI) Network; member of the WHO Development Expert Group (Package of Interventions for Rehabilitation 2030) for Spinal Cord Injury sub-committee; current Chief of the Scientific Committee for the Jordanian PM&R Medical Society; Vice President of the Jordanian Charitable Spinal Cord Injury Society (JoSCIS); General Secretary of the Jordanian Prevention Osteoporosis Society (JPOS); The Hashemite Commission for Disabled Soldiers Medical Consultant; WHO Liaison officer for Eastern Mediterranean- Sub Committee; past Chief of Infection Control Committee at Royal Rehab Centre; member of Infection Control Department, Wound Care and Ostomy committee ex-member; Dr. (Mohmmad Rami) Al-Ahmar acquired following honors: ISCoS & ASIA Award winner for best oral podium about “Pressure Ulcer and Bacterial strains” 2015 Montreal (Canada); United Nations Medal 2008 (Medal of Administrative Competence 2008), faculty speaker, guest speaker, moderator & organizing committee member in many national and international conferences, member of many medical societies: ISPRM, ESPRM, INSeRM, IOF, MASCIP.

Rola Al-Amer

Lecturer at Princess Muna College of Nursing, Mu’tah University

With great pride and fortune, I am an active lecturer in nursing at the Princess Muna College of Nursing, Mu’tah University, and hold the rank of lieutenant colonel. On 9 November 2005, I unfortunately suffered a catastrophic injury, as a result of the vile terrorist bombings that took place in Amman, which rendered me with a severe physical disability (C5 Tetraplegia). Although this tragic event was naturally a turning point in my life, I chose to accept my new life with all its challenges, including the physical limitations and the social barriers that persons with disabilities have to face on a daily basis in Jordan such as accessibility, discrimination, and shame of the disability. I resumed my work, and I continued my studies and obtained a master’s degree from King’s College London, with the goal of becoming a role model of determination and persistence for others. 

Alejandro Barthe (Alex)

Work Summary:

  • In several large telecommunication & IT companies in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • In FADEC (Argentine Blind Sports Federation). In 2 world cups held in the country (Torball, football). IT and interpreter.
  • As Lifeguard: in Barcelona, San Sebastián and Mallorca (Spain); Scarborough (England); Miramar (Argentina).
  • Participated in the foundation of Lifeguard Union in Miramar.

After my accident:

  • Designed and Performed a radio programme in Miramar. Mainly orientated to interviewing people including different topics (from the head of the council to healthcare issues, for example).
  • Developed projects with politicians to improve beach accessibility in Miramar, Argentoina.
  • Co-founder of Integrar Surf NGO to promote and organise the practise of adapted surf for disabled people and teach Lifeguards and others on how to help beach users with disabilities to be transferred from conventional wheelchairs to water type ones, or to the sand). Other members are Nicolás Gallegos (Argentine international representative) and Martín Passeri (6 times Argentine champion and 2 Latin-American champion).
  • From 2015 started coordinating council Life Guard service in General Alvarado (Miramar and Mar del Sud – 20 beaches). 
  • Within the Life Guard service, developed a project to visit schools and promote safety /self care when students of different ages go to the beach  and inclusion od people with disabilities
  • Organised through the Life Guard service that people can access council wheelchairs to go into the water.
  • Working closely with the media to expose the problem of accessibility (radios, newspaper, social networks)
  • I’m currently teaching English and statistics for Lifeguards to give them tools to make best decisions to reduce drownings.
  • I became a consultant for other Life Guard Services (procedures, training, signage, organization, statistics, public affairs, etc).

Me. Elma Burger

Spinal Cord Injury Unit Manager for Rita Henn & Partners at Netcare Rehab Hospital

Worked in Public sector hospitals in South Africa and England. Was the Gauteng Rehabilitation coordinator for over 20 years. Currently employed as Spinal Cord Injury unit manager for Rita Henn & Partners at Netcare Rehab Hospital in Johannesburg. 

