We are extremely proud of the many achievements of our grads. In this section, we are pleased to profile OT alumni making a difference in their workplace, their communities and our profession through leadership and innovative initiatives.
Hand Therapist, Teacher, Advocate
I’m so pleased to be in a position to tell stories about therapists – both physical and occupational – all of whom have played a part in changing the world in ways that may be small but are important to all of us. These thoughts are swirling as I’m beginning to write about Susan Hannah.
Rebecca Solnit (she gave us the term mansplaining) has a useful way of packaging social and cultural forms and shares with Margaret Mead the notion that individuals can change the world – think of Greta Thunberg. In her latest book Whose Story is This? she appraises who gets to shape the narrative of our times and how emerging voices are beginning to change that narrative… now back to Susan.
Graduating from University of Toronto with a BScOT in 1988 and an MEd from OISE in 2008, Sue’s career has been marked by sharing her work with colleagues through conferences, publications and teaching students. She served as Student Placement Lead for OT and PT students across 12 sites of Altum Health and has received a number of awards for her outstanding contribution to Occupational Therapy education at the University Health Network and the University of Toronto. She was appointed to the faculty of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in 2019.
We met in the early nineties when she joined the Hand Program at the Toronto Western Hospital, a source of fascination for me. I was impressed by the easy collaboration of OT’s and PT’s in the specialized treatment of patients following devastating upper limb injuries. Working in psychiatry at the time, I was also struck by the awareness and attention paid to the psychosocial aspects presented by each individual following complex reconstructive surgeries. Sue developed her clinical expertise with hands – assessing, case managing and teaching – at the Toronto Western from 1992 to 2011, qualified as a Certified Hand Therapist and currently serves as vice president of the Canadian Society of Hand Therapists.
In 1994 Sue’s relation to the wider world began when she left work in Canada to travel extensively through Southeast Asia, India, Nepal, China and New Zealand. As her children grew older, she began to renew this interest, volunteering at a community based program in Haiti teaching rehabilitation therapists. She joined a group of therapists in 2018 with a WFOT program at Ukrainian Catholic University; training the first OT’s in Ukraine.
Written by Wendy Campbell, PTOT Alumni Assocation, November 14 2019
Public Health and Social Justice: Guiding Principles
This passion for social justice is one of the reasons Season was drawn to occupational therapy (OT). Having spent her summers working with children and families in the social welfare system, Season knew she wanted to work with people who had traditionally been pushed to the margins. Her studies in global development and social determinants of health developed her understanding of health as a complex function of one’s environment, history, socioeconomic circumstances and culture. After spending eight months in Malawi volunteering with a community HIV/AIDS project, Season solidified her interest in a profession that would allow her to develop concrete skills she could apply to resource-limited environments. She chose OT because of the goal-oriented, holistic way the profession views health.
Season entered our MScOT program in 2011 and quickly became involved with the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation (ICDR). During her two years in the program, Season liaised with faculty, researchers and students across various rehabilitation departments. Season served as an Education Vice-Chair, contributing to the International Placement Student Manual and organizing forums and educational opportunities for students on development issues, privilege and cross-cultural practice. She also developed content for the website and contributed to strategic communications between the Rehabilitation Sciences Sector and the Faculty of Medicine.
In 2012, Season completed a student fieldwork placement at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in Moshi, Tanzania. While there, she lectured to first-year OT students at the School of Occupational Therapy – the only OT school in East Africa at the time – on Client-Centred Practice and Functional Approaches to Rehabilitation. This ignited her interest in clinical education, which Season continues to explore today as a status-lecturer in our Department.
Season’s MScOT research project also addressed a global health issue. She studied the environmental factors that impact community participation for prosthetic-users in low-income countries under the supervision of Dr. Deb Cameron, Dr. Jan Andrysek and Dr. Janet Njelesani. This led to a publication in Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology in which Season was the lead author. At her graduation in 2013, Season was presented with several Departmental awards recognizing her passion, dedication and achievements in international health initiatives.
Season’s involvement in ICDR and growing interest in the OT role in public health led her to participate in the Toronto Addis Ababa Academic Collaboration in the fall of 2017. Along with another colleague from the Department, Season developed and taught a month-long course on Psychosocial Perspectives and Rehabilitation in Mental Health at Addis Ababa University as a faculty representative of the University of Toronto. For the past two years, Season has also volunteered on the planning committee of Homeless Connect Toronto, a non-profit organization that aims to address homelessness and housing-related issues in Toronto.
Season continues to be passionate about improving and providing quality care for marginalized populations and hopes to be involved in system-level change while maintaining a close clinical connection. Season considers OTs well-positioned for innovative leadership roles. “As OTs, being client-centred is a part of our professional identity. We are experts in drawing out and amplifying the client voice at tables where it isn’t traditionally heard. This makes sense because dignity and empowerment are core values to us. We also have the skills to find creative solutions to improve access and equity.” We are very proud of Season’s achievements and believe she will continue to demonstrate strong leadership and innovation during her occupational therapy career.
Leadership in Community Healthcare
Camille returned to her home province of Nova Scotia after graduation and took the opportunity to work in various practice areas in a Halifax hospital. There her passion for rehabilitation and, in particular neuro-rehabiltation grew. When Camille moved back to Toronto she continued to work in various roles and practice areas, including inpatient stroke, outpatient neurology and orthopaedics, and as a CCAC care coordinator, and client services manager at Closing the Gap Healthcare.
In 2014 she became palliative care coordination at a Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) and found working with this patient population to be the most rewarding both personally and professionally. She believes that this experience in particular reinforced her appreciation for client-focused care, and her passion for occupational therapy and community health care.
In Camille’s role as Acting Patient Care Manager of the Mississauga-Halton LHIN she provides mentorship, training, and support to care coordinators, plus participates in project management and policy development. She takes pride in the knowledge and perspective that she has gained from her various OT roles and experiences, plus the holistic, client-centered OT lens that she brings to her management position and the new initiatives she has undertaken. Despite no longer being a “front-line person”, she sees what she is currently doing as an extension of direct patient care. She helps to develop new client programs, and to create best practice guidelines to enhance quality of care, quality of life, and to prevent premature hospitalization and long-term care admission. Camille thoroughly enjoys her advocacy role as it allows her to have a voice and to share her OT knowledge and experience. She also feels excited to be contributing to the vision for a “new” LHIN organization that will be more involved in illness prevention strategy program initiatives, and will partner with primary care organizations in the community. We congratulate Camille on her leadership contributions to community healthcare in Ontario.
