CAOT Conference Guest Speakers

Opening keynote speaker

CAOT President Catherine Backman

Wednesday, May 29
Great Room C 19:00

CAOT’s current president, Catherine Backman, will share her thoughts on the evolving topic of ‘social prescription’ and the distinct parallels to occupational therapy that need to be articulated and promoted.
Systems, silos, and person-centred design

Have you ever read an article or watched a news item about innovative solutions to complex health or social issues and thought to yourself, “sounds a lot like occupational therapy”? Let’s leverage those stories to share key messages about the value of OT to new audiences. Occupational therapists are exceptionally gifted at designing solutions that promote health, well-being, and social participation in many different contexts. There’s more to “social prescription” than a free pass to a museum or art class: we know, because we have a century of experience helping individuals and communities thrive using creative, social, and practical occupations. We use processes aligned with systems thinking and design thinking, approaches touted as critical to finding creative and durable solutions to society’s most complex problems. Deliberately applying design thinking principles may help us better express the unique and focused contribution of occupational therapy to health and social systems.

Plenary – Reclaiming the Occupational Lens in the Aging Well Discourse

Friday, May 31 
Great Room C 10:00-11:00

Inspired by a reading of Atul Gawande’s best-selling book, Being Mortal, this session provides an overview of Gawande’s critique of conventional medical treatment of older people living with chronic health issues. He outlines the limitations of an individually focused, bio-medical approach that is overly concerned with physical health, independence, and the health and safety risks faced by older adults. He proposes a more, holistic, person-centred approach to care that taps into clients’ stories, and identifies ways to support older adults’ efforts to find meaning and purpose as they journey through this latter end of the life course.

While many of the principles outlined in the book are foundational to occupational therapy, the absence of any reference to the work and contributions of occupational therapists to support aging well is puzzling. After a brief description of Gawande’s key observations and critiques, panelists will speak to practice applications of his perspective, the potential reasons for the invisibility of occupational therapy in public discourse related to aging well, as well as strategies that can be employed to convey and highlight the relevance of occupational therapists’ contributions to aging well.
Barry Trentham: moderator, discussant 
Plenary panelDr. Barry Trentham has over 30 years of experience as a clinician, educator and researcher whose current work focuses on the intersections among advocacy, equity, and social inclusion processes and the social determinants of healthy aging within diverse communities. His research questions are framed within an understanding of occupational transitions across the life course and examined primarily through critical qualitative methodologies including narrative, arts-informed life histories, and participatory methods. Dr. Trentham holds a Masters in Environmental Studies (York University) and a PhD from the Department of Adult Education and Counseling Psychology (OISE/UT) and the Institute for Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto. Dr. Trentham is currently the Academic Coordinator (Mississauga Campus) and Assistant Professor with the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto.

Dick Moore has worked for 30 years with retired people and their families, including nine years as Director of Senior Services of the Toronto Family Service, and five years as Director of the Older Adult Centre at St. Christopher House
From 2003 to his retirement in 2010, he worked toward better understanding and issue resolution between the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) and straight communities as Coordinator of the Older LGBTQ Program at the 519 Church Street Community Centre.

Dick worked with the Homes and Services for the Aged Division of Toronto to develop a Tool Kit for making long term care friendly and accessible for LGBTQ people. This resource is available on line from the City of Toronto. He continues as a freelance trainer and consultant on LGBTQ access with home care agencies and long term care homes. In 2012 Dick worked with SPRINT Senior Care, a multi service agency providing home support services for older citizens, to develop a tool kit for providing queer friendly community support services.

Dick currently works with Senior Citizens Advisory Committee of the City of Port Colborne and on a community advisory committee on research into the needs and concerns of older LGBTQ citizens of regional Niagara.

Josephine Grayson
A social policy advisor by education and experience, Josephine Grayson is currently an independent consultant advising organizations on becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive. She has over 30 years’ experience in human rights and employment equity. She has pursued this work at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Ontario Women’s Directorate, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board, the Employment Equity Commission and TD Bank Financial Group. She has long been an enthusiastic volunteer, holding Board of Directors positions with the CNIB, the YWCA, and ACCES Employment. She is the Past Chair of Care Watch Ontario, a senior-led group advocating for improved home and community care services for Ontario’s senior citizens. Josephine received a B.A. in Sociology from Glendon College, York University and an M.S.W. in Policy from Carleton University.

