G. Teachman's Portrait

Governor General Gold Medal Awarded to Alumna

Congratulations to our alumna, Dr. Gail Teachman (BScOT’81; MSc’06; PhD’16) who was awarded a Governor General Gold Medal on May 31, 2016 at a ceremony at University of Toronto.

The Office of the Governor General awards gold medals annually to honour academic excellence at the graduate level. The gold medal is one of the most prestigious awards a Canadian graduate student can receive. Gail is the first student from the rehabilitation sector to achieve such recognition from University of Toronto. Gail’s achievement brings wider exposure to the important research being done by OT researchers, and it’s potential to change lives.

Dr. Teachman successfully defended her dissertation – with no corrections – in February 2016 and will be convocating this June. She completed her research through the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute (RSI) under the supervision of Professors Barbara Gibson and Colin Macarthur with the guidance of committee member Professor Peggy McDonough from the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Dr. Teachman’s ground-breaking interdisciplinary research demonstrated the often hidden forms of exclusion experienced by non-speaking disabled children and the unintended moral harms that are perpetrated through well-intentioned ‘inclusive’ interventions. Her research results promise to transform how inclusion is understood and enacted in relation to childhood disability. ( More about Dr.Teachman’s work >> )

During her doctoral program, Dr. Teachman was awarded the CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship – Canada’s most prestigious doctoral award – and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine Award for Research Innovation, which is rarely granted to a PhD student, for her work in developing and disseminating novel methods for doing research with children who have little or no speech. This spring, she also received a Peer Mentorship award from the Rehabilitation Science Institute, acknowledging her generosity of spirit for the support and guidance she routinely provided fellow doctoral students.

Gail chose to conduct her doctoral studies at U of T for the opportunity to train with Dr. Barbara Gibson, a Senior Scientist at the Bloorview Research Institute and Associate Professor with the Department of Physical Therapy in the Faculty of Medicine, whose work outlines a reconfigured ethics of rehabilitation (see: Critical Disability and Rehabilitation Studies (CDARS) lab ). She also valued the opportunity to study within the university’s Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research. In her research, Dr. Teachman drew upon her links with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, which has one of the largest augmentative and alternative communication clinics in North America, serving children and youth who have communication impairments. Dr. Teachman worked as an occupational therapist at Holland Bloorview for over 20 years and taught within, and contributed to the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy throughout that time. Gail’s contributions to curriculum renewal and innovative teaching strategies have been highly valued by her colleagues and students. Twice she was honoured with awards for teaching excellence.

Dr. Teachman is continuing her research with disabled youth and their families through a CIHR-funded postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Franco Carnevale and Dr. Mary Ellen MacDonald. At McGill she is a member of Dr. Carnevale’s new SSHRC-funded VOICE team (Views on Interdisciplinary Childhood Ethics) and the McGill Centre for Research on Children and Families (CRCF).