Category Archives: alumni

All news posts relevant to the Clinical Community & Alumni section of the website.

Occupational Therapy Alumna Gives Back, Supporting Research in Workplace Mental Health

For Emily Geldsaler Grant (Dip OT ’47), using her occupational therapy training from the University of Toronto to help soldiers returning from World War II to adjust to life was a privilege she recalls to this day.

“I met people who could no longer be in the army, active and doing their job. But as an occupational therapist, I was able to make them feel that they could still do their part for their country, for themselves and their families, to be ready to face their future,” says Grant.

Since her days as a student, she has continued to give back to the place where her own helping journey started. Her most recent gift provides $1.5 million for the Emily Geldsaler Grant Early Career Professorship, an endowed professorship in workplace mental health in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

Read the full story by the Faculty of Medicine’s Suzanne Bowness

photo: Emily Geldsaler Grant and her late husband, Eugene Grant, courtesy of the Grant Family

PT & OT Alumni Achievement Award Nominations: February 28 Deadline

The year 2019 marks the 23rd anniversary of the Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Alumni Achievement Awards. The PT and OT Alumni Achievement Awards, first awarded in June 1996, acknowledge graduates who have made exceptional contributions as members of the Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy professions. Alumni or members of the public may nominate a University of Toronto graduate in Physical Therapy or Occupational Therapy for this award. Each year, one alumnus from Physical Therapy and one alumnus from Occupational Therapy receive the award at the Alumni Reunion held in June.

The February 28 deadline for the 2019 PT & OS&OT Alumni Achievement Award Nominations is approaching fast!

To submit a nomination, download and complete a Nomination Package from the PT-OT Alumni Association website.  Nominations will be accepted until 12:00 noon on February 28.

Contact ptotalumni.facmed@utoronto.ca for more information.

Photo of students from Physical and Occupational Therapy Program, graduating 1967

POT Class of ’67 Funds a Landmark Bench

Leading up to the 50th anniversary of their graduation from U of T’s physical and occupational therapy program, several members of the class of 1967 proposed coming together in support of a Landmark Project bench. The Landmark Project, the most significant landscape project of the past century, will revitalize the University’s historic core by creating dynamic, open spaces for the university and wider communities to come together. Read the full story at http://uoft.me/POTlandmark.

Class Of '97 Reunion

Class of ’97 Reunion

On November 4, 2017, a reunion was held for the Class of 1997. The first class to graduate in the fall, the students were in what was called the “2+2+ program” (two years undergrad plus 2 years plus in OT). It was a way of restructuring the program in preparation for the MScOT which was phased in a few years later.

Nominations for Alumni Achievement Awards

Nominations are now open for the University of Toronto PT & OT 2018 Alumni Achievement Awards.

The Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Alumni Achievement Awards recognize and celebrate outstanding alumni who have made exceptional contributions in their professions. The awards will be presented by the PT & OT Alumni Association at Alumni Reunion in June.

Nominations are due by 12:00 pm on March 15, 2018.

Download the nomination package to learn more about the awards, process and documentation required for submissions.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful contributions.
 
Additional information >>

Linda Petty and Sarah Ko

Alumnus Receives Funding to Review AT Interventions

Congratulations to Linda Petty (BScOT ’80, MScOT candidate) and co-investigator Sarah Ko, recipients of the 2017 OSOT Research Fund Occupational Therapy Research Grant for their study “Assistive technology accommodations for post-secondary students with mental health disabilities: A scoping review.” This review will map the literature regarding AT interventions to support young adults with mental health disabilities in post-secondary institutions such as universities and colleges. The investigators anticipate that results will identify gaps for future research, demonstrate the value and feasibility of undertaking a full systematic review and encourage more occupational therapists to assume innovative and leadership roles as subject matter expert professionals in prescribing and recommending AT accommodations to young adults with mental health disabilities.
 
Petty, the Assistive Technology Consultant at UTSC’s Accessibility Services, is from the first cohort set to graduate from our MScOT Advanced Standing Program this November. Sarah Ko (MScOT, Queens University) is the Practicum and Professional Development Officer in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at University of Toronto.

Jade and Mallory Ryan

Dance Ability Movement Helps Fulfill Kids’ Dreams

The Ryan Sisters are truly inspirational! OS&OT Alumni, they have used their occupational therapy expertise and passion for dance to develop Dance Ability Movement which provides inclusive dance programs for all children.
 
 
It is the dream of many young children to learn to dance, and children’s dance classes are immensely popular. However, children with disabilities often face barriers to participation in dance. This is why the work that the Ryan Sisters do through The Dance Ability Movement is truly inspirational. They use their passion for dance and their skills and knowledge as occupational therapists to develop safe, inclusive dance classes for children of all abilities. The Ryan sisters and The Dance Ability Movement were recently profiled by CTV Toronto.

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.