Leading with Care
Carey’s interest in occupational therapy was sparked when she observed occupational therapists working with various family members who had progressive neurological conditions. After graduating with honours from the University of Toronto, Carey began her OT career at The Hospital for Sick Children. Over a period of 13 years, she developed her clinical expertise and also dabbled in research and education, holding a status appointment with the university for several years. When she started her family, she made a conscious decision to leave acute care and transitioned to the community. “Moving into the community was a new learning experience for me. You have to open your eyes to a different way of working and interacting with patients. You learn very quickly to be adaptable, efficient, innovative and quick at problem solving. And these are essential leadership skills,” Carey explains.
Within a few years, Carey moved into a leadership role as a professional practice leader; and following this she moved into management and completed her MBA with distinction. Carey managed multidisciplinary teams of physiotherapists, personal support workers, and nurses among other health care professions. Carey describes her transition from clinician to leader as “another big learning curve”. “This is when your emotional intelligence comes into play: Learning how to relate to others, motivating and empowering staff, and dealing with conflict or challenging situations.”
Her management journey was diverse and included the opportunity to manage operations, projects, quality and risk, and other areas such as program development and evaluation. “The ability to learn from all of these areas created the foundation for my leadership advancement,” Carey explains. “Moving into director roles and eventually into a VP role would not have been possible without this broad groundwork”. Carey identifies that one of the most important elements in her career progression was the opportunity to take on these diversified learning experiences and positions.
As the CEO of Circle of Care, Carey is responsible for delivering the highest quality of care while continuing the strong community presence that Circle of Care has built with its 43-year history. As VP at Sinai Health System, Carey works with other leaders to pursue more seamless hospital-to-home transitions and to push the boundaries as a leading integrated health system.
Carey believes more OTs should be considering leadership roles. “As OTs we’re taught to look at clients in a holistic way and that has such an influence on leadership, whether it’s clients, peers, or the staff you manage. OTs are strong in assessment, problem solving, creativity, and unique in how they view the world. OTs can develop an amazing leadership perspective that’s wholesome and looks at the bigger picture while still paying attention to detail. At the end of the day, when you get into a leadership role you have to be strategic, innovative, and take risks. OTs are well positioned to do so, and should take on more leadership roles.”
Occupational therapy is a field that has been and will continue to grow rapidly. Carey’s advice for future OTs? “Don’t limit yourself; expose yourself to all kinds of opportunities; look for diversity in your areas of work; and don’t be fearful.” Carey embodies leadership, and is an inspiration to all OTs!
OS&OT Alumni: Dream Weavers
Amanda Landry & Mira Etlin-Stein
Together, Amanda and Mira share a passion for working with youth with ASD and developmental differences in order to promote inclusion and independence during their transition into adulthood. However, they both noticed a gap in services for this population during this crucial period in youth’s lives. During Amanda’s final fieldwork placement in an OT private practice, she observed that many transitioning youth were not receiving services, which can be difficult without the proper supports. Concurrently, in her placement at the Youth At Work program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Mira observed the great benefits of this program for transitioning youth, but recognized that the majority of youth receiving this service had physical disabilities. This experience was the catalyst to Mira’s interest in creating a private practice to service transitioning youth with ASD and developmental differences. Recognizing their shared core values and passions, Mira and Amanda made the decision to form a partnership and create a practice to fill the gap they were both seeing.
This partnership led to the creation of Dream Weavers: An Occupational Therapy Collective. Their name represents the power dreams have to create positive change and the dynamic collaborative relationship they create with their members (clients) and each other. The name also pays tribute to occupational therapy’s early practice of therapeutic basket weaving, which historically brought together art and OT. Dream Weavers offers community programs to teens and young adults with ASD and developmental differences to promote inclusion in their community through working on life and employment skills. Currently, Dream Weavers is based at the Centre for Social Innovation (Toronto, ON), which allows them to be surrounded by like-minded people focused on social change, and enables them to make their programs feel less clinical to their members, while promoting the inclusion of these members within the community.
Utilizing a strength-based approach, Dream Weavers programs address members’ challenges using an OT lens. They adopt a holistic perspective to look at the systemic, institutional, and social environments of the individual rather than just targeting the remediation of individuals’ skills. Dream Weavers offers a variety of individual and group programs ranging from Life Skills (nutrition, cooking, independent living, etc.) to Employment Skills (resume writing, job searching, how to/when to disclose you have a disability etc.) However, in the past two years, they noticed a shift in the community’s needs towards a greater interest in exploring sexuality and disability. In response, they created their Let’s Talk About Sex & Relationship program, which they currently run twice a year, and they have become well-known for their programming in this practice area. They were the invited to the Asperger’s Society of Ontario Annual General Meeting in 2016 to educate parents, families, and workers about approaching this important topic with individuals on the spectrum. They are also speaking on a panel at the DANI Conference, Pushing the Boundaries, in April of 2018 – the panel discussion will be around dating, sexuality, and disability.
Moving forward, Dream Weavers is keen to continue to stay closely connected to their members so they can meet the changing needs of the community and develop new and innovative ways to service their community within their scope and competencies. As mentioned earlier, Dream Weavers are excited to be taking part in several conferences this coming spring to share their experience and programing for sexuality and disability. Amanda and Mira would like to thank the OS & OT faculty at U of T, their preceptors and mentors, the Centre for Social Innovation, and their families and partners for their ongoing support in creating and continuing Dream Weavers. We congratulate Mira and Amanda on the many successes of Dream Weavers, and wish them well as they continue to make positive contributions to the community!
OS&OT Alumna Named YMCA Woman of Excellence
Michelle grew up in Southwestern Ontario, near London. While in high school, she worked in a nursing home where she first encountered marginalized populations. Michelle went on to study nursing at Ryerson University and worked in this role for a few years at Wellesley Hospital. As a nurse, Michelle was exposed to variety of practice settings and professionals, including OT. Over time, Michelle found herself increasingly fascinated by interior design and creating inclusive spaces and communities for people living with disability. Michelle soon returned to Toronto to pursue a degree in OT, with the intention of working in an administrative role after graduation.
