Thelma Cardwell Lecture & Reception

2018 Thelma Cardwell Lecture & Centenary Reception

The 2018 Thelma Cardwell Lecture and Reception on May 9 was very well attended and a great success.

Dr. Heidi Cramm’s lecture 100 Years Later: How trauma continues to shape occupational therapy practice, explored the many ways in which people are exposed to trauma, and how that exposure can affect their everyday occupations and those of their families.  Heidi described the value and importance of using a trauma-informed approach to occupational therapy practice, naming it a call to arms for the profession.

Trauma has long been an implicit part of occupational therapy’s work. One hundred years ago, University of Toronto began training ward aides to reengage veterans of World War I back into their lives and their communities. While trauma may have been (and is still) omnipresent in the experience of veterans, it is also a catalyst that brings civilians to interact with an occupational therapist. Experiences of injury or loss, or working as a first responder, for example, can be traumatic, leaving us to grapple with sudden and significant alterations in our daily lives and in our expectations for the future; one needn’t have a formal diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder or a related mental illness.

Says Dr. Cramm, Trauma is often a precursor, a catalyst for our clients to intersect with our professional domain. It would serve us well to address it explicitly and with the empathy that is required. We have much to do to answer this call to arms. She continues: As a profession, we must, once and for all, move past the false dichotomy of mental health and physical health to recognize that trauma is a commonly experienced theme for the vast majority of our clients, regardless of their referral pathway.

Professor Susan Rappolt, Chair of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, gave the land acknowledgement, welcomed guests to the 21st Thelma Cardwell Lecture and spoke about the Department’s Centenary celebrations.  Professor Emerita Judith Friedland shared a few words about Thelma Cardwell and introduced Dr. Cramm, and Prof. Jill Stier provided closing remarks.

Alumni, students, community partners, faculty, staff and special guests University of Toronto President Emeritus David Naylor and Faculty of Medicine Dean Trevor Young joined the reception following the lecture. Dean Young addressed the gathering, highlighting the Department’s centenary celebrations and the expansion of the MScOT program at the University of Toronto Mississauga campus this coming September.

We thank Dr. Heidi Cramm for being our esteemed 2018 Thelma Cardwell Lecturer.  We also thank our caterers at Raging Spoon for preparing delicious appetizers, and the Faculty of Medicine’s Advancement Office for their support.

Click here to view photos of the event and to upload your own pictures to the album.

Photo of Heidi Cramm speaking at the podium Photo of guests at reception Photo of department staff & faculty with Heidi Cramm