2019 HEALTH CARE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR NOMINEE
HEALTH CARE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR
One of my passions has always been to make a difference each and every day in the lives of the clients I work with and to ensure our communities have excellent services and resources for individuals living with acquired brain injuries (ABI).
I have been working as an Occupational Therapist (OT) for 19 years and am the Director of Bayshore Therapy & Rehab in Ontario. I obtained my OT degree from McMaster University in 2000 and worked at McMaster University Medical Centre immediately after graduation. While working in the hospital I assisted individuals who had brain injuries and neurocognitive impairments as a result of stroke, trauma and illnesses. This was an amazing start to my career. Unfortunately less than a year later, I was involved in a serious car accident and my injuries prevented me from working at the hospital. Having just experienced trauma and the insurance system myself (oh my), I decided to jump into the ever-exciting world of motor vehicle and workplace accidents, focussing my career on brain injury rehabilitation. I haven’t looked back!
As an OT, I feel it is extremely important to implement evidenced based practice. I learn from the yearly ABI conferences and cognitive workshops I attend, have been a presenter at the OBIA conference in Niagara and continually work towards providing excellent client care. This past year I was excited to lead a Bayshore pilot project with Vox Neuro, a research company at McMaster University who completes functional EEGs. The fEEG identifies specific cognitive impairments, which helps therapists guide their treatment programs. My team and I developed a cognitive rehab toolbox based on the latest research evidence and best practices, which allows our therapists to target impairments identified. What is most exiting is that we are seeing cognitive improvements when a repeat fEEG is completed! As Director at Bayshore, I am proud to mentor my team in the area of brain injury rehabilitation. I host workshops and information sessions where our team shares resources to ensure we are keeping current. I am also a Professional Associate of McMaster University and have been mentoring students for 17 years.
My passion for brain injury advocacy has led me to pursue volunteer work throughout my career. For many years I volunteered with the Hamilton Brain Injury Association (HBIA) raising much needed funds as part of the walk/run committee to support their clubhouse and other initiatives. In 2016 I joined the Board of Directors for the Brain Injury Association of Niagara (BIAN), assisted as Vice President in 2018 and was voted President in 2019. My first year on the Board I was the Ontario Advisory Council (OAC) representative, which allowed me to meet with the Ontario Brain Injury Association (OBIA) and other brain injury organizations in the province to share strategies and resources. This is a fantastic initiative! For the last 3 years I have led and/or assisted with our biggest BIAN Gala fundraiser, working with an amazing team of hard working volunteers to raise funds that directly support BIAN. As President it is my goal to continue to raise awareness regarding brain injuries, rehabilitation, prevention, support and to provide the best services as possible for clients and families. I am also excited to continue to partner with OBIA for the Peer Mentorship Program and OAC committee, as collaboration and learning from each other is the best way to help those living with acquired brain injuries.
I am so honored to be nominated for the 2019 Awards of Excellence in Brain Injury Rehabilitation for Health Care Provider. I am humbled to be working alongside so many rehabilitation professionals, researchers and leaders who are equally as deserving. I would like to give a huge thank you to OBIA and Personal Injury Alliance (PIA) for recognizing the work we do and for your advocacy in brain injury rehabilitation.