The history of ISCoS can be traced to Stoke Mandeville Hospital in the UK. The National Spinal Injuries Centre at this hospital, founded in February 1944 by Dr Ludwig Guttmann (later Sir Ludwig Guttmann), started the National Stoke Mandeville Games in 1948 and the International Stoke Mandeville Games in 1952. In 1955 doctors from various countries who accompanied their teams to these Games, started to meet informally to discuss their clinical work and research. As these meetings became larger and more formal, the International Medical Society of Paraplegia was founded in 1961 and its journal 'Paraplegia' in 1963, now known as 'Spinal Cord' with Sir Ludwig Guttmann as the President. This Society was later renamed as International Spinal Cord Society in the year 2001 and has since expanded to include allied health professionals.
The Annual Scientific Meetings of ISCoS are now held in many different countries by rotation. In addition Regional Meetings are supported by the Society throughout the world. ISCoS has approximately 1000 members. There are 18 affiliated societies.
The objectives of ISCoS are to:
- Serve as an international impartial, non-political and non-profit making association whose purpose is to study all problems relating to traumatic and non-traumatic lesions of the spinal cord. This includes causes, prevention, basic and clinical research, medical and surgical management, clinical practice, education, rehabilitation and social reintegration. The society will function in close collaboration with other national and international bodies, thereby encouraging the most efficient use of available resources.
- Provide a scientific exchange among its members and others by collecting and disseminating information through publications, correspondence, exhibitions, regional and international seminars, symposia, conferences and otherwise.
- Advise, encourage, promote and when requested, assist in efforts to coordinate or guide research, development and evaluation activities related to spinal cord lesions throughout the world.
- Advise, encourage, guide and support the efforts of those responsible for the care of patients involved and when requested, correlate these activities throughout the world.
- Advise, encourage, guide and support the efforts of those responsible for the education and training of medical professionals and professionals allied to medicine and when requested, correlate these activities throughout the world.
In order to meet its objectives, ISCoS has the following 5 Committees:
- Education Committee
- Prevention Committee
- Scientific Committee
- Ethical Committee
- Membership Committee
More details about the Society are available on www.iscos.org.uk
Education Committee of ISCoS
The Education Committee coordinates and implements the various education activities of International Spinal Cord Society (ISCoS). Two of its key initiatives in recent years have been to facilitate observerships (where clinicians from one country spend time at a spinal unit in another country) and run training workshops on spinal cord injury management. Further details about the Committee are available on http://www.iscos.org.uk/education-committee
The elearning project was an initiative of the Education Committee of ISCoS under the chairmanship of Dr H S Chhabra. The Executive, Council and General Body of ISCoS readily approved the project since it was in accordance with their objectives.
The role of ISCoS in the elearning project has been primarily to develop and review the educational resource, ensure quality control, oversee sustainability and provide advocacy.