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SRS Impact Report 2019-2020

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

– Melody Beattie

Dina Brooks
Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Executive Director of the School of Rehabilitation Science

Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Executive Director, School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS)

It is also the overwhelming feeling that I have when I reflect on my time at McMaster since my arrival in January 2019. During the first year, I was grateful for the support and mentorship from faculty, staff, and colleagues, for the new friendships and the open and inclusive environment of McMaster. Over the last year, I have been grateful for the extraordinary efforts of everyone within the SRS family to ensure that we not only survive, but also thrive through the pandemic, as this 2019-2020 impact report reflects.

Director of Administration

We can reflect on the past two years with great pride.  The SRS administrative team have accomplished so much and remained positive and focused on providing excellent support to our faculty and students, despite many challenges.  Administrative staff have been vital to the success of our in-person activities during the pandemic demonstrating resilience and dedication to SRS.  We are thankful to each of you for your hard work and loyalty.  We look forward to continuing to work together to navigate our new environment ensuring that SRS continues to be the best it can be!

Zrinka Granic
Director of Administration

While 2020 was dominated by issues created by the pandemic, the McMaster Master of Occupational Therapy (MScOT) Program used this time as an opportunity to create new learning experiences for our students and develop streamlined and novel approaches to program implementation.


Jackie Bosch
Assistant Dean, Occupational Therapy
1084 Total applications
65 Students enrolled
13:112Male to female ratio
Description 2019 2020
Total number of applications 1015 1084
Number of students enrolled 63 65
Current male to female ratio 14:115 13:112
Number of graduates 62 66
Number of tutors 78 73
Number of clinical instructors 111 98
Number of clinical placements 219 182
Number of students participating in the Northern Studies Stream 36 25
How many students received university/department/program awards 36 34
Laurie Perrett
Director of Clinical Education,
Occupational Therapy

The Master of Occupational Therapy (MScOT) Program continues to provide innovative and exceptional clinical education learning opportunities to support our students’ development as future experts in enabling occupation. We promoted interprofessional learning and collaborative practice by partnering with the Hotel Dieu Shaver Hospital to implement a combined OT-SLP placement in the Augmentative and Alternative Communication clinic.

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Occupational therapist Lowana Lee and McMaster University student Melanie Rodriguez assessed patients virtually during COVID-19, allowing Rodriguez to complete her final clinical placement before graduation.

OT student and a member of CMHA, in Mississauga, having an online conversation about ‘What is Occupational Therapy’.

Sahithya Balakumar and Caleigh Inman, created a ‘Coping with COVID-19 Group Program Manual’ based on the Do-Live-Well framework.

The McMaster Master of Physiotherapy (MScPT) Program’s staff and faculty have achieved several accomplishments in the last year, including our pioneering transition back to limited onsite learning during the global pandemic. We also hosted our first ever virtual welcome week for the Class of 2022 and celebrated the first graduating class (Class of 2020) from the renewed MSc(PT) curriculum.

Sarah Wojkowski
Acting Assistant Dean, Physiotherapy
935 Total applications
64 Offers Accepted
36:80Male to female ratio
Description 2019 2020
Total number of applications 916 935
Number of students enrolled 65 64
Current male to female ratio 39:81 36:80
Number of graduates 62 58
Number of tutors 35 38
Number of clinical instructors 261 119
Number of clinical placements 364 189
Number of students participating in the Northern Studies Stream 30 12
How many students received university/department/program awards 170 157
Jasdeep Dhir
Acting Director of Clinical Education, Physiotherapy

Clinical education accounts for one third of the Master of Physiotherapy (MScPT) curriculum. The MSc(PT) program must ensure that students obtain a minimum of 1,025 hours in clinical placements across various settings to meet entry to practice standards. With this requirement, there is significant reliance on the dedication of the program’s clinical partners.

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McMaster Physiotherapy students prepare for practice during the COVID pandemic.

