This past year – 2017 – we celebrated an amazing legacy in physical therapy at the University of Toronto – our 100th year anniversary. The University of Toronto is where physical therapy began in Canada and it continues to be where clinical practice and research blends together to provide unparalleled opportunities for the profession. A number of events marked our 100th year. Tesca Andrew Wasylik, a second year MScPT student won the t-shirt design contest and her winning design is shown in the header of this message. We held several celebratory events, including a public lecture on running injuries provided by Agnes Makowski in May and a lecture to Alumni titled “Exercise for the Unfit” by myself in June. Our celebrations culminated with two events in September – a “Conversation with Rick and Amanda Hansen” and the unveiling of the Enid Graham plaque at Hart House.
Our very devoted clinical teaching faculty are providing innovative education models to an expanding enrolment – a class of 100 Masters of Physical Therapy students in September 2017 and 108 students in September 2018. Our MScPT program recruits students across Ontario and Canada. This is very much complemented by the Ontario Internationally Education Physiotherapy Bridging Program that attracts international trained physical therapy students from around the world, who wish to be licensed to practice in Canada. Our Bridging program has received an unprecedented fourth cycle of renewed funding from the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration. Both of these programs are poised to meeting the ever increasing needs of physical therapists that have a projected growth of 3.5% in Ontario over the next five years. Key external drivers are the aging population, initiatives to decrease healthcare spending, households that have more disposable income, and decreased unemployment.
Many international programs have met with our Dept of PT faculty to embark on partnerships related to research and teaching. “Strengthening our International Partnerships: Towards an International Strategy” is one of three priorities outlined by President Gertler in the most recent strategic plan for the University of Toronto. Numerous partnerships related to our research programs have been established and are ongoing. We are looking to strengthen these international relationships and several universities from around the world and looking to work with us. During the recent past, delegations from universities in China, Australia, Japan, Denmark, Egypt, Ukraine and Dubai have met with us to explore future collaborations.
We are grateful to a number of Advancement awards that have been provided to support graduate work in our MScPT and research graduate programs –
- The Diane Gasner Scholarship is an endowed scholarship that will be awarded to an MScPT UofT graduate who performs a graduate degree in RSI related to MSK.
- The Student Advocacy Award will offer funding for five years to facilitate student advocacy that promotes the profession of physical therapy.
- The Rick and Amanda Hansen Fellowship, in partnership with the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation and the Rick Hansen Institute is a scholarship that will be offered for two years to support research for people with spinal cord injuries.
Our faculty and students have accomplished great things and I would like to acknowledge some of these achievements
- Two our MScPT students received Gordon Cressy Award Winners this year- Karla Newman and Celine Nathoo. Both are exceptional individuals who contribute to the community and the university.
- Congratulations to all those who were promoted in the professorial ranks this past year. Promotion at the University of Toronto truly represents a tremendous achievement.
- Avril Mansfield to Associate Professor
- Sunita Mathur to Associate Professor
- George Mochizuki to Associate Professor
- Virginia Wright to Full Professor
- Karen Yoshida to Full Professor
- Karl Zabjek to Associate Professor
We continue to earn recognition worldwide for our excellence in both research and teaching. It is truly an honor to have joined the esteemed faculty, staff, students and clinical physiotherapy community at the University of Toronto who are leading the way for the future of physical therapy.
Darlene Reid, Professor and Chair
Department of Physical Therapy
University of Toronto