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Tsering Wangmo

Colleen Tate Memorial Bursary

On January 30, the Department presented the annual Colleen Tate Memorial Bursary to Year 1 student Tsering Wangmo after receiving several nominations from her classmates. The award is presented to the student, chosen by his/her classmates, who is in good academic standing and who best exemplifies the qualities that Colleen was known for. These include being generous, kind-hearted, accommodating, and outgoing.

Congratulations Tsering!

Susan J. Wagner and Amy Derochie

Amy Derochie (MScOT ’16) Receives “Susan J. Wagner Award”

Amy Derochie (MScOT ’16) is the recipient of this year’s “Susan J. Wagner Award for Student Leadership in Interprofessional Education.” This award honours a health profession student at the University of Toronto who demonstrates leadership, dedication, and excellence through promotion and engagement of interprofessional education and care.

With a key interest in promoting the role of the client/consumer, Amy was a member of the team in health profession education. Her research paper focused on the experience of the client/consumer and their understanding of partnering with health care professionals. She and her fellow students on the team, used transcripts of interviews with clients to create a Verbatim Theatre script titled, “Your Partners Will see You Now”, that was subsequently used to create an impactful learning experience for students in many of the health professions. As part of the team, Amy has presented this work at six international and national conferences.

While a student in the Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy program, Amy was the representative for her class in the Interprofessional Health Science Student Association (IPHSA). Here she was involved in a variety of activities, including work on expanding the constitution to include students from other professional programs. Amy was also the Interprofessional Education Representative on the Occupational Therapy Student Council, where she guided students in developing IPE elective learning activities.

In addition, Amy served as the University of Toronto’s IPHSA representative on the National Health Science Student Association (NaHSSA), where she collaborated with students across the country and served as the liaison between the national and local University of Toronto association. She also joined the executive council of NaHSSA, where she coordinated and communicated events and initiatives to members across Canada.

We extend our sincere congratulations to Amy for this well-deserved award!

Dr. Helene Polatajko

Dr. Helene Polatajko at TEDxToronto

On October 27th, 2016, Dr. Helene Polatajko spoke at the 2016 TEDxToronto conference. Recognized internationally for her work in cognitive-based treatments for children and adults with occupational performance challenges, Dr. Polatajko’s approach – known as CO-OP (Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance) – has become a standard throughout the world.

View the presentation >>

Alumni Promoting OT & PT in Ukraine

Natalie Zaraska and Renata Roman, alumni of the Rehabilitation Sciences Sector at U of T, are working in the Ukraine to assist in the development of Masters level curriculum and to promote best practices in occupational and physical therapy.

Natalie Zaraska (nee Talya Kalymon)
BScOT’91

Natalie Zaraska is working hard to promote and help rehabilitation practice in Ukraine to evolve and grow. She explained that “as a member of the diaspora in Canada, I have always wanted to assist in development projects in Ukraine.” In addition to her BScOT from UofT, Natalie completed a Master’s of Rehabilitation Science from Queen’s in 1997. Natalie has worked in the area of mental health and acquired brain injury. She now works at Zaraska Rehabilitation, a private practice, providing community-based rehabilitation services to individuals with acquired brain injuries.

Natalie embodies a client centered approach and is passionate about the essential role OTs offer in the rehabilitation spectrum of care. Natalie is an ardent advocate, promoting, educating, and helping to develop the role of occupational therapy in rehabilitation in Ukraine. Natalie volunteers as an International Educational Coordinator for School of Rehabilitation Medicine at Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) and is a founding member of the Ukrainian association of Occupational Therapy. Natalie also works with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) to ensure Ukraine adopts recognized standards for education and the practice of occupational therapy.

Natalie believes U of T provided her with a strong academic background and inspired her to support high quality education programs in Ukraine. U of T helped Natalie become a leader and problem solver, and encouraged her to define and expand the role of occupational therapy in new areas.

Renata Roman
BScPT’84

Renata is a graduate of the U of T Physical Therapy program. She has worked in hospitals and clinics in Ontario and Quebec. She began her first private practice, Clarkson Sports & Physio, in Missisauga in 1991. Renata has been volunteering as a physiotherapist in sports medicine in Ukraine for 20 years and has worked with national teams and at the Winter Olympics. She has also given her time fundraising and advising the Children’s Rehab Centre in Lviv. The founder and president of the Ukrainian Catholic University asked Renata to help establish a western style rehabilitation program including physical and occupational therapy. This school was established within the university and she continues to sit on the Board of Governors.

