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Since 2004, UHN has given out the annual Global Impact Award at the reception following the Annual General Meeting. The award is given to UHN staff, past and present, who have been leaders in medicine and science, and whose work has led to improvements in health care well beyond our borders.
Dr. Charles Tator was selected as this year's recipient, in recognition of his pioneering research in spinal cord injury in Canada, and as an international leader in prevention of head injury. He was introduced at the award ceremony by Dr. Michael Fehlings, Medical Director, Krembil Neuroscience Centre, and a former student of Dr. Tator, who described Dr. Tator as his mentor. He also highlighted that UHN's high concentration of research chairs in neurosurgery—six to date—is a direct result of Dr. Tator's work and his impact on a generation of scientists and researchers.
Dr. Tator has been engaged in spinal cord research since the 1970s. His contributions to the field are too numerous to list, including developing the first acute spinal cord injury unit in Canada, demonstrating that post-traumatic ischemia is a major secondary injury mechanism, and inventing the inclined plane technique of functional assessment.
In addition to his research work, Dr. Tator has been recognized as a leader in brain injury prevention. As a result of his advocacy work, new legislation and guidelines were adopted to prevent spinal cord injury in hockey. He is the founder and president of ThinkFirst, an organization dedicated to preventing brain injury. Most recently, he has been working closely with the Canadian Football League Alumni Association to research the connection between repeated concussions and degenerative brain disease.
Among his many accolades, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2000, and inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2009.
Perhaps most notably, Dr. Tator was named one of Canada's top sports personalities, in its Sports Power 50 List, by the Globe and Mail, which even created a hockey card in his honour.
Congratulations to Dr. Tator on this honour.