The McMaster MSc program in Speech-Language Pathology (MScSLP) launched in September 2017. MSc(SLP) is the only problem-based SLP graduate program in Canada and one of only four worldwide. MSc(SLP) has highly competitive admissions, with more than 400 students applying for 32 places each year.

Lyn Turkstra
Assistant Dean, Speech-Language Pathology
416 Total applications
32 Offers accepted
0:31Male to female ratio
Description 2019 2020
Total number of applications 456 416
Number of students enrolled 33 32
Current male to female ratio 1:26 0:31
Number of graduates 27 30
Number of tutors 25 25
Number of clinical instructors 186 303
Number of clinical placements 146 237
Number of students participating in the Northern Studies Stream 10 2
How many students received university/department/program awards 15 15

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Class 2019 SRS Convocation Awards

Class 2020 O-Week

Justine Hamilton
Director of Clinical Education,
Speech-Language Pathology

The Masters of Speech-Language Pathology (MScSLP) program implemented three types of novel clinical placements over the past two years. Upon graduation, most SLPs are immediately required to supervise communicative disorders assistants (CDAs). While our academic content includes training for CDA supervision, until students work closely with a CDA, it can be difficult to understand the different backgrounds and strengths.

We are very pleased to highlight RS Graduate Program activities that have occurred during this past year. On November 5-6, 2020, the Rehabilitation Science (RS) program successfully completed a virtual Institutional Quality Assurance Process (IQAP) review.

Julie Richardson
Assistant Dean,
Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program
60 Masters Course Based Students
23 Masters Thesis Based Students
48PhD Students
Description 2019 2020
Number of current students enrolled 127 131
• Masters Course-Based 65 60
• Masters Thesis-Based 20 23
• PhD 42 48
Canadian students 110 114
Permanent resident 8 4
International students 9 13
Current male to female ratio 30:97 35:96
External scholarships won by RS students $307,907 $428,989
University/department awards $20,259 $12,200
Number of supervisors 30 30

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Our students have received a number of prestigious awards

Sachi O’Hoski

Awarded the prestigious Vanier Canada Graduate Doctoral Scholarship ($150,000), 2018-2021, “Beyond Function: Exploring Participation in Life roles in People with COPD.”

Steve Lu

Received the CIHR Doctoral Scholarship ($105,000), 2020-2023, “Is a new online-based physiotherapy (PT) program able to improve the pain, functional outcome, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and satisfaction with care in patients after total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) surgery?”

Linda Nguyen

Received the CIHR Fellowship Award in Patient-Oriented Research – Transition to Leadership Stream (Phase I) ($110,000), 2020-2022, “Exploring sibling relationships of adolescents with disabilities during health care transition.”

Heather O’Grady

Received an Interdisciplinary Fellowship Program award from Canadian Frailty Network  ($35,000) 2019-2020, CARE-ICU: Comprehensive Assessment of usual care physical REhabilitation in the Intensive Care Unit”

Anthony Gatti

Received the MITACS Accelerate Entrepreneur award ($60,000), 2019, “Validation of Cartilage Segmentation Accuracy using Deep Learning”.

Manraj Kaur

Held a CIHR Doctoral Scholarship ($105,000), “Incorporating patient preferences into health outcome assessment and economic evaluation for breast cancer: THE BREAST-Q Utility Index” and has transitioned to a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School with funding from CIHR.

Expandable List

Alumni Spotlight: Where are the Graduates of Rehabilitation Science Now?

My program of research for my PhD was in work disability policy (supervisor: Dr. Rebecca Gewurtz). This research provided me with new skills in research methodology and project management. The PhD also gave me the credentials and the confidence I needed to apply to the government. After graduation, I took a position with Employment and Social Development Canada as research advisor.

