Who are we?

We are:

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada : Currently active or recently retired health care professionals who are specialists in caring for people with spinal cord injury, we are sharing our skills and knowledge with our colleagues in Nepal. We are all affiliated with the UBC and with one or more Vancouver hospitals.

Dr Scott Paquette (image right) is a spinal neurosurgeon and clinical assistant professor with an interest in medical education. He is an investigator with the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries. He travelled again to Nepal in November 2013.


Dr Rhonda Willms (image left) is the Medical Manager of the Spinal Cord Injury Program at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre. She is also a Clinic Assistant Professor in the Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the University of British Columbia. She is an Associate Member at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries and joined the team presenting in workshops in Nepal in November 2013.


Dr Claire Weeks (image left, on the right, seen here with SIRC administrator Sandra Boone) is a specialist rehabilitation physician who spent several years at the GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre working exclusively with people with spinal cord injury.



Dr Peter Wing (image right, on the left) worked for years as an orthopedic spine surgeon and was head of orthopaedics and/or spine surgery in two Vancouver hospitals. Here, reviewing the acute spine surgical services in Kathmandu, he confers with Kathmandu neurosurgeons Drs Bista and Rajhbhandari.



Nathan O’Hara (image left) was a logistician affiliated with the Orthopedic Department of UBC with experience providing support to medical teams in a number of countries; most notably with the Uganda Sustainable Trauma Orthopaedic Program (USTOP) – for more information on this program, click here . Nathan was a great help setting up our program.


Birgitte head shot


Birgitte Biorn (right) is an educator who participated with us in workshops in Nepal in November 2013

Kate Coffey (image below right) is a wealth manager and investment counselor who worked as a volunteer with SIRC for several months from December 2013 to April 2014. She worked on a number of projects there – for details read her blog.


Kate C 1


Team members on previous visits:

Grant Huston (image above left) is a physiotherapist with years of experience working with SCI at GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre in Vancouver. Here he tries a three-wheel chair on the rough training track at SIRC.

Kim van Wyk (image left) is an occupational therapist and health planner working on the SCI service at GF Strong Centre. Here, lunchtime is another opportunity to teach.Renee

Perugia, Italy: Dr Renee Maschke (image right) is the Medical Director of the Spinal Cord Injury Unit in Perugia and joined us on our November 2013 trip. She is hoping to return to SIRC within the next year.

Kathmandu, Nepal: There are too many good friends and colleagues associated with SIRC to name them all individually. Representing the Board is founding Chair Kanak Mani Dixit (see below with Stephen Muldoon of Livability Ireland); representing the staff is Director Esha Thapa, seen left with frequent visitor and consultant psychologist Dr Stanley Ducharme of Boston.

Please note that we all travel to Nepal at our own expense.

Meet two impressive people who reached out to us. 

We would like to introduce you to two important people who have inspired and encouraged our work.

Kanak Mani Dixit (left) The SCI rehabilitation story began with Kanak’s fall in 2002. He injured his neck and spinal cord but was lucky enough to have sustained little lasting  neurological deficit. He was also far-sighted enough to realize that Nepal needed to develop a rehabilitation program for those with similar injuries whose outcomes were less fortunate.

Stephen Muldoon (right) is an Irish-trained nurse with years of experience helping develop SCI rehab programs in Asia in conjunction with the charity Livability Ireland. He asked us in 2009 to assist with training staff at the SIRC which had just moved into a new building. For the first time, they were to have their own physician. He was an enthusiastic young doctor, trained in Kathmandu, but had no formal education about and no experience working with people with spinal cord injury (SCI). Livability Ireland and its leaders Stephen and Maggie Muldoon received the 2013 UK Charity award in the Disability Category – for more information click here.