Upon graduating, Michelle first worked as a clinical OT for a short time. In this role, she had a client with Parkinson’s and realized that there were no available support groups for this population. In collaboration with her client, Michelle became the founder of the Parkinson Society of Southwestern Ontario. Early in its origin, Michelle began to experience frustration that the organization was not earning anywhere near its capacity. In response to this realization, Michelle took it upon herself to learn about fundraising and development for healthcare to help the Society reach its full potential.
Although Michelle continued to volunteer with the Society for 9 years, she found herself moving on to a new role in 1986 as the founding Executive Director, University Hospital Foundation and Vice-President of Development of the Hospital in London, Ontario. In this role, Michelle was able to integrate her knowledge of OT, nursing, healthcare, and fundraising to help facilitate health and community development projects. More than a decade later, Michelle moved on to spearhead the re-development of London’s Covent Garden Market. Michelle’s OT background was particularly beneficial as she worked with 52 small businesses on various vocational pursuits. After the successful rebuild and launch of the market, Michelle found herself in her current role at Goodwill Industries.
Michelle described herself as ‘coming home to her OT career’ upon transitioning to Goodwill. This organization is one of the world’s largest social enterprises and the largest employer of individuals living with disabilities, per capita, in Ontario. Michelle’s background makes her the perfect fit to be President and CEO of Goodwill Industries. Goodwill emphasizes vocational employment for disadvantaged populations facing barriers to employment, including physical, mental, social challenges. Goodwill also supports functional planning of communities to enable equality and social inclusion. Michelle is able to use her OT background to consider a broad perspective of clients and better understand the barriers they face within their social contexts. Not only does Michelle’s OT background perfectly align with the missions of the organization, but she has also led Goodwill from an old, tired thrift business to a place of prosperity and community by using her functional planning and entrepreneurial skills. In the time Michelle has been with Goodwill, revenue has increased to $27 million and the number of employees have grown from 160 to 650 – many facing barriers such as disability and social disadvantage.
Michelle’s passion for her role stems from seeing clients’ lives transform through the power of work. Michelle’s clients are her inspiration, as she is able to witness individuals who began with little self-worth, minimal education, and limited social opportunity become productive citizens and leaders in their own right. Michelle plans to continue to help facilitate this transformation for individuals beyond Southwestern Ontario. She is now leading the charge to expand Goodwill into Toronto, and will strive to create over 900 jobs within the next 5 years.
We are so privileged to have such an accomplished woman as an alumni of our Department. She is a motivating force to all, and has helped transform the lives of many individuals. We can only wait to see what amazing things she will inspire in the future!
Advancing OT Role in Responsive Behaviour Initiatives
Heather has had a passion for working in the mental health field throughout her career. After she graduated from our program she first worked in community mental health at COTA and then in a variety of roles at St. Michael’s Hospital since 2009. For the past 4 years, Heather has split her talents and expertise between the Geriatric Mental Health Outreach Program and Inpatient Mental Health. Heather chose to work at St. Michael’s Hospital due to the organization’s focus on social justice and commitment to addressing inequality at a systemic and individual level. While at St. Michael’s Hospital Heather has had the opportunities to engage in several quality improvement and research initiatives.
When asked what’s next, Heather explained her new-found interest in occupational therapists’ understanding of grief. “I’d worked in providing mental health care for over 10 years, I thought I knew about grief and loss. It wasn’t until I experienced the profound loss in my own life – the death of my infant daughter at birth and my father 8 months later, that I truly began to understand what it means to grieve.” Heather took this as a call to learn more. She found an OT in Alberta (http://www.yogaforgriefsupport.com/about.html) who was offering unique ways to support the bereaved through yoga support groups. Heather is inspired to explore this area further and develop resources for working with bereaved individuals. Reflecting on her work with individuals with depression in LTC, Heather came to realize how normal grief reactions can be pathologized. Heather began to see people’s experience in a whole new light. “I became very interested in how we as OTs incorporate understandings of grief into our practice. In reality, many people come into our care through experiences of trauma or loss. From the parent who is grieving a child with a disability, to the person who has just had a stroke, to my client who has had to relocate to LTC, it is critical to understand that grief does not conform to traditional stages or is by no means linear.” She shared that this realization has dramatically impacted her practice. “Am I a more compassionate clinician than I was a year ago? Absolutely, I’d like to think that that’s been a little gift from my experience.” Heather inspires us to continue to reflect, explore, and develop our practice, reminding us that the best occupational therapy is the kind that’s powered by passion.
OS&OT Alumnus Demonstrates Passion for Community Mental Health Services
Vinh was first exposed to occupational therapy (OT) through his work as an engineer. He read an article about a new and innovative technology, a toy car developed for a child living with ALS that was controlled by an eye-gaze system. A multi-disciplinary team, consisting of both an engineer and an occupational therapist, created the car. Vinh was immediately drawn to the collaboration of the different professions, as well as the diversity of OT. His interest grew into passion. Vinh decided to further his education and pursue OT, choosing to attend the University of Toronto for its many placement opportunities, resources, and partnerships with leading healthcare institutions. His last placement in the program was with St Michael’s CONTACT Mental Health Service. Vinh was immediately entranced by the team’s work and inspired by the clients’ stories. As a result of his passion and drive, Vinh was offered a position with the team after graduating.
Shortly thereafter, the LHINs became aware of the flexible ACT (FACT) teams being established in the Netherlands. These teams were created upon re-evaluating the current ACT model and determining a need for more flexible and sustainable care. The LHIN’s decided to fund a similar initiative in Canada, resulting in a pilot program integrating the ICM and ACT models of care and supporting the partnership of institutional and community organizations. The institutional team selected to be part of this initiative was SMH’s CONTACT team and upon the team’s partnership with Cota, Vinh found himself to be a part of the FOCUS team.
Nearly three years later, Vinh’s passion for his work within the FOCUS team is still evident. Presently, Vinh is a case manager, OT, and primary support for those utilizing ICM and ACT services. Clients in the FOCUS program have the flexibility of transitioning between ICM and ACT services depending on their current needs. The admission criteria for this program is broad in nature, enabling individuals with a spectrum of mental health needs to be supported in their home and community. Vinh enjoys work in the community, as he is able to forge authentic relationships with clients in their natural environment. He describes this rapport and positive relationship as being fundamental to his success in mental healthcare. In his words, “It is not about the intervention, but the individual themselves.” Vinh’s experiences have taught him to always be prepared for the unexpected. Critical thinking and problem-solving are essential to meet the unique needs of each client.