Renata believes that U of T provided her with the education and tools to become an efficient problem solver when faced with a variety of complex patients. She is passionate about growing and evolving as a physiotherapist as well as helping countries with less established rehabilitation programs develop their professional standards and enhance their quality of care.

Advocacy & Innovation:

Renata and Natalie have combined their passion for rehabilitation to promote and enhance the role of physical and occupational therapy in Ukraine. Ukraine does not have the profession of occupational therapy, but Renata and Natalie believe in the integral role and value of OT to patients. Natalie is working alongside WFOT to promote OT to medical and government administrators.

Renata and Natalie are inspired to “raise the bar” for rehabilitation education and high quality patient care throughout Ukraine. They are assisting the Ukrainian Catholic University (UCU) to develop the curriculums for a Masters in PT and Masters in OT to be offered in September 2017. UCU is a forward thinking university working to exhibit the highest standards of education.

Renata and Natalie advise on the recruitment of potential rehabilitation students, and assist with the ongoing promotion of physical and occupational therapy. The UCU curriculum is being carefully developed with input from many international partners. Renata and Natalie have also created a working group of rehabilitation professionals in Toronto to provide consultation to UCU and future mentoring of students in the program. UCU hopes to stay closely connected to the faculty in the rehabilitation programs at U of T to support program development and implementation, and research initiatives for students and professors.

The classic pairing of physical and occupational therapy has proven once more to yield the best possible outcomes. Through their initiatives, Renata and Natalie are changing the rehabilitation landscape in Ukraine and Canada for students, practitioners, and patients.

Dean Trevor Young

Rehabilitating the World

In honour of the 2016 graduating classes from the rehab sector, The Dean of the Faculty of Medicine’s, Trevor Young, has written an article in the MedEmail publication. Dean Young speaks highly of the international focus of efforts in Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, and the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute.

Read the full article in MedEmail, Nov. 9

Jill Stier

Theatrical Performance Techniques and OTs

 
At the Richard Reznick Wilson Centre Research Day, on November 4, Jill Stier presented results of the research she and her colleagues have done into OT students’ experiences and perceptions of theatre practice workshops. Prior research demonstrated better communication skills, but more work was needed.

Below is an abstract of their presentation.
 
 
“The emphasis on client-centered care highlights the role of humanities in educating clinicians. Evidence from performance studies and cognitive neuroscience suggest actor training techniques can enhance empathy and self-awareness. Therefore, our group developed a novel workshop utilizing theatre techniques to encourage embodied practice and enhance self-awareness and reflexivity amongst occupational therapy (OT) students. Our prior research demonstrated improved client communication skills in students receiving the workshop. However, students’ perceptions of the workshop, particularly in relation to embodied practice, remain unexplored.

Research Question: To explore how students perceived the learning experiences of the theatre practice workshop and their conceptualizations of embodied practice.

We used a constructivist grounded theory approach, combining workshop observations with interview data. Post-workshop interviews were conducted with students from three OT cohorts at varied points, to explore perceptions and experiences of the workshop, relation of the workshop to practice, and students’ conceptualizations of embodied practice. We adopted the constant comparative method for analysis.

Participation in the theatre practice workshop encouraged participants to develop embodied practice as a key to understanding themselves and others. Students described that their experience in the workshop enhanced their capacity to empathize with clients by recognizing personal contexts, and requiring them to overcome uncertainty and embrace discomfort to learn in this way. A safe learning space was vital in this realization and allowed some students to revisit otherwise suppressed aspects of learning through the arts.

Incorporation of theatre techniques into OT training may enhance students’ communication with clients in important and nuanced ways. Embodied practice is a complex concept; an arts-based approach may help students acknowledge and appreciate such attentive practices in their training.”

Jill Stier M.A., OT Reg. (Ont.)
Laura-Jayne Nelles MFA PhD (c)
Stella Ng PhD.
Catharine M. Walsh MD, MEd, PhD, FRCPC
 
 

For more information about the project, contact Jill Stier: Jill.stier@utoronto.ca
 
Visit the Wilson Centre website for more information about the Richard Reznick Research Day.