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2023 Message from the Chair of the Board of Directors

"I’ve been lucky enough to have a front-row seat to OBI’s evolution since the very beginning, and upon reflection it didn’t take long for the organization and its team to become recognized as beacons of hope for the one in three Ontarians living with brain disorders, as well as their families and caregivers."

Todd Vienneau, Board Chair

The past year finally allowed for the opportunity to mark 10 years of impact in brain health at the Ontario Brain Institute’s Decennial. The event brought the brain health community together to reflect on past success and set the course for the next ten years of excellence in brain health. It was also a time to celebrate leadership by honouring members of the brain health community across OBI’s three areas of impact. Dr. Evdokia Anagnostou was given the Donald T. Stuss Award for Research Leadership, named after OBI’s Founding Scientific Director. Mel Barksy was given the Joseph L. Rotman Award for Entrepreneurship, named after OBI’s Founding Board Chairman. And Epilepsy Ontario was given the Community Builder Award, recognizing their efforts to build partnerships with researchers and industry that support their patient community. It was memorable to see these awards given out to these exceptional leaders while recognizing the vision of OBI’s two founders whom I had the distinct pleasure to work with.

I’ve been lucky enough to have a front-row seat to OBI’s evolution since the very beginning, and upon reflection it didn’t take long for the organization and its team to become recognized as beacons of hope for the one in three Ontarians living with brain disorders, as well as their families and caregivers. Afterall, long before the pandemic forced us to seek new pathways to access therapies and support, OBI was pioneering new pathways to impact, introducing innovative solutions, and building partnerships in the Ontario brain health ecosystem.

Part of OBI’s evolution is realizing that impact is achieved in various ways.

Research impact is seen through the strong, collaborative networks involving 167 researchers and 45 community and industry partners working together to address pressing challenges in brain health. Together they have supported 22 clinical trials and, in the process, built one of the most comprehensive brain health databases in the world, drawing 335 requests from research groups across the globe.

Economic impact is shown through the development of a vibrant neurotech cluster of 100 portfolio companies that have attracted an additional $330 million in investments, bringing 21 products to market.

Community impact is demonstrated through the partnerships with patients, families and community organizations to create 565 knowledge products that support brain health and reaching over 1.4 million people through our brain our public talks, events, and digital tools.

After 12 years, OBI’s innovative approach is creating the types of impact envisioned by Dr. Stuss and Mr. Rotman. Importantly, these impacts are realized not only in Ontario but more broadly across the global brain health landscape. Through the thoughtful and methodical strategies developed and executed by bold and fearless leadership, OBI has advanced research into brain disorders that is improving the way we care for the one in three individuals impacted, while ensure economic value is created in Ontario.

As I finish my term as Chair of the Board of Directors, I want to thank my fellow Board members, current and past, and the entire OBI team for allowing me to be a part of such a game-changing movement. It has been the privilege of a lifetime to have witnessed the work and leadership of OBI since the very first day, and I have complete confidence they will change the future of brain health for Ontario, for Canada, and beyond.