Vinh works with a population of people that are often overlooked and abandoned by others. If it were not for his support, these individuals would not have anyone else to turn to. Witnessing their change firsthand and being a part of their journey is an invaluable experience for Vinh, just as his support is invaluable to his clients. We admire Vinh’s dedication and passion which enables him to strive for meaningful recovery and change for his clients. We congratulate him on his innovative contributions to mental health care and services!
Margaret Bahen Gold Medalist at the Pencer Brain Tumour Centre
When Ilyse graduated from our MScOT program in 2013 the faculty recognized her outstanding leadership qualities, and academic excellence by awarding her with the Margaret Bahen Gold medal. We’re very proud of the leadership and pioneering innovation that Ilyse is demonstrating in the work she’s doing in the Pencer Brain Tumor Centre.
Ilyse’s passion for neurological rehabilitation originated early on in her educational trajectory. While completing her undergraduate degree, Ilyse had the opportunity to work on neuroimaging research exploring the influence of brain tumours on children’s cognitive abilities. With the goal of furthering the field of cognitive rehabilitation for children with various types of brain injury, Ilyse decided to complete a Masters degree in Experimental Psychology and Neuroscience. Over the course of her research, Ilyse worked with a wide range of healthcare professionals and it was through this experience that she discovered occupational therapy, a role she strongly identified with. As such, Ilyse continued to follow her passion, but this time through the pursuit of a degree in occupational therapy.
Upon completing her degree, Ilyse worked as an occupational therapist in brain injury rehabilitation at a community practice and various hospitals around Toronto. It was during this time that she discovered the role at the Pencer Centre, which was created, guided, and funded by patients and families who saw rehabilitation needs going unmet. Upon meeting with the Pencer team, Ilyse immediately recognized it as a setting for innovation. Equipped with a background in neuroscience research alongside clinical training, Ilyse offered her team a unique combination of skills that has facilitated more holistic care at the Pencer Centre.
As they work with a complex population infrequently served by traditional rehabilitation models, Ilyse and her team have designed a unique model of care that is timely, adaptive and accessible. On average, 150 patients visit the Pencer Centre each week, the majority with severe malignant brain tumours. Ilyse is introduced to patients and their loved ones by any member of the care team when functional concerns arise. Ilyse collaboratively coordinates care plans and provides consultation during transitional moments in the patient’s life, with the goal of maximizing quality of life and engagement in meaningful activities. Alongside individual patient care, Ilyse facilitates mindfulness/relaxation groups and caregiver support groups. At a local and national level, she consults with community providers unfamiliar with this rare and complex population, while advocating for innovative rehabilitation services through applied research and educational speaking engagements.
Although this model of service requires constant adaptation and thinking outside the box, Ilyse would not have it any other way. She believes in the model and its ability to overcome many of barriers faced with traditional acute rehabilitation models, including limited number of visits, strict inclusion criteria, long wait times, and fixed discharge. Ilyse works daily to bridge transitions in care for individuals with brain tumours through collaboration with hospital and community-based organizations. She envisions a healthcare landscape where individuals with progressive and palliative conditions are provided with timely and accessible rehabilitative support to promote life roles, meaningful activity, and quality of life, wherever they may be in their trajectory.
Return to Work Expert Shows Leadership in Northern Ontario
Behdin was drawn to the profession early on in his academic career when he had the opportunity to shadow an OT. He quickly realized his interest in the diverse scope of practice of the profession and was particularly fascinated by workplace-related injuries and return to work. More specifically, he found the field to be relatable as we spend the majority of our adult lives working, yet often know very little about the impact of that work on our health. The OT program at U of T was well-suited to Behdin, as he had always had a passion for research and strived to use evidence to guide his practice.
Upon graduating, Behdin was ready for a new adventure and headed to northern Ontario to work in general rehabilitation with marginalized populations. At the same time, Behdin chose to pursue a research-based Master’s in Public Health at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. His Master’s thesis aligned with his interests, as it focused on return to work for individuals living with cancer. He then decided to continue his academic pursuits and complete his Ph.D. in occupational health in Sudbury at Laurentian University. This research involved a multi-site study exploring the occupational health of nurses in northeastern Ontario.
Throughout his work in the northern communities, Behdin witnessed the limited access to care and OT services firsthand, especially in return to work populations. As such, upon moving to Sudbury, Behdin began working clinically with these population through his private practice, OT Services North, and continues to do so today. In this capacity, Behdin provides clinical services including return to work, home safety assessments, and education. He has also completed research with various communities, including a 5-year program evaluation of health programs offered for indigenous populations on the reserves, through his consulting company.
Despite his extensive involvement and integration in the northern communities, Behdin still finds time to stay connected to UofT. While completing additional post-doctoral work with TRI and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Behdin reached out to the Department of OS and OT and was hired to teach and inspire first year occupational therapy students. We admire Behdin’s passion for his work and congratulate him on all his achievements thus far!
OS&OT Alumna is a Dedicated Geriatric OT
Megan is committed to practice enhancement and evidence based practice. With the support of Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Megan has been encouraged to engage in knowledge translation work, quality improvement and practice innovation. In 2013, Megan and her fellow clinicians on the geriatric OT team decided to commit themselves to practice advancement and identified key areas of practice concerns to address. Megan became the lead on the three resulting clinical practice implementation teams: mental health in geriatrics, lower extremity assessment and treatment, and functional cognitive assessments (FCA). As a practice lead and a front line staff member, Megan has pushed geriatric care to new heights and enhanced the quality standards. She continues to strive towards practice improvement and innovation as she embarks on a large scale research project investigating a variety of geriatric psychiatry day hospital outcomes.
Megan has applied her U of T education on how to be a change agent throughout her career. From her very first job, Megan advocated for the role of an OT on a unit that had never had one before. She continued on as a change agent throughout her career, transforming the OT role, expanding and creating new OT positions, and developing the breath of her own practice. Megan remains committed to professional development and education; an invested and engaging preceptor to students, and a mentor to new OTs at her facility and in the community.
Leader, clinician, innovator, educator, researcher, advocate, and life-long learner. Megan continues to develop as an OT and is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities and challenges. Megan’s incredible work ethic, advancement of the OT role, and commitment to provide the best evidence-based care to her patients makes U of T proud she is one of our own.