Founder member and Chairperson of AFSCIN (African Spinal Cord Injury Network)

Prof. Dr. Nazirah Hasnan

Deputy Director (Medical), University of Malaya Medical Centre

Prof. Dr. Nazirah Hasnan is Consultant Rehabilitation Physician & Deputy Director (Clinical) University of Malaya Medical Centre. She is also a Senior Lecturer at Department of Rehabilitation Medicine Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya. Her qualification are PhD (UM-USYD), MRehabMed (UM) MBBS (UM)

Her areas of expertise and interest are Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation, Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, Pressure Ulcer and Wound Management

Pain Management, Technology for exercise and rehabilitation, (Functional Electrical Stimulation, Virtual Reality Rehabilitation), Exercise for spinal cord injury and persons with disabilities. Dr Nazirah is also engaged in Health Promotion for persons with disabilities

Prof. Claes Hultling

Professor, Spinalis SCI Unit

Dr Claes Hultling got his medical training at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. He specialized as an anesthesiologist and ICU-doctor, but sustained a spinal cord injury in a diving accident in 1984 at the age of 31 he became a tetraplegic. 

He decided to change specialty and got his training in rehabilitation medicine in Perth, Western Australia with Sir George Bedbrook. After returning to Sweden, he started the Spinalis unit together with his friend and colleague Richard Levi. Today the unit caters for a region with 2.5 million people and has 1,500 spinal cord injured patients listed in the out-patient unit. The in-patient unit holds 56 beds. The unit, that today is managed by Aleris, is situated about a mile away from the major Karolinska Hospital.

Claes Hultling has published about 100 articles in peer review journals and has received numerous awards over three decades. He is a keen sailor and participated in Paralympics in Sydney in the year 2000. He worked as a visiting Professor at the Stanford University during 2009-2010. 

Dr Claes Hultling has successfully been instrumental in building spinal cord units in Gaborone in Botswana, and in Windhoek in Namibia, and hopes to be able to fulfil the same in Lusaka in Zambia.

Dr. Jacques Lloyd

Founding Director of Afrique Rehabilitation & Research Consultants NPC

Dr Jacques Lloyd has been living with quadriplegia following a water-skiing accident sustained in 1988.  For more than 25 years, he has been lobbying for disability rights. Dr Lloyd regularly does accessibility assessments, counsels newly-injured persons with spinal cord injury and participates in sport. In addition, he participates in fundraising and training of Peer Supporters. Specialising in physical disabilities, Dr Lloyd completed his BA degree at Stellenbosch University and his Master’s degree in Europe, focusing on Adapted Physical Activities, Physical Education, Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy. In August 2019, he was awarded a PhD by the University of the Western Cape. His thesis focused on “Behavioural and protective factors contributing to the risk and vulnerability to HIV/AIDS among individuals with spinal cord injuries in South Africa”. 

Inka Löfvenmark

Physiotherapist at Spinalis

Inka Löfvenmark is a physiotherapist at Spinalis out-patient clinic in Stockholm and the International coordinator at the Spinalis Foundation. She was the project coordinator in the Spinalis Botswana SCI-rehabilitation project. In 2016 she defended her Ph.D. thesis on SCI in Botswana. The last years she has also been employed at Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences in India where she has been instrumental with establishing a SCI-rehabilitation unit as well as teaching physiotherapy students. She is also having some teaching sessions each semester at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden

Prof. James Middleton

Clinical Director, NSW Agency for Clinical Innovation

Professor James Middleton is Clinical Director of the NSW State Spinal Cord Injury Service and holds an academic appointment as Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research and The University of Sydney. He is also Senior Medical Specialist for the Spinal Outreach Service, based at Royal Rehab. James is a Consultant Physician in Rehabilitation Medicine with almost 30 years of clinical and research experience in the field of spinal cord injury (SCI) medicine and rehabilitation. Blending continuing clinical and management roles with his academic position affords James a unique opportunity to translate research evidence into improved rehabilitation practice, service planning, delivery and innovation, as well as enhanced health, functioning and quality of life outcomes for people with SCI. He has authored or co-authored over 150 peer-reviewed journal publications and 19 book chapters. James is Chair of the External Relations Committee for the International Spinal Cord Society, working closely with the World Health Organisation, ISCoS Affiliated Societies and Networks and other external societies in this role.

Jody-Anne Mills

Consultant, World Health Organization

Jody-Anne Mills is a consultant working for the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. She has a specific interest in issues related to workforce, including competency-based approaches, labour market analysis, and strategic planning. Jody-Anne has been the project lead for the development of the WHO Rehabilitation Competency Framework and associated resources, and the Guide for Rehabilitation Workforce Evaluation. She is also currently revising the Working for Health 2022-2030 Action Plan. Prior to joining WHO, Jody practiced as an occupational therapist in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Togo before completing her master’s degree in International Public Health. She is currently a PhD candidate at the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research at the University of Sydney.

