BritSpine 2023: Making Memorable to Spine Care Professionals

The future for Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM) looked bright in the Glasgow sunshine at BritSpine 2023! This international conference, held at the Scottish Event Campus from April 18-20, attracted over 600 delegates across the spine care profession. The UK Spine Societies Board (UKSSB) Secretary Mike Grevitt and Chair Sashin Ahuja, with indefatigable Executive Assistant Henry Dodds and team, put together a feast of knowledge covering most spinal pathologies.

The program had a strong focus on Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy (DCM), with enlightening talks from orthopaedic surgeon and RECODE-DCM collaborator Dr Brian Kwon (Vancouver, Canada), Co-Founders Dr Benjamin Davies and Dr Mark Kotter, and Scientific Adviser Dr Michael Fehlings, alongside many of our wonderful RECODE-DCM Steering Committee and Incubator members. Co-Founder Iwan Sadler, although unable to attend in person, linked in virtually with a highly engaging video describing his struggle for a diagnosis and stressing the importance of early recognition of DCM to all those who treat spine patients.

Thanks to the coordination of Trustee Carol Sun-Schuster with the BritSpine events team, we were allocated a booth in the exhibition hall, which attracted a busy stream of visitors. They signed up to our RECODE-DCM research network and took away information about our support groups and research program to share with patients and colleagues. We showed our new signposting leaflet to hundreds of delegates, asking them to print it to hand out to their patients.

This is the first time that Trustees from the charity have attended a conference, with them covering their own expenses as a donation to the charity. We extend huge gratitude to Roy Smith, who has a background in medical technology and became a Trustee earlier this year, and Helen Wood, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Their welcoming smiles at the booth made a well-recognised and memorable presence.

The Glasgow meeting was a long-awaited opportunity for the community to come together, after the previous BritSpine was cancelled due to COVID-19. It was a great chance especially for our RECODE-DCM project manager Liz Roberts to meet those involved with and help raise awareness of DCM and the charity. “It’s wonderful to be among friends,” said Dr Brian Kwon. “Everybody’s talking about!”

Spreading the Vibe

It was heartwarming to make new friends and acquaintances in the world of spine care. “I’ve got the vibe”, laughed Steven Vogel, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University College of Osteopathy and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine.

Steven has kindly invited us to publish an infomercial about in an upcoming issue, which will be hugely beneficial in raising awareness among osteopaths and their related professional networks. We are also delighted to report that Sashin Ahuja has commissioned us to write an article describing our research and support initiatives, to appear in the next issue of the British Association of Spine Surgeons’ publication, Column and Cord.

We are most grateful to them for their invitations and we look forward to this opportunity to share our work with a wider audience. “It’s time to think differently and work collectively in DCM”, said Dr Benjamin Davies. “As our profile grows among spine professionals, we can synergise our collective efforts and stimulate much-needed progress in DCM.” 

Today, Glasgow . . . Tomorrow, The World!

At the conference dinner (including haggis, neeps and tatties, of course!), the charity was the beneficiary of a fundraising raffle, with prizes including a highly tempting case of rare wine, a hotel stay in Glasgow with dinner and a concert.

The Glasgow Science Centre was a fantastic choice of location for the dinner. The interactive scientific displays, including brain lesion spot-the-difference, grip strength and balance board tests, brought out the geeky side of most and the competitive side of many. Some showed their wild side too, with the Scottish ceilidh band whipping up dancing and laughter into the wee hours.

Helen Wood gave a rousing speech in support of and managed to raise £4500. Kudos to Helen for conjuring such enthusiasm for the charity! We congratulate the prize winners and extend our heartfelt gratitude for the enormous generosity of certain raffle entrants. Your support means the world to us and we will never forget it. 

In conclusion,’s success in raising awareness of DCM at BritSpine proves the importance of spreading the word and making connections at scientific conferences near and far. Please consider donating to to enable us to widen our outreach.

Relevant Content Shared at BritSpine to Help Raise Awareness of DCM

Keynote Speeches
Dr Mark Kotter: An Update on Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy
Dr Brian Kwon: Novel Approaches to Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Dr Benjamin Davies: Degenerative Cervical Myelopathy – Beyond the Operating Theatre
Dr Mark Kotter and Dr Brian Kwon: The Asymptomatic Patient with Spinal Cord Compression – What Should I Do? Arguments for Early Surgery or Observation
Oral Presentations
Dr Benjamin Davies, Dr Michael Fehlings (virtual), Dr Lindsay Tetreault (virtual), Dr Chad Cook (virtual; RECODE-DCM Steering Committee): Myelopathy Research Priorities
Dr Matthew Dixon (Natural History Incubator): Now or Later? Emergency vs Elective Surgery for DCM – A Service Evaluation from Practice
Dr Julia Tabrah (Diagnostic Criteria Incubator): Can a Training Workshop on DCM be Used to Increase Awareness and Triage Confidence among General Practitioners? A Pilot Study: Can an Informal Consensus Process be used to Identify the Early, Middle and Late Stage Symptoms of DCM?
Dr Christine Fraser (Perioperative Rehabilitation Incubator) and Karen Outram: Exploring the Nuances of Managing a Patient with DCM from Primary to Secondary Care
Dr Lianne Wood (Perioperative Rehabilitation Incubator): The Evolution of a Secondary Care Advanced Practitioner Myelopathy Pathway  
Brett Seagrave (Support Group Member; virtual): Personal Experience and Challenge in Accessing Services and Getting a Diagnosis
Liz Roberts, Mark Kotter, Benjamin Davies, Helen Wood, and Roy Smith in Glasgow
The BritSpine Team | Left to Right:
Liz Roberts, RECODE-DCM Project Manager; Dr Mark Kotter, Co-Founder;
Dr Benjamin Davies, Co-Founder; Helen Wood, Chair of the Board of Trustees;
Roy Smith, Trustee
Helen Wood, Roy Smith, and Benjamin Davies at the BritSpine 2023 conference
Helen, Roy, and Ben at’s Booth
Drs Mark Kotter and Brian Kwon
A long-awaited opportunity to meet friends and colleagues;
Mark (left) and Dr Brian Kwon (right)
Brian Kwon delivering his keynote speech on 
Novel Approaches to Cervical Spinal Cord Injury
Brian delivering his keynote speech on
Novel Approaches to Cervical Spinal Cord Injury