Dance Ability Movement Helps Fulfill Kids’ Dreams
Jade and Mallory Ryan
Jade (MScOT’13) and Mallory (MScOT’11)
Mallory and Jade have danced all of their lives and both shared the dream that they could combine their enthusiasm for dance with their chosen careers in occupational therapy (OT). They recognized the limited opportunities for children with different abilities to participate in dance classes in their home community so they formed Dance Ability, a dance program tailored for children of all abilities. The first class commenced in 2010 at a local studio in Milton, Ontario with a team of volunteers providing 1:1 support and assistance for a small group of children with various needs. With growing demands and recognition of their services, Mallory and Jade officially launched their own business, The Dance Ability Movement, with the goal of “sharing the opportunity to dance with dancers of all abilities on a large scale and continuing to promote inclusivity and participation in the community for people with different needs”. The program is currently active in six host studios in the Greater Toronto Area, and more studios are being considered. The Ryan Sisters have no difficulty in recruiting volunteers, many of whom are dancers themselves who wish to share their love of dance with young aspiring dancers.
Aside from providing opportunities to participate in dance classes, The Dance Ability Movement offers summer programs to address various OT goals. For example, Set the Stage Camp combines a handwriting program with music and dance to assist pre-school and primary age children to develop their school readiness and specific motor skills. Art Expressions Camp provides participants a safe space to explore dance styles as well as other art forms and means of self-expression.
Mallory and Jade are currently pursuing various goals and future initiatives including the following:
- Supporting schools in Toronto to include Dance Ability Movement dancers in their arts nights and talent shows, plus encouraging schools to offer more movement and dance opportunities for these students as part of their curriculum.
- Exploring the role of dance as more than just a leisure occupation, but as a potential vocation for some of the dancers with disabilities who participate in The Dance Ability Movement programs who have the talent and passion to pursue dance further.
- Providing more programming and support systems to keep youth with different needs engaged as active members in their communities.
They also feel honored to have been recently selected as “Agents of Change for Community Health” through the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto, and are currently pursuing various goals and future initiatives including the following:
- Aligning their model with existing OT models and theories to better advocate for community leisure programs and the importance of addressing the environment and societal perspectives to meet everyone’s needs
Mallory and Jade also maintain close ties with the MScOT program at University of Toronto by participating in various labs and delivering guest lectures to educate and inspire future generations of OTs. Through The Dance Ability Movement, Mallory and Jade are making important contributions towards creating community environments where inclusion of children with varying abilities is the norm. Their programs provide opportunities to enable children to express themselves through dance and other art forms, and to realize their potential.
Psychotherapy Expert Co-authors Resource Compendium for OTs Practicing in Mental Health
Lisa feels that the specialized training in psychotherapy that she has taken over the course of her career has allowed her to develop both personally and professionally, and has fueled her love for this area of practice. Since graduating from the Gestalt Institute of Toronto in 2006 Lisa has expanded her skills through further specialized training, and leadership roles within psychotherapy, the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) and her community. She has since become involved with a variety of roles and projects further enhancing and connecting occupational therapists with psychotherapy practice.
Lisa became very interested in the process and impact that pending Psychotherapy regulation would have on OT’s and their practice in Ontario. In 2013, Lisa joined other leaders in the field of psychotherapy and OT to create “A Compendium of Counseling and Psychotherapy Resources for Occupational Therapists”, which was funded by an OSOT research grant. In 2016, The Compendium 2.0 was released as a new and improved resource available through OSOT. The Compendium is now peer reviewed with a new chapter on Psychotherapy supervision for OT’s. This has further enhanced its authority and reliability. Read more in the OSOT Resources – Mental Health page.
Compendium 1.0 and 2.0 are resources that profile the five most commonly used psychotherapy modalities used by OTs, based upon findings from the 2013 OSOT research survey of nearly 300 Ontario OT’s about their psychotherapy practice. Compendium 2.0 provides the most current information and the clinical utility for each psychotherapeutic modality, the evidence supporting these modalities, plus guidance re: student supervision and training resources frequently sought out by OTs. The Compendium helps to clarify the distinctions between counselling and psychotherapy, and helps OTs determine whether or not they are practicing psychotherapy, and whether they are following the COTO standards and regulations in practice. The Compendium is a meaningful resource for both new and experienced OTs working in psychotherapy practice.
Lisa’s leadership and engagement with the community of mental health OTs is evident based on her role as Chair of the OSOT Psychotherapy subcommittee for the mental health team from 2013-2016, and her ongoing involvement with this group. Her work with this subcommittee is leading to future initiatives to advance the OT profession in the field of psychotherapy. For example, this group is examining what training is needed to allow OTs to become supervisors in psychotherapy practice. In May 2016 the subcommittee will consider this and other topics at their annual retreat. Much of their work is motivated by the queries of Ontario OT’s who want to know whether they are meeting the Standards of Psychotherapy, as part of this new controlled Act.
Other University of Toronto Alumni were amongst the group of OTs who worked incredibly hard to put together the Compendium, including Gita Lakhanpal (BScOT’98; co-author and peer reviewer), Karen Bouganim (BScOT’96) and Niiki Kiepek, (MScOT’03; peer reviewers). And students in our program, Jana Kiefl & Jeremy Wong (MSc.OT ’15) and Juverya Pathan & Carolyn Wong, (MSc OT ’13)contributed references and resources to this project. Lisa would like to thank all the co-authors, and contributors to the Compendium, especially Sandra Moll who took a lead role in this project from its inception to its completion, and Carrie Anne Marshall for her leadership on Compendium 2.0.
It has been a very meaningful part of Lisa’s work to be part of an OT community focused on expanding the opportunities and expertise of OT’s working in psychotherapy. We CONGRATULATE Lisa and her colleagues on their achievements!
If you have a passion for being part of future projects with the OSOT Psychotherapy Subcommittee please contact OSOT for more information.
World Expert in the Field of Inclusive Design
As personal computers were beginning to emerge, Jutta recognized the adaptability of the digital and the opportunity to leverage computers as translators from one sense to another or from one method of control to another, but also the risk of exclusion and marginalization of a large consumer base due to the increasing mass production of technology. With a deep appreciation for diversity and recognizing the importance of inclusive design, Jutta’s career began with developing alternative access systems for people with disabilities.
