Canadian charity dedicated to fighting back pain, announces new leadership.
Canadian Spondyloarthritis Association appoints Brenda Delodder as new Executive Director.
On the heels of a national rebrand, the Canadian Spondyloarthritis Association (CSA) board of directors is pleased to announce the appointment of Brenda Delodder as its new Executive Director. This announcement follows an extensive, national search process.
Brenda begins as CSA Executive Director on April 10, 2023.
CSA is the only patient-led, charitable organization focused solely on Canadians living with spondyloarthritis (SpA).
For many, SpA seems to be a big, daunting and complicated term. Simply put, it most prominently presents as back pain, which, left untreated, can cause vertebrae to stiffen and fuse. More specifically, it is a group of chronic inflammatory arthritic diseases with common features including inflammation (arthritis) in the spine (“spondylo”). But it’s not just about back pain. It can also affect the knees, hips, eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.
“SpA affects more people than Multiple Sclerosis and ALS combined. Yet these and many other diseases, even rare ones, are better known and understood than SpA,” says board chair, Dr. Élie Karam. Dr. Karam is both a family physician and is also a patient who unexpectedly lived years undiagnosed.
The charity provides credible, data-informed, evidence-based and relevant resources for hundreds of thousands of current and future patients suffering from this disease.
“Back pain is a primary concern for millions of Canadians with nearly the entire adult population having experienced back pain at some point in time,” notes Brenda Delodder, CSA executive director. “What most Canadians do not understand is that SpA is the second most common form of back pain and is chronically inflammatory in nature.”
Based on a recent national survey, these conditions are relentless with shockingly 80% of those diagnosed having never heard of, or knew anything of, SpA before being diagnosed.
“It is painful and debilitating for many. Individuals living with SpA are greatly impacted both physically and mentally. Most surprising, patients begin experiencing symptoms between the ages of 17 and 45 – during the prime of their lives,” says Dr. Karam. “I was one of those, and the disease impacted all aspects of my life, from my personal connections to my career as a doctor.”
Further complicating the lack of awareness, it unacceptably takes 7-10 years for Canadians to be diagnosed. CSA, via a patient-centric approach, projects a half million Canadians to be battling this invisible disease. It severely impacts quality of life, the ability to work, and for women, their health and possibly pregnancy.
Brenda joins CSA at an exciting time as the organization embarks on a newly established and bold strategic plan, positioning the national charity for growth and transformation.
With a deep understanding of collective impact, cross-sectoral strategic partnerships, advocacy and government relations she will apply a data-driven and evidenced-based philosophy to serving Canadians.
Prior to joining CSA, Brenda held the role of CEO for a United Way funded agency, Food for Life, where she earned the accolade of Canada’s top 10 charities by Charity Intelligence, 2016-2018. Brenda also held the role of CEO with the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation where she focused on advancing orthopaedic research, promoting patient and public education and improving community care.
She has a track record for contributing to, and advocating for, many national and provincial policies, including acting as a key spokesperson for the $30 billion National Affordable Childcare Policy, $1.3 billion National Poverty Reduction Strategy, $82 billion National Affordable Housing Strategy. Within the healthcare sector, Brenda advocated for the extension of the Compassionate Care Leave Policy that ensures those caring for dependents can collect paid subsidies, contributed to the Osteoarthritis Pan-Canadian Model of Care, supported the launch of the Intimate Partner Violence Screening program in hospitals, and advocated for reduced wait times for elective surgery aligned with the World Health Organization.
Most recently, during her tenure with United Way, Brenda was recognized as top 10 women leaders in Canada for her leadership with COVID-19 emergency support work and recovery impact.
“I am delighted to have been appointed to lead CSA. It is an organization with an integral national footprint that anchors its work on patients’ needs, including equitable access to care, treatment and driving awareness of this unrelenting disease.”
The Board looks forward to Brenda realizing the full potential of CSA as a charity that delivers data-driven impact, long-term growth and mission focused objectives serving Canadians.
Brenda Delodder, Executive Director
Canadian Spondyloarthritis Association