Dr. Federico Montero

Director (Retired) National Rehabilitation Center-San José, Costa Rica

Doctor Federico Montero is a specialist in Medical Rehabilitation and during his whole clinical practice, he focused in SCI, organizing and managing the first SCI Unit and a Spina Bifida Clinic at the National Rehabilitation Center in Costa Rica, where he worked for over 30 years, after his training at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK. 

He also worked from 2002-2007 as medical officer and later on as Coordinator of the Disability and Rehabilitation Team, with the World Health Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland. During this time he kept a continues relation and colaboration with ISCoS. 

He currently continues as a member of the Postgraduate and Educational Team at the Rehabilitation Center in Costa Rica, and very active as Coordinator of the Latin America Society of Paraplegia (SLAP), which is the ISCoS Affiliated Society in Latin America. Working with SLAP, represents a great opportunity to contribute to disseminate information, promote research and organize educational activities on SCI in the region, in close collaboration with ISCoS. He is member of the ISCoS External Relation Committee.

He has contributed on various book´s chapters on rehabilitation and SCI and published papers on the issue, as well as issues related to rights of people with disabilities.

Stephen Muldoon

Chairperson of the Education Committee of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS), The International Spinal Cord Society

Having qualified as a registered general nurse in 1990, Stephen has worked for the past 25 years in low and middle income countries.  Working with various partner organisations he has a lengthy track record in supporting the design, development, establishment and strengthening of comprehensive and sustainable SCI healthcare and rehabilitation services in Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mongolia and most recently Ukraine.

He is a founding member of the Asian Spinal Cord Network (ASCoN), a network that provides a platform for cross regional exchange, education, data collection and research.  He has also supported the development of similar regional SCI networks in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America – Caribbean.

He is currently the Chairperson of the Education Committee of ISCoS and has played a key role in the conceptualisation, design and development of the award winning educational resource www.elearnsci.org as well as supporting a variety of educational initiatives, workshops and training courses across the globe.

After 25 years working as the Director of Livaibilty’s International programme, Stephen now works as an Independent Consultant in the field of rehabilitation system strengthening and organisational strategy development and implementation.

Dr. Vanessa Noonan, MSc PhD PT

Director of Research and Best Practice Implementation, Praxis Spinal Cord Institute

Dr. Vanessa Noonan is the Director of Research & Best Practice Implementation at Praxis Spinal Cord Institute. She is a physical therapist and has worked in both SCI acute and rehabilitation settings. Currently she oversees the Cure and Care Programs at Praxis and works with SCI stakeholders to implement and embed patient-centred approaches to facilitate the translation of SCI health research and innovations. During her doctoral degree, Vanessa helped initiate the Rick Hansen SCI Registry and is still actively working with sites nationally and internationally as well as analysing the data. As a representative from the Institute, she assisted with developing the first version of Accreditation Canada’s SCI Acute and Rehabilitation Standards and is part of team developing the first version of the Canadian SCI Practice (Can-SCIP) guidelines. In addition, she is part of the ISCoS International SCI Data Set Committee and the NIH NINDS SCI Common Data Elements Committee. To date, she has authored and co-authored over 160 peer-reviewed publications.

Colleen O’Connell, MD, FRCPC

Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 

Truly an East-coaster and never far from water, Colleen completed medical school at Memorial University of Newfoundland and residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Dalhousie University, Canada. She is Research Chief at New Brunswick’s Stan Cassidy Centre for Rehabilitation and is the Clinical Research Director of University of New Brunswick Institute of Biomedical Engineering, with faculty appointments at Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine. 

Believing in the strength of collaboration, or perhaps having difficulty saying no, she is a member of many networks: Canadian ALS Research Network, Praxis Spinal Cord Institute, Canadian SCI Alliance, Canadian Neurologic Diseases Network, Atlantic Mobility Action Project. She is a past-president of the Canadian Association of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 

Research interests and outputs are broad and reflect a tendency to being an early adopter in areas of treatment and applied technologies for mobility impairment and function. 

Development of best practices are priorities, and she contributes as member of the PVA SCI Guidelines Consortium, Canadian SCI Pain Guidelines Committee, ALS Canada Best Practice Recommendations and the Canadian Thoracic Society Home Mechanical Ventilation Guidelines. International collaborations are her passion, and she has worked in capacity building initiatives with friends and partners in many countries, and serves on the ISCoS External Relations Committee and represents ISCoS on the WHO Emergency Medical Teams SCI initiative and the SCI Service Module Advisory Group. In another life, she would be an adventure travel guide.