Jutta has accomplished numerous initiatives over the course of her career. To name a few, she is the founder and director of the Inclusive Design Research Center (IDRC), formerly known as the Adaptive Technology Resource Center (ATRC), which conducts proactive research and development in the inclusive design of emerging information and communication technology and practices. Jutta is a professor at OCADU in the Faculty of Design at OCAD University, and has established and directs a graduate program in inclusive design. Jutta also heads the Inclusive Design Institute, a multi-university regional center of expertise. She has been a chief expert witness across numerous court cases regarding accessibility issues. Additionally, Jutta has played a leading role in developing accessibility legislation, standards and specifications internationally.
Jutta’s leadership and engagement in inclusive design has earned her a number of awards, including a Diamond Jubilee Medal and being named by Zoomer Magazine as one of Canada’s top 45 over 45 for “making a difference in their chosen fields and passions while improving our lives and that of our country.”
As a future initiative, Jutta wishes to design research methods that, unlike our current methods, do not rely on statistical power and normalized data but are designed to increase knowledge about diversity, complexity and outliers, which includes people with disabilities.
Dr. Nick Reed and Fellow Alumni are Leading Efforts to Improve the Lives of Kids and Youth Who've Experienced Concussion
Left to right: Nick Reed (’07), Stephanie McFarland (’14), Talia Dick (’11), Katie Mah (’11), Andie Hickling (’14) and Melissa Paniccia (’13)
Dr. Nick Reed (MScOT’07) is a kids concussion guru who spends his time developing, implementing and evaluating research, educational and clinical programming for kids with concussion and their families. Nick grew up playing sports and experienced a fair share of sports-related injuries and such exposure developed his initial interest in sports medicine and physiotherapy. While attending a joint physiotherapy and occupational therapy information session, he was immediately drawn to occupational therapy’s view of seeing injury as part of “a bigger picture that includes the person, their environment and the occupations that bring meaning into individuals’ lives.”
Nick has been recognized for his extensive involvement in pediatric concussion research, education and care, being presented with numerous awards such as Special Recognition Awards (2014), Sustained Excellence in Research Supervision (2014), and Exceptional Year Award (2014). In addition, he is the recipient of the 2015 Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund Award given to "a Canadian for outstanding contribution towards the prevention of catastrophic injuries and recreational activities.”
Nick divides his time as the Co-Director of the Concussion Centre at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, teaching in the Occupational Therapy program at University of Toronto, and overseeing and supervising numerous research and clinical students at the masters and PhD level. In addition to continuing his work within the concussion realm, Nick hopes to “expose occupational therapy students and occupational therapists to the field of pediatric concussion, all with the hope of engaging more in this field in order to increase access to great care and rehabilitation for kids and families in need.”
Talented Young Alumni Make Us Proud
Heather was first introduced to occupational therapy from her mother and was drawn to the program’s holistic view of health. She was particularly interested in the cognitive aspect, finding the “brain fascinating and how it controls all functioning of the body and mind.”
Her upcoming venture “The True Patriot Love Scotiabank Expedition” involves an expedition to summit Vinson Massif in Antarctica in order to bring attention to the challenges that face members of our Canadian military veterans, and to raise funds to help them successfully transition back to civilian life. Heather understands the importance of recognizing these soldiers for their efforts, and will embark on this three-week journey to commemorate their sacrifices and raise awareness of PTSD. “The lives we live, the jobs we do, the hobbies we enjoy…. are all thanks to our soldiers who chose to put their lives on the line to protect our freedoms. I have been blessed with the ability to represent my country, but it is our Canadian Armed Forces to whom I owe thanks for that opportunity.” Heather is truly an inspiration and exemplifies what it means to be a true leader and champion!
Recognizing the importance of community mental health, he began the initiative #lightbrightyeg, in response to the rising winter depression as a result of lack of sun exposure during Edmonton’s winter season. After a successful bid for a grant, Robin received $1000 in funding and was able to bring three light therapy lamps to the Stanley Milner Public Library. In addition to #lightbrightyeg, Robin’s pursuit include the Make Something Edmonton project called #yegsnowfight, a citywide snowball fight that attracted more than 1500 people in 2014 to combat the winter blues. Robin continues to channel his passion for mental health by teaching an Occupational Therapy and Mental Health class to therapy assistant students at MacEwan University.
In 2014, Robin was profiled in Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue magazine, recognizing his outstanding contributions to Edmonton through his professional work as well as his community building initiatives.
Starting January 2016, Robin will be pursuing his PhD at the University of Waterloo in cognitive neuroscience to explore how urban design influences mental health. Robin recognizes the implications of the environment on health and how built spaces can influence the way people feel. Robin hopes to become an OT professor in order to contribute to the profession and to help shape future generations of occupational therapists.
Her dreams of making a positive difference became a reality through the Living Life to the Full program that uses the principles of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to address life challenges one may encounter. Developed originally in the UK, the program was introduced to Canada through the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) BC. CMHA Ontario recognized the potential that the Living Life to the Full program had with an older adult population, and launched a pilot project to explore this potential. Jenny’s career was kick-started by acting as the Project Coordinator on this pilot. Jenny continues to hold a project manager role at CMHA Ontario, overseeing the course roll out for an older adult population. She hopes to influence a nationwide focus on promoting mental health in seniors. Jenny continues to raise awareness about senior mental health, developing solutions to combat problems surrounding the older population, and to promote age friendly communities and senior engagement.
Jenny’s next goal is to extend services to older adult caregivers through the Living Life to the Full for Older Adult Caregivers program, which has been rewarded $3.7 million in funding along with five interconnected projects. Congratulations Jenny! Read more about this project >>
OT Alumni Leadership with the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT): Profiling Recent Members of the Board of Directors
President-Elect (2014 – present), Director (2004-2007)
Recently, Beth began her role as President-Elect. In this position, Beth’s aim is to contribute to OSOT in the domain of strategic advocacy. Through involvement with the government, funders, and interprofessional colleagues, Beth will assess opportunities for occupational therapy (OT) services to meet emerging system needs.
Beth has not only assumed leadership positions with OSOT, but also throughout her career. In addition to her OT degree, Beth has pursued further education in Interprofessional Collaborative Change Leadership, Advanced Health Leadership, and a Master of Public Administration. Beth has applied her leadership skills in her work with the Northern Studies Stream at McMaster University in the School of Rehabilitation Science and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine.
