Dr. Brian Kwon wins inaugural Craig H. Neilsen Visionary Prize

UBC Orthopaedics Professor, Dr. Brian Kwon, is one of three winners of the inaugural Craig H. Neilsen Visionary Prize! Dr. Kwon and co-winners will each receive US $1 million for their distinctive contributions and demonstrated excellence in the world of spinal cord injury (SCI), in honour of late entrepreneurial leader Craig H. Neilsen.

“I am so humbled and grateful to be recognized by the Neilsen Foundation with this award” said Dr. Kwon, also an attending orthopaedic spine surgeon at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH), associate director of clinical research at the International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD) and a researcher at Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute (VCHRI). “While it is in my name, I feel that it really is a recognition of the remarkable people that I have had the opportunity to work with through the years – amazing mentors, brilliant collaborators, great partners and organizational partnerships – all striving to make a difference for people living with SCI.”


“This is a significant award and recognizes Dr. Brian Kwon’s exceptional contributions to the field of spinal cord injury. He is helping to strengthen translation capabilities by accelerating the transfer of research to care, and improving the lives of people with spinal cord injury here in Canada and around the world.”

Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of UBC’s Faculty of Medicine and Vice President, Health at UBC


Brian Kwon has made several landmark contributions to SCI treatment and rehabilitation including the establishment of a biobank to share valuable SCI tissue specimens with other scientists in an effort to help the international research community expedite the search for new therapies. He has also has sought to bridge the gap between scientific discovery and clinical practice with translational SCI research studies.

The UBC Department of Orthopaedics would like to congratulate Dr. Brian Kwon for receiving this incredible prize!

About the Prize:

The Craig H. Neilsen Visionary Prize was established in 2020 to honor the memory and legacy of Craig H. Neilsen. Created to reflect his dreams for the spinal cord injury (SCI) community, Prize recipients are influential voices for the world of SCI, unafraid to take bold risks. They also show great potential to expand or advocate for new ideas to enrich lives affected by SCI.

The Prize highlights values that were important to Craig in his lifetime. Recipients reflect many of the qualities that Craig was well known for, such as extraordinary determination, inexhaustible passion, and an ability to inspire. This unrestricted $1 million award is meant to draw attention to and celebrate passionate individuals advancing the world of SCI.

– Source: Craig H. Neilsen Foundation

Learn more:

A version of this story originally appeared on the ICORD website.

A version of this story also appeared on the UBC Faculty of Medicine website.