By Wendy Campbell:
When you think about it, Kevin Reel’s trajectory from occupational therapist to ethicist is perfectly logical – here’s a look at the path he took. Some early work in the field of developmental disabilities and acquired brain injuries introduced him to occupational therapy and encouraged him to enter the program at the University of Toronto. Graduating with a BsC in OT in 1991, he left for the UK where he worked as a clinician in London, primarily in community care, moving into roles as manager and university lecturer. During this time he developed an interest in ethics and earned a MSc. in Bioethics (with distinction) at Imperial College in 2002. His knowledge and experience were consolidated as a member of a multi centre research ethics committee and subsequently he became Education Development Manager at the British Association/College of Occupational Therapy.
Returning to Canada in 2008, Kevin was accepted for a fellowship in Clinical and Organizational Ethics at the Joint Centre for Bioethics. The fellowship completed, he was appointed to the position of inaugural ethicist at the McKenzie Health and Southlake Regional Health Centers, developing ethics programs to fit the needs of the individual hospitals in Richmond Hill, Newmarket and Vaughan.
These challenges were followed by a position at the Centre for Addictions and Mental Health as Ethicist and Co-Discipline Chief for OT. His present position is Ethicist with the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network…LHIN. (Btw, for those of you in my cohort, or nearby, that includes what was called the Community Care Access Centre and before that the Home Care Program.)
Although his primary work is in ethics, Kevin also has a long term interest in understanding the sexual needs of people with disabilities. An active member of the UK based Sexual Health and Disability Alliance, he helps develop resources both for disabled individuals and the professionals working with them. In the wake of Canada’s recent attention to issues surrounding death and the legislation on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), Kevin is part of a group promoting the quality of end of life care and palliative approaches in occupational therapy. He is also involved in the formation of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists’ Practice Network to examine end of life issues as they impact OT’s practice and was part of the group’s presentation at the CAOT conference in Vancouver in June 2018.
A formidable list of publications and presentations, both nationally and internationally, can perhaps be best represented by the following example from May 2015: Equal author and workshop presenter at the annual conference of the American Society on Aging: Intimacy and Aging: Sexual Expression as Part of Dementia Care
So, although Kevin has pursued a different direction from traditional clinical occupational therapy, he identifies as an OT and his work is strongly informed by OT principles. Students have the benefit of his wisdom and experience through his role as Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at U of T. Through his work at the LHIN, he is able to help community clinicians struggle with the complexities of applying ethical practices in their everyday work.
Kevin is an extraordinary example of some of the many paths open to OT’s and PT’s today and we look forward to exploring others as we Rove through Rehab.