Dr. Sachindri Wijekoon is an occupational therapist and a researcher whose doctoral work explored the experience of aging out-of-place. Specifically, this work shed light on the plight of late-life immigrants. Her interests lie in how context is implicated in older adults’ perceptions of, and participation in old age and in diversifying the existing profile of aging, particularly in light of globalization and changing Canadian demographics. Her focus on understanding how diverse older adults connect and engage with places through the aging process lends to her continued work focused on advancing seniors’ health and well-being through enabling occupation. In her current role as a post-doctoral fellow with the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists and AGE-WELL, she is involved in a knowledge mobilization initiative which profiles how occupational therapists enable transitions experienced by older adults.

Muriel Driver Memorial Lecturer 

Susan Forwell

Friday, May 31
Great Room C 16:30-17:30

The Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture is given by the previous year’s Muriel Driver Memorial Award recipient. The Memorial lecture provides an opportunity to reflect on the current and future state of the profession, the way it is practiced and the way it could be practised.

Dr. Susan Forwell is this year’s lecturer. Susan is recognized for her contributions to the profession not only through her leadership, teaching, research, and influence on practice, but also for her outstanding contributions to CAOT, including a past presidency and involvement with 17 different committees since 1991. Her dedication to the field of chronic illness, specifically multiple sclerosis, has led to the development of a comprehensive strategy to assess fatigue and enable interventions to target its wide-ranging causes and improve quality of life.

Susan was the first scholar working in Canada with a doctorate in occupational science and has since brought this perspective to all aspects of her career. It was under her leadership that the occupational science stream began at CAOT Conferences. In her various roles at the University of British Columbia (UBC) over the past 26 years, Susan has become well known for her teaching ability- she offers clarity of concepts, engaging dialogue on relevant social issues, and a participatory style to ensure a well-rounded experience for the students she teaches and mentors. She currently heads the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at UBC, where she continues to contribute in a wide variety of ways to the advancement of occupational therapy in Canada.

Breakfast with a Scholar

Crystal Dieleman

Saturday, June 1
Great Room C 7:00-8:00

The prevalence of mental health concerns among Canadians and occupational therapy’s role in addressing the occupational concerns of people living with mental health problems is well established. However, despite the criminalization of mental illnesses also being well-established, the role of occupational therapy in addressing occupational concerns related to criminal justice involvement is largely overlooked. Drawing on examples from her research, Crystal will critically appraise the ideological and structural contexts that have shaped occupational therapy’s silences around criminal justice involvement of people living with mental health concerns, the taken-for-granted ideas and habitual practices of our profession that reinforce processes of criminalization, and the untapped potential of occupational therapy for improving and expanding the occupational opportunities and choices of people subject to both mental health and criminal justice systems. Ticketed event. 

Featured speaker  

Andre Picard

Closing lunch: Saturday, June 1
Great Room C 12:30 – 14:00

Renowned policy writer and health columnist at the Globe and Mail, André Picard, will join us at the closing luncheon of CAOT Conference 2019 to share his thoughts on “Canada’s Medicare System Is Hurting: It Needs Rehab.” The veteran journalist will reflect on the state of the Canadian health system and examine what needs to be fixed, and how, with particular emphasis on the role of health professionals like occupational therapists in promoting patient-centred reforms.

André will enlighten and peak a sense of curiosity of audience members from all educational backgrounds. He is the author of five books, including Matters of Life and Death: Public Health Issues in Canada, and The Path to Health Care Reform: Policies and Politics, and also has a large Twitter following at @picardonhealth. André has received much acclaim for his writing, including the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and the Centennial Prize of the Pan-American Health Association, awarded to the top health journalist in the Americas. He is also an eight-time finalist for the National Newspaper Awards – Canada’s version of the Pulitzer Prize.

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