I am an Assistant Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of Montreal. Before joining the University, I held an Assistant Professor of Medicine position at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. Also, at Mayo Clinic, I worked as a Research Fellow in the Evidence-based Practice Research Program. The training I received in the McMaster Rehabilitation Science program has led me to these significant academic and scientific positions. During my doctoral training, I obtained skills in knowledge translation, health literacy, and quality improvement with a focus on vulnerable populations. My committee, led by Dr Joy MacDermid, dedicated their expertise to my research program’s growth and success.

Patty Solomon
Co-Director, Master in Health Management

The Master of Health Management (MHM) Program is offered through a partnership between the DeGroote School of Business (DSB) and the School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS). The MHM Program prepares regulated healthcare professionals to meet the demands of a career in health management.

Description 2019 2020
Number of current students enrolled 153 150
• Part-time 137 138
• Full-time 16 12
Where are students coming from 2 – International
151 – Domestic
1 – International
149 – Domestic
Current male to female ratio 25% male
75% female
22% male
78% female
150 Students enrolled
1:149 International to Domestic ratio
22:78Male to female ratio

In 2019, the School of Rehabilitation Science created its first ever course offering at the undergraduate level. This course, entitled, Foundations of Rehabilitation Science, has been specifically designed to highlight the different approaches undertaken by rehabilitation professionals when it comes to health, functioning, and disability.

Brenda Vrkljan
Professor, Occupational Therapy

Dr. Brenda Vrkljan, Professor of Occupational Therapy, and lead of the undergraduate course, Foundations of Rehabilitation Science, pictured here with Mary Mills, a community-dwelling older adult who joined the class by Zoom in Fall 2020 to explore goal-setting, assessment and intervention principles using a rehabilitation perspective.

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CanChild Read More

Celebrating 30 years of Generating Knowledge and Transforming Lives (1989-2019) & a new Strategic Plan (2020-2025) with hopes for the future state of CanChild.

Online SLP Research Symposium Read More

Students collaborate with faculty and community partners on research projects that advance clinical practice.

COVID Guidelines for Rehab Read More

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, rehabilitation clinicians identified a critical interdisciplinary need for practical guidance.

McMaster Co-Design Vulnerable Populations (VP) Hub Read More

The interdisciplinary McMaster Co-Design Vulnerable Populations (VP) Hub, led by Sandra Moll and Michelle Phoenix, launched in 2019.

Return to Onsite Learning Read More

The MSc Physiotherapy (PT) Program’s Return to Onsite Learning During a Global Pandemic.

Expandable List

McMaster University’s School of Rehabilitation Science is grateful to the supporters who have made a tremendous impact on our ability to offer leading-edge programs in occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and speech-language pathology.

The investments from our donors provide the foundation for our growing success, positioning us for meaningful and sustainable impact today and well into the future. This report highlights some of the generous support that has been received by the School of Rehabilitation Science from 2019-2021.

Jean Crowe has made many generous contributions to the School of Rehabilitation Science, most recently a gift to support the purchase of new audio-visual equipment to promote virtual learning, digital access and accessibility for remote community work during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Jean has also previously established and endowed the Jean Crowe Scholarship, awarded to doctoral students in the field of physiotherapy who have completed at least one year of their doctoral studies and whose research is innovative and of clinical significance. There have been six recipients of this scholarship to date.

Mary Law, co-founder of CanChild and professor emeritus in the School of Rehabilitation Science, has given generously to McMaster University over the years. She initiated and donated to the Nancy Pollock Faculty Leadership Development Fund, aimed at bolstering leadership development of faculty members whose work focuses on childhood disability. This research grant honours Nancy Pollock, a former occupational therapy faculty member who retired from McMaster University in 2019 and passed away in 2020. To date, six faculty members have received support through this fund.

Through the Estate of Norma McNicol, the School of Rehabilitation Science has established the McNicol Fund for Spinal Cord Research. This fund supports development, discovery, and advancement in the area of spinal cord research. To date, there has been one recipient of this fund.

