Social Issues in Rehabilitation

Social Issues in Rehabilitation (Part I) 

On Monday April 26, the Speaker Series hosted a virtual event in collaboration with the executive committee of the RSGSU and rehabINK, to discuss social issues in rehabilitation. Part I of the event involved a discussion on race, culture and sex and gender issues in rehab. RSI PhD candidate Samira Omar kicked off the event with a stimulating talk on equity in rehabilitation for Black people and Black people living with a traumatic brain injury. She set the tone for discussing ways of coming together by describing intersectionality in her work and introduced some key terms that are necessary to understand when engaging with race equity in rehab. This was followed by a lively talk by Dr. Sarah Oosman, who described community engagement strategies in a northern Saskatchewan Métis community. She discussed the significance of applying 4 R’s (respect, relevance, reciprocity, responsibility) in a Participatory Action Research approach and emphasized the significance of an additional R, which is relationships. Dr. Barry Trentham closed the first portion of the session with an enlightening talk on the importance of sexuality as a determinant of health and the potential barriers to effective rehabilitation for 2SLGBTQ+ people. He highlighted ways of creating queer positive and safer rehabilitation spaces. The second part of the session was composed of two dynamic panel discussions that involved interactive attendee questions and conversations between the speakers and additional panelists, who were notable community members, people with lived experience, scholars and writers. QueenTite Opaleke and Liz Durocher had insightful contributions to the Equity for Black and Indigenous People panel, while Aaron Ansuini and Rochelle Furtado engaged attendees and speakers in the Sex and Gender considerations panel. To view the recording for the talk by Dr. Sarah Oosman and Dr. Barry Trentham please click on the following link:

Social Issues in Rehabilitation (Part II) 

On Monday May 10, the Speaker Series held the second part of the 2-part series event, Social Issues in Rehab, in collaboration with the executive committee of the RSGSU and rehabINK. During the second part of the event, the focus was on the influence of socioeconomic status (SES) on rehabilitation, and disability rights and access to rehabilitation. Dr. Sherry Grace, a prominent scientist in cardiac rehabilitation research gave an eye-opening talk on the reasons for low utilization of cardiac rehab in individuals of lower socioeconomic status. This was followed by an influential talk by Dr. Patrick Campell on disability rights. Dr. Campell is stammerer and children’s doctor who explained how changing our perspective about stammering can re-shape the reality we all live in and reduce the stigma associated with people who stutter. Dr. Alisa Grigorovich a lead critical gerontologist and a health services and policy researcher closed the first part of the event off with a clarifying and informative talk on how the concept of disability rights relates aging/dementia, by highlighting current and relevant issues pertaining the sexual rights of people living with dementia, right to self-expression and intimacy. The second part of the event involved 2 concurrent breakout sessions where notable community members, people with lived experience, scholars and rehabINK writers were invited to share their insights and expertise in dynamic panel discussions. Fiona Hobler and Terri-Lynn Langdon joined to the disability rights panel, while Kevin McShan, DeBritnay Mitchell and Julisa Cully joined the SES panel. The panelists engaged attendees with their brilliant opinions and keen responses. To view the recording of the talks please click on the following link:

Social Issues in Rehabilitation (Part III) 

The Speaker Series- Social Issues in Rehab collaborative event ended with a discussion on intersectionality during RSI Research Day. Members of the Speaker Series highlighted relevant takeaway quotes from the speakers of the preceding events. This was followed by a talk by Dr. Kristina Kokorelias on how intersectionality is pertinent to her research, particularly in the development and evaluation of supports for family caregivers. To end things off, the discussion was opened up to conference attendees who presented their views during the session.  

Comprehensive Exam Workshop

The mentorship committee hosted a workshop on comprehensive examination for PhD students. The workshop kicked off with a presentation on the recent updates and what to expect from the comprehensive examination committee. Following this, students got the chance to ask our RSI Faculty Panel any questions or concerns, and heard from an RSI Student Panel about their experiences. 

Women in Rehab: Beyond Academia

What better way to kick off January then with our first ever virtual RSI Speaker Series of the year! We welcomed Viivi Riis, President of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association; Deanna Groetzinger, Manager, Public Affairs & Partnerships at Neurological Health Charities Canada; and Dr. Jackie Schleifer Taylor, President of the Children’s Hospital; Vice President, Women’s Care and Executive Vice President, Chief Quality and Patient Safety Officer at London Health Sciences Centre. Our speakers shared about their experiences in pursuing careers outside of traditional academic roles.

Viivi kicked off the event describing her experience working as a physical therapist and advocating for her profession in her current role. She advised our audience to become experts in our own areas and as “rehabilitationists” to find niches where our knowledge is valued and needed. 

Next, we heard from Deanna who described how the skills of “rehabilitationists” are easily transferable to working in non-profit or charitable organizations. Deanna emphasized that career paths aren’t always straight and recommended seeking out learning opportunities in our organizations.

Lastly, Dr. Schleifer Taylor shared her observations of how the healthcare system has changed over time and how “rehabilitationists” can offer their unique skills to tackle these new challenges. She spoke about her experience in various leadership positions and emphasized the importance of mentorship. 

The event wrapped up with an engaging panel discussion, with questions from the audience about how to respond to shrinking budgets in our organizations, despite the need for expansion of our work, and how to cope during these unprecedented times. 

Thanks to our fantastic speakers and audience! 

Stay tuned for an announcement about an exciting upcoming event!