Currently, Beth is the Director of the Regional Stroke Centre and the North & East GTA Stroke Network at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Beth manages a regional portfolio in which she is a senior leader who works with Local Health Integration Networks (LHINS) to support the implementation of best practices in stroke care. Beth plays a leadership role in stroke evaluation and knowledge translation in Ontario and has been instrumental in facilitating system change to improve outcomes for persons with stroke. She has also directed and participated in research with a focus on health services, strokerecovery, cognition, and tele-rehabilitation.
Posted March 26, 2015
Director (2014 – present)
Throughout her educational and professional careers, Sylvia has developed a keen interest in working with older adults. Sylvia initially worked in the Regional Geriatric Program at the Toronto General Hospital and returned to the University of Toronto to pursue a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Science in order to investigate the perspectives of older adults who had experienced a hip fracture. Her curiosity surrounding this topic stemmed from the poor outcomes, particularly deteriorated functional status, commonly experienced by older adults following a hip fracture, despite healing optimally from a physical standpoint. Sylvia went on to work as a Psychogeriatric Resource Consultant- providing support to staff in long term care and community agencies- and later as an Advanced Practice Leader in Geriatrics at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.
Sylvia currently works at Baycrest Health Sciences as the Professional Practice Chief for Occupational Therapy, supporting staff and advancing occupational therapy practice in clinical care, education and research across the organization. Another one of her roles at Baycrest is Education Coordinator for MOVE ON (Mobilization of Vulnerable Elders in Ontario), a project to examine and recognize the benefits of early and consistent mobilization during one’s hospital stay through an interprofessional approach. Baycrest has been involved in this provincial project with the complex continuing care population as well as on its mental health units.
Additionally, Sylvia played a role in developing the partnership between CAOT and the Alzheimer Society of Canada as both organizations want to build capacity for occupational therapists across the country, to meet a growing need for expertise in the field of dementia care. Sylvia is active in teaching at the University of Toronto and regularly presents at conferences. She received the Department of OS & OT Award for Excellence in Teaching during the 2006/2007 school year and the 2013 Excellence in Research Supervision award from the University of Toronto.
Posted March 26, 2015
Director (2007–2009), President-Elect (2012–2013), President (2013–2014)
While assuming her numerous leadership roles with OSOT, Andrea has been part of developing and executing two strategic plans; has facilitated the evolution of OSOT governance at the Board level; has assisted in raising the profession’s profile within government and has been proud to see OSOT membership consistently grow and remain vibrant.
Andrea began her clinical career working in the community and in the auto insurance sector. She then developed further clinical experience in paediatric mental health. After some reflection on next steps in her career, Andrea made the transition into management where she worked at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Centre (Toronto) in out-patient and in-patent management roles. During this time, Andrea pursued a graduate degree Health Administration from the Institute for Health Policy, Management, and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. Upon graduation in 2011, Andrea received the Robert Wood Johnson Award as recognition for being the student most likely to make a valuable contribution in health services management.
Since joining Trillium Health Partners in 2013, Andrea has taken on both operational and enabling services roles as the Director of Primary Care, Rehab, Complex Continuing Care and Seniors’ Services and currently as the Director of Medical Administration (Interim). Being one to always embrace change, Andrea has recently been provided with the opportunity to return to operations as Trillium’s Director for In-Patient Medicine and Intensive Care and is looking forward to a new challenge. Although Andrea’s daily role is not as an occupational therapist, she strongly believes that her training and experience as a clinical OT have enabled her to be an effective leader and her volunteerism through OSOT has allowed her to maintain a strong connection to the profession.
She is proud to be an OT and a U of T alumnus!
Posted March 26, 2015
Director (2011-2012, 2014)
More recently, Leta assumed the role of Director for 3 years between 2011-2014. She has provided insight and perspective to the Board on the Long-Term Care and Auto Insurance sectors.
Leta began her career by working clinically in rheumatology, and then transitioned to a position in the community with The Arthritis Society. She went on to work in the Auto-Insurance Sector, in which she completed ergonomic assessments and liaised with other healthcare professionals to develop return to work plans for clients who were injured in motor vehicle accidents. Teaching has always been a desire of Leta’s, and from 2011-2014 she was a Professional Associate at McMaster University. This role involved providing leadership and guidance to MSc OT candidates. Leta has continued to pursue her passion for teaching by currently working as an instructor for the Physiotherapy Assistant (PTA) and Occupational Therapy Assistant (OTA) programs at triOS College of Business, Technology, & Healthcare. In addition to these roles, Leta recently became the PTA/OTA Program Coordinator. Leta has demonstrated leadership qualities throughout her career not only in her teaching and programming roles, but also in her volunteerism with OSOT.
Posted March 26, 2015
Barbara also helped to spearhead the Strategic Advisory Committee, which addressed various important OT issues with Ontario’s Ministry of Health. These include: ensuring access to OT in all health related sectors; ensuring a restorative approach for individuals who could benefit and are admitted to Home Care; and highlighting the need to resume access to OT in Long Term Care settings.
Barbara is also a visionary leader in her current role as the Vice President of Client Services at VHA Home HealthCare in Toronto. She is responsible for the growth and maintenance of 8 Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) service contracts as well as a variety of grants from community funders including the United Way and the City of Toronto. Her role involves identifying and implementing models of care, ensuring ‘client and family voices’ are part of every quality and operational improvement – from idea and design to evaluation, and ensuring the stability and ongoing funding for ‘grant dependent’ community support programs. Additionally, Barbara sits on a variety of external advisory and strategic committees.
Posted March 26, 2015
Director (2010 – 2014)
During her tenure, the Board developed OSOT’s current four-year Strategic Plan with a focus to promote Occupational Therapy (OT) to the public and professional colleagues. OSOT also launched their public website (www.OTOntario.ca) within this period.
Throughout her busy career, Iris has worked in a variety of areas. She initially worked in physical rehabilitation following her graduation from the University of Toronto (U of T) in 1978. She worked at Community Occupational Therapists and Associates (COTA) in pediatrics- providing consultation in schools through the School Health Support. In addition to clinical work, Iris worked for 15 years as the Clinical Fieldwork Coordinator at COTA – developing the clinical fieldwork program for a variety of professional programs. During the final five years of her time as Clinical Fieldwork Coordinator, Iris assumed the role of Clinical Training and Development Specialist for new therapists. She also initiated and developed a Mentorship Program for COTA. Iris has worked in the Department of OS & OT at U of T as a Fieldwork Coordinator and lecturer, and as a Mentor. Iris has a distinguished history of volunteerism. In addition to serving on the OSOT Board, she was Executive Director of Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation (COTF) from 1985 – 1988, and has continued to support COTF in a variety of capacities. She has also assumed many volunteer roles within the Department of OS&OT over the years. In recognition of her outstanding volunteer service to the university, Iris received a University of Toronto Arbour Award in 2013.
