Turin, 1986. Birth of the So.M.I.Par, “Società Medica Italiana di Paraplegia”

The first scientific association to be born thanks to the Cornaglia Centre was the So.M.I.Par. On May 31, 1986, the solicitor (Doctor Gili) drew up the notarial deed which established the birth of the association. Many specialists who worked in the field of para– and tetraplegia signed the document: Carla Saracco Ruella, physiatrist; Dario Fiandesio, physiatrist; Salvatore Rocca Rossetti, urologist; Roberto Carone, urologist; Stefano Giacobini, urologist; Daniele Tognazzi, physiatrist; Giuseppe Sorbilli, physiatrist; Massimo Mizzau, physiatrist; Giancarlo Bruno, orthopaedist; Luigi Caldana, physiatrist; Silvana Angeli, physiatrist; Mariano Bormioli, plastic surgeon; Fabrizio Ostini, physiatrist; Alberto Zanollo, urologist; Carlo Alberto Pagni, neurosurgeon; Paolo Di Benedetto, urologist; Franco Fanciullacci, urologist; Giancarlo Vignoli, Emilio Radelli, physiatrists; Giuseppe Dalle Ore, neurosurgeon; Corrado Leuci, physiatrist; Vincenzo Castellano, physiatrist; Gian Paolo Zocche, anaesthesiologist; Dario Bracco, secretary of the Cornaglia Centre and member of the Imsop (International Medical Society of Paraplegia).

This is just a cold account, but what is the history which lies behind the birth of this scientific association? It all began some time before, in Oslo, during the Imsop conference. In that occasion the president, Prof. Alain Rossier, pointed out the lack of representatives of some nations, among which Italy, too, and gave me the task of filling this gap with the creation of a specific Italian scientific society of paraplegia. The Cornaglia Centre immediately began to make contact with the specialists who already worked in the field, discovering that such a kind of society already existed: the A.m.i.p (“Associazione Medica Italiana di Paraplegia”, Italian Medical Association of Paraplegia), founded and run by Prof. Massarelli, director of the Centre in Ostia. Amip had even held two conferences in the 1970s. We made contact with Prof. Massarelli, who did not object to the foundation of a new society which could represent the specialist Italian context world-wide. So, the Cornaglia Centre could go on promoting the initiative within Imsop, too. We began making contact with Professor Rossier and with the Italian specialists, later promoters of the So.M.I.Par.


Il professor Alain Rossier e signora a colloquio con il segretario del Centro Cornaglia Dario Bracco.

Professor Alain Rossier and his wife talking
with the secretary of the Cornaglia Centre, Dario Bracco

Professor Rossier took care of this initiative and gave the Cornaglia Centre great support in its first contacts with the world of Italian paraplegia. All these people worked together enthusiastically to reach their goal: the foundation of the So.M.I.Par. The atmosphere in the association became more and more friendly and the common purpose was that of highlighting the figure of the “paraplegists”, doctors whose tasks were the treatment and rehabilitation of vertebral medullary lesions, regardless of their own specialization. Beside the organizational structure of the society, little groups were created in order to deal with every single aspect of this “specialty inside the specialty”. A newsletter to inform the members and other colleagues on the programs of So.M.I.Par was also born. Conferences and courses were organized. Today, more than twenty years later, So.M.I.Par is a modern and well-established scientific society, both at a national and international level. You can have more information about it on the web site: www.somipar.it . In the newsletter of the society, “Zero”, Doctor Roberto Carone well described the role played by the Cornaglia Centre in the foundation of the So.M.I.Par: “Thanks to the initiative and expertise of the Francesco Cornaglia Centre and of its secretary, Dario Bracco, member of the IMSOP, all took place faultlessly and satisfactorily”. (Dario Bracco).

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