Alton Paas

Founder of Fundashon Alton Paas

Alton was born in Curaçao (Pronounced q-ruh-sao) on October 4, 1990. Known as a smiling young man with a passion for music. Alton is a writer, composer, inspirational speaker, and leader. On the 22nd of November 2009 Alton had a car accident that left him with a spinal cord injury. The cause of the accident is a heart condition named Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome. This is a heart condition that caused him to faint while he was driving. Since the accident Alton has been in a wheelchair inspiring other by giving different motivational speeches and workshops for company, business leaders, youth groups and even classes at schools.

During his recovery period he made himself a promise to work for a better quality of life for himself and his fellowman with SCI or with other physical disabilities. That is why he founded ‘Fundashon Alton Paas’ on 7th of September 2012. It is a nonprofit organization with the goal to raise awareness and also works for a better quality of life for people with a spinal cord injury.

Shivjeet Singh Raghav

Peer Counselor, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre

Patient Education Coordinator and Peer Counselor at the prestigious and world famous rehabilitation centre, Indian Spinal Injuries Centre, New Delhi. Despite himself being a person with spinal cord injury, he has been working relentlessly for the last many years and helping people with spinal cord injury and disabilities to integrate back into the society.

Dr. Francois de Villiers Theron

Orthopaedic Surgeon, Southern African Spinal Cord Association (SASCA), African Spinal Cord Injuries Network (AFSCIN)

Francois is a qualified Orthopedic Surgeon with twenty-nine years’ experience. He has been in full-time private practice for the past eighteen years. Francois’ field of specialty is spinal surgery with a keen interest in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Francois is the Medical Director of a Multi-disciplinary Rehabilitation Unit where his specific field of interest and experience is the rehabilitation of spinal cord- and neurological injured patients. The unit was established at the Mediclinic Muelmed Hospital in Pretoria in 2002.

Francois is an Honorary Consultant to Tshwane Rehabilitation Hospital in Pretoria and serves as an Extra-ordinary Lecturer to the Department of Orthopedics, at the University of Pretoria (Dec. 2017 – currently). He has a number of research interests including Quality of life projects in relation to Spinal Cord Afflictions, specifically bladder management and upper limb reconstructions. He partakes in several international collaborative projects.

Francois serves as Chairman of the Clinical advisory panel of SASCA/ QASA. This panel advises the consumer organization, Quad/Para Association (QASA) on clinical matters affecting their members.

Francois serves as Chair of the Affiliated Societies and Networks subcommittee of the External Relations Committee of the International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS).  He is also a member of the Spine trauma study group of ISCoS.

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The 2nd ISCoS Network of Networks Day’ (Code: 136932) has been approved by the Federation of the Royal Colleges of Physicians of the United Kingdom for 6 category 1 (external) CPD credit(s).

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ISCoS Regional Symposia – fostering education to strengthen SCI Care across the globe

An International society offering regional support solutions

With our regional symposia we will bring the best elements of ISCoS research and education to parts of the world where SCI services and human resources have been identified as areas that require strengthening and support. The ISCoS community endeavours to share knowledge and research to offer the best possible SCI Care, to offer a higher quality of life after a spinal cord injury.


ISCoS is on the move

We will organise the event, develop the programme and conduct each symposium with the support of a Local Organising Committee and where possible with an ISCoS Affiliated Society or Regional SCI Network.

By working collaboratively with international and local partners, affiliated societies, and regional SCI networks in each symposium’s design and delivery, we will ensure that the programme and content are relevant to the identified needs of the hosting region.

The ISCoS regional symposia aim to:

  • Bring some of the outcomes from the annual International ISCoS Meeting to a wider audience • Increase knowledge skills and confidence in SCI management
  • Increase awareness and facilitate policy dialogue in relation to SCI service provision
  • Increase capacity to collect data and enhance research capacity
  • Increase awareness of ISCoS programmes and membership


About the Society

The International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS) promotes the highest standard of care in the practice of spinal cord injury for men, women and children throughout the world. Our purpose is to study all problems relating to traumatic and non-traumatic lesions of the spinal cord including prevention, basic and clinical research, medical and surgical management, clinical practice, medical and surgical management, education, rehabilitation and social reintegration. Through its medical and multi-disciplinary team of Professionals, ISCoS endeavours to foster education, research and clinical excellence. For more information about the society, please visit www.iscos.org.uk.


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