Clinical specialty area: Seniors’ Health
Location: Canmore, Alberta
Year of Graduation: PT Degree – 2004; Clinical Specialty Program – 2017
Areas of Interest: Chronic Disease Management (CDM), Exercise Prescription & Behaviour Change, Healthy Aging, and Health System Redesign
Why did you choose to become a clinical specialist?
My initial interest was due to my curiosity.
Given that my professional areas of passion seem to be atypical areas of focus for many Physiotherapists, I was looking for a mechanism to guide my ongoing professional development.
The clinical specialty program provided a framework to help me identify my strengths and my gaps in knowledge, and subsequently create a strategy for advancing my training.
It also provided me with a measuring stick to assess my clinical skills against, as well as having the benefit of providing a nationally recognized credential.
Where do you see the profession in 25 years?
As a profession, I believe we are only scratching the surface of our potential to support healthy aging across a lifespan.
I hope that in 25 years it will be as normal to have an annual movement & physical health check-up with a physiotherapist as it is to visit your dentist for your annual dental check-up today.
This would require a paradigm shift away from being viewed as primarily a rehabilitation profession in favour of a movement towards being viewed as an essential primary health care profession that is responsible for the physical and functional health of Canadians.
How do you feel the clinical specialization role has changed your practice?
Self-reflection and ongoing learning have always been a part of my professional makeup. What the clinical specialization program has added is a concrete process that I can continually apply to support my professional development and growth.
I graduated from the University of Alberta in 2004 and have spent my entire career working in various rural communities in the Canadian Rockies. During this time I have had the opportunity to work in multiple clinical and leadership roles as well as in both private and public practice.
This has allowed me to work closely with local health teams to help find solutions for improving access to physiotherapy services. These experiences ultimately drove my interest in chronic disease management, health behavior change, and alternative service delivery models.
I currently work in Canmore, Alberta. My role is split, working both as a clinical physiotherapist and as a physiotherapy clinical lead for Alberta Health Services.
My clinical areas of passion are in the design and delivery of chronic disease exercise programs, healthy aging, and supporting health behaviour change.
In my clinical lead role, I work with clinicians and operational leaders to support the delivery of innovative & evidence-informed service models.
I have been a board member with the Alberta Physiotherapy Association and an elected council member with Physiotherapy Alberta: College + Association. I am a certified coach with the Coaches Training Institute, and a Clinical Assistant Professor with the University of Alberta, where I have been an invited Guest Lecturer for their Aging & Physiotherapy course since 2013.
I enjoy offering numerous student placements and am extremely flattered and humbled to have won the clinical educator of the year award for physiotherapy in Alberta for 2015
I also won an Award of Excellence in 2009 from the SEARCH Canada program for my work on supporting the long-term maintenance of physical activity for participants following their completion of chronic disease exercise programs.