Riopelle is the immediate past Chair, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, McGill University (2000 – 2010). He has been stably funded by the peer funding system for research operations, and in 2004 licensed a large body of intellectual property to the private sector.
Riopelle has held leadership positions in professional bodies within the discipline of neuroscience; Canadian Neurological Society (president), Canadian Congress of Neurological Sciences (president), and Canadian Association of Neuroscience (councilor). He has had an enduring relationship with voluntary health organizations serving clients with mental and neurological disorders; Alzheimer Society of Canada, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Society of Canada, NeuroScience Canada (NSC), Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (and Ontario), Canadian Stroke Network (CSN), Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (ONF). As University representative to the Board of the CSN, he was party to a motion to direct the CSN to develop a Canadian Stroke Strategy.
Riopelle is on the Board of Directors of ONF where he chairs the Research Committee, and is also Chief Research Officer overseeing ONF’s research and knowledge mobilization portfolio. In this role, he is engaged in activities seeking the common ground for complex chronic disorders in the neurological realm in the interests of forming functional alliances with national voluntary organizations that can inform trans-government department policy development for these disorders. The 2008 creation of Neurological Health Charities Canada (NHCC) is one output of these activities. In his role overseeing the ONF knowledge mobilization portfolio Riopelle is involved in the project charter of a NHCC – Ontario MOH<C partnership which came into effect in July 2009 and involves ONF as operations lead.
Riopelle was ratified as the Director of the Advocacy initiative of the Canadian Neurological Sciences Federation (CNSF), a member of NHCC, in June 2009. In this role he is a member of NHCC National which oversees all engagements with the Federal government. Riopelle holds co-applicant status on one of thirteen funded projects of the National Population Health Study for Neurological Conditions (NPHSNC) emerging from a Public Health Agency Canada (PHAC) – NHCC partnership launched in June 2009. It is anticipated that a synergy of activities in the areas of network building (CNSF), surveys of burden of neurological disorders and attendant disability (previously CNSF; currently PHAC-NHCC partnership), and demonstrations of innovations in practice by provider groups linked to the Federation (previously the Queen’s University Care Delivery Network Regional Acute Stroke Protocol; currently the Spinal Cord Injury Knowledge Mobilization Network) will facilitate increased return on human, social, economic, and health capital for those with complex chronic disorders from a life course perspective as contemplated in the NHCC Canada Brain Strategy.
Riopelle has accumulated a significant body of experience in stakeholder needs-driven, client-focused regional health programs and health systems innovations using integration strategies emerging from academia in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario (HSFO) which lead a Coordinated Stroke Strategy project in the late 1990’s. He was Director of the Queen’s University Care Delivery Network (CDN)(1997-2000) which was funded by a $3-4M Research and Development grant by the private sector. Among other activities in a knowledge curator role, CDN conceptualized, designed, and implemented Canada’s first regional acute stroke protocol (RASP) in Southeastern Ontario in partnership with HSFO (Riopelle, R.J. et al (2001) Stroke 32: 652-655). In his Chair position in McGill he was Co-director of the Montreal Stroke Network (MSN); as part of its activities, the MSN acted in an advisory capacity to the Quebec Stroke Strategy development being coordinated by the Quebec Ministry of Health and Social Services. Riopelle serves as a surveyor for the Accreditation Canada Stroke Distinction Program.
Riopelle brings his academic interest and experiences in the evolving science of improvement, implementation, and innovation of evidence-informed health practices in programs and services and the iterative loop of evidence, best practice, performance, implementation, and evaluation to his current activities. The overall goal of this direction is transformation in health services by changing contexts to enable innovation. As of November 2010, he is the principal investigator in a Rick Hansen Institute (RHI)/ONF/Alberta Paraplegic Foundation (APF) participatory research learning and innovation community of practice for best practices implementation for secondary complications of spinal cord injury (2010/Q4-2013/Q1: $2.4 million renewable) involving 6 rehabilitation services sites (2 in Quebec, 2 in Ontario, 2 in Alberta). The Spinal Cord Injury Knowledge Mobilization Network (SCIKMN, www.scikmn.org ) project is defining the alignment of service organizations to a RHI – Accreditation Canada partnership, and has lead to the launch of the ONF Improvement/Implementation/Innovation Science Research, Development, and Operations Unit (ISRD&OU)(2013). Also informing these directions is Riopelle’s role as a surveyor for Accreditation Canada’s Stroke Distinction program (national and international) that provides for unique learnings that are being applied to his research activities particularly related to alignment of SCI KMN directions to the shift of Canadian provincial/territorial jurisdiction funding of health from provider-based to patient-based.
Riopelle was elected a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) in 2007, and currently serves CAHS on its Fellowship Committee.
Riopelle confines his clinical professional activities to ambulatory services:
- Triage Neurology at the community-academic, demand-supply interface; and
- Independent Medical Examination – Neurology largely focused on the spectrum of traumatic brain injury.