Ian and Shirley Rowe’s generous gifts to the School of Rehabilitation Science have included support for the establishment of the Ian and Shirley Rowe Scholarship in Rehabilitation Science and the Rowe Travel Award in Rehabilitation Science. These awards, which have allowed scholars to present their research results alongside scientists in the field of childhood disability, have been awarded to five recipients to date.

Patty Solomon, former Associate Dean and Director of the School of Rehabilitation Science from 2011 to 2018, has been a long-time supporter of the School. Most recently, Patty has provided funding for a new endowed scholarship for a graduate student enrolled in a thesis-based Master’s or Doctoral Program who demonstrates academic excellence, with preference given to international students.

Part-time and Clinical Faculty

Our Gratitude to our Part-time Faculty

Part time faculty appointments are granted to recognize academic contributions in FHS and are offered as two possible categories based on contribution level: 1) Adjunct (min. 150 hours over 3 years), and 2) Part-time (min. 100 hours per year).

These clinical and scientific professionals play a pivotal role in educating SRS students, and all programs benefit from their participation in a variety of aspects of rehabilitation science training. Our part-time faculty are a committed group, with over a third of our current members serving between five and 10 years, and 10% for over 10 years. Our program also thrives thanks to the individuals whose valuable contributions do not meet the level of a part-time appointment, and we thank everyone involved in ensuring our programs are delivered according to the highest standards.

SRS Faculty Breakdown: 247 Adjunct, 42 Part-time Assistant (Clinical) Professors, 11 Part-time Associate (Clinical) Professors, 4 Part-time Clinical Lecturers, 1 Part-time (Clinical) Professor
398 Total publications
167 as First or Senior Author
63as First or Senior Author (ECR)

Faculty Publications

Between 2019 and March of 2021, our busy SRS faculty participated in the development, writing, critical review and final manuscript preparation of 398 published journal articles, spanning a large range of disciplines and topic areas. In this time, 42% of these publications were led by an SRS faculty member, either as first-listed author or as senior author. Thanks to a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary research, our faculty collaborate with engineers and computer scientists as well as other healthcare professionals, basic scientists and epidemiologists, and we all benefit from this rich tapestry of complementary expertise.

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The School of Rehabilitation Science faculty have received several career awards from highly competitive government programs, including an Ontario Early Researcher Award, two Canada Research Chairs (CRC), a Heart and Stroke Clinician-Scientist II award, a Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) Early Career Award, and two emerging leader awards from a national respiratory research network. Since 2015, SRS members have been awarded over $20 million in research funding as PI or co-PI, with more than $9M from Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and funds from difficult-to-access sources such as provincial ministries, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense. We have attracted several doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows who have then received prestigious scholarships and fellowships from CIHR, including a Vanier Scholarship, and from National Centres of Excellence such as AGE-WELL and Canadian Frailty Network (CFN).

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Mary Forhan Read Profile


The OT/PT/SLP Student Council had a memorable and eventful few years.

Starting off with orientation week in September 2019, the Student Council organized and hosted a range of activities for the incoming cohorts, including high ropes courses, park nights, pizza lunches, and bowling. The year continued, and the council ran a successful Winter Wonderland Holiday party, where all three programs had the chance to celebrate the successes of the semester.

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The School of Rehabilitation Science aims to provide exemplary educational programs for students in Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Speech-Language Pathology, Rehabilitation Science, and Health Management. The School will contribute to the advancement of health care and rehabilitation science through research excellence and community engagement.


The School of Rehabilitation Science aims to provide outstanding leadership in rehabilitation science at the national and international levels through continued expansion of innovation in education and research, as well as increased commitment to partnerships with clients, rehabilitation providers and community stakeholders.


Innovation and Excellence,
Inclusiveness and Equity,
Social Responsibility,
Interprofessional Collaboration,
Integrity and Respect.

Institute for Applied Health Sciences, Room 403
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Phone: (905) 525-9140 Ext: 22867
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