Posted March 26, 2015
President-Elect (2008-2009), President (2009-2011),
and Past President (2011-2013)
Doctoral Candidate, Rehabilitation Science Institute,
University of Toronto.
Through comprehensive advocacy and lobbying initiatives, OSOT influenced policy shifts in provincial Ministry of Health funding including: funding for occupational therapists in Family Health Teams, as well as tax incentives for home renovations to support seniors aging-in-place. During this period, the Board committed to a tri-council initiative exploring scope of practice issues, invested in and re-launched funding grants for strategic occupational therapy research, and set the groundwork in place for a province-wide media campaign promoting occupational therapy to Ontarians.
Gail graduated with a BScOT from the University of Toronto (UT’81), completed her MSc through in 2006 and is completing a PhD with the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science, funded through a CIHR Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship and a Canadian Occupational Therapy Foundation Research Award. Gail’s research, framed by critical social theory perspectives, explores the notion of ‘inclusion’. The study involves youth who have little or no speech, and examines links between their understandings and experiences of inclusion/exclusion and broader sociopolitical contexts where inclusion is a taken-for-granted ‘good’. This research will help to improve programs and services that aim to support inclusion by adding information about types of inclusion that are enabling for youth, and by pointing out instances where ‘inclusion’ can be disabling and marginalizing, even though this is unintended.
Posted March 26, 2015
Examples of OT Alumni Leadership
Katie Churchill | MScOT, OT. Reg. (Ont.)
Senior Practice Lead, Occupational Therapy, Alberta Health Services
Throughout her career she’s been highly involved with the University of Toronto, Department of OS&OT. She has held a status appointment since 2007 and currently holds an appointment as lecturer. Through participation in clinical placements, research supervision, lab facilitation and small group instruction, she expressed having had numerous opportunities for professional and personal growth.
Clinical research has complemented her interest in knowledge transfer and knowledge translation. She has been directly involved in CIHR funded studies and is a co-investigator on a study looking at brain injury outcomes in trauma patients.
Involvement in research has provided Katie with the opportunity to present at local, national and international conferences. She believes that clinical research promotes ongoing reflection of best practice, and this encourages her to advocate for the role of Occupational Therapy.
Katie’s involvement in research has also equipped her with the knowledge, skills and experience needed to move out of the clinical setting and into a leadership position as the Provincial Senior Practice Lead for Occupational Therapy with Alberta Health Services.
Her role as Senior Practice Lead in Occupational Therapy is an exciting and challenging position that entails providing input and advocacy for OT in provincial initiatives, collaborating with academic and community partners, leading OT working groups and supporting best practice and innovation for OTs across the province of Alberta.
Katie believes that her passion and enthusiasm for Occupational Therapy has been largely shaped by her experience as a student and through her ongoing involvement as a clinical educator and researcher with the Department of OS&OT.
We are proud of the Katie’s many achievements and we look forward to hearing about her future endeavors.
Posted April 13, 2015
Angela Colantonio | PhD, OT. Reg. (Ont.)
Professor, University of Toronto
CIHR Research Chair in Gender, Work and Health
Senior Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute,
University Health Network
A leader in brain injury research, Angela graduated with a BSc OT from the University of Toronto (U of T) in 1981, and continued her studies at U of T to receive her MSc in Community Health. She went on to pursue her PhD in Epidemiology and Public Health from Yale University. After three years as a fellow and professor at the University of Pittsburgh, Angela returned to Toronto and established an internationally recognized research program on acquired brain injury (ABI). Research topics of focus include the epidemiology of ABI, particularly among vulnerable persons; work-related traumatic brain injury; and the influence of sex/gender on ABI outcomes. Angela also co-developed an innovative, research-informed theatrical production, “After the Crash: A Play about Brain Injury”, which aims to facilitate knowledge translation using a creative approach.
Angela’s research involves the collaboration of many individuals, including those with lived experiences of brain injury. As an occupational therapist, Angela is committed to client-centred research that partners with stakeholders involved. Further, she serves as a Board Member with the Brain Injury Association of Canada. Angela extends an invitation to readers interested in her research and projects to contact her; she recognizes the importance of collaboration for the advancement of brain injury research and occupational therapy, which ultimately aims to benefit individuals with brain injury.
Her numerous awards include being the inaugural Saunderson Family Chair in Acquired Brain Injury Research at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, a subsequent CIHR Research Chair in Gender Work and Health an Ontario Rehabilitation Research Network Leadership Award and an Alumni Achievement Award. More recently, Angela was awarded the Robert L. Moody Prize for Distinguished Initiatives in Brain Injury Research and Rehabilitation. This award is administered through the University of Texas Medical Branch’s School of Health Professions, and aims to promote national and international awareness of the need to further develop research in applied brain injury and rehabilitation. As the 2015 recipient, Angela is the first Canadian to receive this prestigious award. Congratulations, Angela!
Posted March 4, 2015
Mandy Lowe | MSc, BSc(OT), OT Reg. (Ont.)
Congratulations Mandy on your appointment as Director of Education,
Co-Director, University Health Network (UHN) International Centre for Education,
Associate Director, Centre for Interprofessional Education,
University of Toronto.
Mandy considers her education in occupational therapy to be an asset in her leadership endeavours. The holistic approach employed by occupational therapists lends itself well to an understanding of the complexity of systems and the impact of actions. Furthermore, collaboration is a core tenet of occupational therapy, and a trait that is central to Mandy’s values. Mandy also works to adopt a strengths-based approach to leadership that values the unique strengths of each individual working within and across teams. Occupational therapy also provided Mandy with a strong foundation in using a reflective approach to her work, fuelled by a passion for lifelong learning, and instilled in her a strong commitment to achieving meaningful results that make a difference in the lives of people with whom she works.
In addition to Mandy’s role as Co-Director of UHN ICE, Mandy works as Director of Education at UHN, as well as the Associate Director of the Centre for Interprofessional Education at the University of Toronto. Mandy also holds an appointment (status) as Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Mandy’s various leadership roles are truly inspirational.
Posted March 4, 2015