Clinical specialty area: Neurosciences

Years in specialty practice area: 21

Areas of professional interest: stroke; spinal cord injury; traumatic brain injury; Multiple Sclerosis; Parkinson’s

What did you find most rewarding about the specialty program?

By far the most rewarding part of the specialty program was meeting the other candidates. I was surrounded by bright, dedicated and passionate colleagues who generously shared their knowledge and experience.

What were your reasons for applying to the program? 

I wanted to be sure I was practicing in the most effective, evidence informed manner possible and I wanted to learn and grow professionally.

Where do you hope to see the profession in 25 years? 

Looking forwards 25 years I hope the scope of our profession will have expanded to allow us to participate in the provision of  health care to a degree that reflects the expansiveness of our training and abilities and  that the number of physiotherapy clinical specialists will have grown.

What impact do you think specialization will have on your specialty area? 

I think specialization can only help physiotherapy in neurosciences (and other speciality areas) grow and gain credibility.  

What is the value of the specialty program to candidates? 

It is a vehicle by which to test your knowledge and reflect on your practice through a peer review process and to gain confidence and further your depth of knowledge in a specific area. 

Have you used your specialist network and if so how? 

Yes, when needing advice or mentoring through a complex patient issue or to find expert services for a client in another part of the country or specialty field.

What are important things to consider for those who are interested in pursuing their clinical specialty? 

The process is time consuming and at times can feel a bit daunting but the process itself is part of a huge learning curve and well worth the effort.

What new skills or enhanced skills did you obtain going through the specialty process? 

I learned about evidences based approaches to treating Parkinson’s patients; I learnt to be able to defend any chosen physiotherapy interventions either with evidence or in the absence of evidence to be able to propose a biologically plausible model. I also learnt a new way of thinking about, treating and managing chronic pain and as it presents in many neurological conditions.

What advice would you give to applicants going through the specialty process? 

Hang in there! Find yourself a mentor, don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What impact has the specialization designation had on you and your career?

I am more confident in my role as a clinical instructor, team leader, consultant and manager. It has given me credibility and I am able to look at patient scenarios from many aspects and to draw interventions from a large pool of possibilities.


Jacquie Levy is a physiotherapist with more than 20 years’ experience in the area of neurology, and in working with clients with complex rehabilitation needs. She is the co-owner of Action Potential Rehabilitation, a community based physiotherapy practice in Ottawa, Ontario.  She received her clinical specialist certification in neurosciences from the Physiotherapy Specialty Certification Board of Canada in May 2012 and is an assessor for the specialty program. Jacquie has advanced NDT/Bobath certification and is certified in the LSVT BIG method of treatment for Parkinson’s disease. She has taken courses in a variety of treatment techniques including Constraint Induced Movement Therapy, Motor Relearning and Graded Motor Imagery. Jacquie is a clinical instructor and associate professor for the physiotherapy program at the University of Ottawa. 

Her special interests include the transition and re-integration of patients with multiple needs into the community and fitness programming for the disabled. Jacquie provides physiotherapy consultation and teaching to many of the community exercise programs for these clients in Ottawa, including the Special Needs Branch and Acquired Brain Injury Program (City of Ottawa) and the Aphasia Centre of Ottawa. Together with her practice partner she has taught many workshops across Ontario.

Jacquie is a member of the Ontario Provincial Guidelines Committee helping to establish guidelines for exercise programming for Stroke survivors and is the physiotherapy representative to the Health Advisory Committee of the Champlain LHIN. She is currently the co-chair of the Ottawa Physiotherapy Leadership Group.