Our Founder and History
IPBIS Founder- Dr. Jane Gillett
Dr. Jane Gillett was the Medical Director of the Acquired Brain Injury Program at Hamilton Health Sciences (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) an Associate Professor at McMaster University, and Chair of the Knowledge Mobilization Committee for the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation. Most importantly, Jane developed the Paediatric Acquired Brain Injury Community Outreach Program (PABICOP) in London, Ontario in 1999 which remains an international model for serving children with acquired brain injuries and their families.
Dr. Gillett was a unique and wonderful blend of a passionate and caring physician and a fun loving and generous friend. She cared deeply for children and youth with ABI and was deeply committed to creating professional alliances and programs with national and international implications. She was a natural teacher who never stopped learning from others. Over the years, she gathered around her many professionals who had varying expertise in the world of pediatric ABI. Many of us were privileged to know Jane as a friend as well as a colleague and she had a unique ability to make her colleagues her friends. Jane had a smile that could light up the room and her love of people shone through her interactions with patients, colleagues and friends. She possessed an amazing talent of bringing people who ought to know each other together. Jane was truly collaborative, both as a doctor and a leader in the brain injury community, and it is very telling that many of her colleagues became her close friends. Jane nurtured each of her relationships carefully, and then introduced us all to each other.
Thus, it was Jane, at a meeting of the International Brain Injury Association in Lisbon, who brought together several international friends to create the International Paediatric Brain Injury Society (IPBIS), with a vision to link professionals across countries to share knowledge and emerging best practices. With Dr. Gillett’s drive and motivation, a meeting was held the following year in Toronto and IPBIS became a reality.
Sadly, “Dr. Jane”, after a courageous battle with a rare and aggressive cancer, passed away February 16, 2011.
We have and will continue with Dr. Jane Gillett’s dream…. Thank you Jane!
Once IPBIS was formed, Jane Gillett became the President of the new organization but when we, unfortunately, lost our amazing founder, we decided not to appoint another president – that role was and always will be Jane’s. We were all very determined that the organisation would continue to grow and that we would work to try to achieve Jane’s dreams. The rest of her family continue to be supportive of our work.
In order to achieve our and Jane’s aims, we put the organisation on a much stronger footing in 2014 by becoming affiliated with the International Brain Injury Association (IBIA) which is an established organisation with a proven record of publications, conferences etc.
We had been able to have some presence at meetings organised by other associations, such as the European Academy of Childhood Disability (EACD), the World Federation for NeuroRehabilitation (WFNR) and IBIA but following the affiliation we were able to hold our own conference with the backing of IBIA. The first International conference on childhood ABI was held in Liverpool, UK, in 2015, followed by a second in Rome, Italy, in 2017. The subsequent IPBIS conference was held just a year later, in order to fit with the pattern of IBIA World Congresses, and so we decided that this should be a smaller meeting, which was held in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
IPBIS has produced a ‘Toolbox’ listing strategies and programmes from around the world that are being used to support young people with ABI and their families. This is freely available and regularly updated. Most of the ‘tools’ are free to use. We also now produce a regular newsletter to showcase the latest innovations and research connected with paediatric ABI.
The next, and potentially largest, conference was originally planned for 2020 in New York, USA but this had to be postponed twice as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. In the meantime, we ran a series of webinars delivered by accepted presenters for the conference. We also participated in a virtual conference in July 2021 in collaboration with IBIA and other organisations.