Karen Yoshida


Karen Yoshida, Ph.D. is Professor, in the Department of Physical Therapy and a full member of the Rehabilitation Science Institute and the Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Social Science Division), University of Toronto. She is also a community member at the Women College Hospital Research Institute.

Karen received her Ph.D. in 1991 (Community Health-Sociology of Health / Sociology of Disability) and in 2008 was a Fellow in Columbia University’s, Summer Institute on Oral History. Topic: Narrating the Body: Oral History, Narrative and Embodied Performance.

She was Canadian Disability Studies Association president in 2014-15. Karen received the English Tanis Doe award in 2020. The award is named for the activist and professor Tanis Doe. It honours an individual who dares to “speak the unspeakable” in advancing the study and culture of disability, and who has enriched through research, teaching, or activism the lives of Canadians with disabilities.

Presently, Dr. Yoshida is leading a research project to mobilize Critical Disability Studies in non- CDS academic spaces. She is a co-investigator on the Bodies in Translation: Activist Art Technology and Access to Life. SSHRC partnership grant. In this grant, Dr. Yoshida is leading an oral history study on Canadian disabled artists and cultural activists.

Research & Scholarly Activities

Her current research interests focuses on Activist Disability Oral History, disability leadership in the community, access to health services for disabled women, arts-based research and dissemination. Karen has conducted many academic- community research projects over the past 30+ years.


Since the early 1990’s she leads an innovative Critical Disability Studies and diversity teaching component, in equitable partnership with the disability rights communities in Toronto. She has taught a Critical Disability Studies course in the Rehabilitation Science Institute and most recently taught the Rehabilitation Theory course.


  • Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
  • Professor, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science
  • Full Member, Dalla Lana School of Public Health (Social Science Division), University of Toronto
  • Full Member, Rehabilitation Science Institute
  • Community Member, Women's College Hospital Institute


  • Niles. C. #Mahipaul S., Fudge Schormans A., Yoshida K.K (SRA), Covid-19 amplifies the complexity of disability and race.  The Conversation. April 7, 2021. https://theconversation.com/covid-19-amplifies-the-complexity-of-disability-and-race-157933
  • Burghardt, M., Edelist, T, Fudge-Schormans, A. and Yoshida, K.K, Critical Reflections on disability among rehabilitation and social work professionals: coming to Disability Studies. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. Vol.10(1). March 2021 https://cjds.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cjds/article/view/743/1005 (SRA)
  • Shanouda, F., *Duncanson, M., #Smyth, A., #Jadgal, M., #O’Neill, M., Yoshida, K. K. Cultivating Disability Leadership: Implementing a Methodology of Access to transform Community-based learning. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. Disability Studies in Education – Critical Conversations. Special Issue. Editors: P. Douglas and A, S.Martino. Vol 9(5): 380-413. Dec 2020  https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v9i5 (SRA).
  • Pearson, J., Payne, D., Yoshida, K.K. & Garrett N.  Access to and engagement with cervical and breast screening services for women with disabilities in Aotearoa New Zealand. Disability and Rehabilitation.  Online: Sept. 15, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2020.1817158 (CA).
  • *Sharpe, A. *Boyes, V. *Lee, C., *Murtha, C., *Mah, J., Yoshida, K.K., Marzolini, S., Inness, E.I., Cardiopulmonary exercise testing in stroke rehabilitation: Benefits and clinical utility perceived by physiotherapists and individuals with stroke. Physiotherapy Canada. June 20, 2020. https://doi.org/10.3138/ptc-2019-0070
  • ** Singh, H., Scovil, C., Yoshida, K.K., Oosman, S., Kaiser, A., Jaglal, SB.,  Musselman, KE. Capturing the psychosocial impacts of falls from the perspectives of wheelchair users with spinal cord injury through photo-elicitation Disability and Rehabilitation. Jan 6. 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2019.1709911
  • *Goettl T. *Buren, T., *Graham S., *Streich B., *Waterman E., Ho S., Self H.,  Bulatao, M., & Yoshida K.K.(2019): Getting on with life: a qualitative evaluation of an independent living skills education program for people with physical disabilities, Disability and Rehabilitation, Vol 42 (25): 3621-3627, 2020. DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2019.1604820 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2019.1604820
  • **Shanouda, F. and Yoshida, K.K. Playing with Normalcy: A Disability Material Culture Analysis. Review of Disability Studies: an International Journal. Volume 15(2):1-19 Summer 2019
  • **Chishtie, J., Chishtie, F., Yoshida, K.K  & Balogh, R. (2019) Spinal cord injury rehabilitation and pressure ulcer prevention after the 2005 South Asian Earthquake: a CBR case study from Pakistan, Disability and Rehabilitation, 41:14, 1655-1663, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2018.1445783 To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.1080/09638288.2018.1445783
  • Khanlou, N., Mustafa, N., Vazquez, L., Davidson, D., and Yoshida, K.K. Mothering Children with Developmental Disabilities: A Critical Perspective on Health Promotion. On-line publication March 21, 2017. Health Care for Women International.http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07399332.2017.1296841
  • Church, K. & Landry, D. with (alphabetically) #Frazee, C, Ignagni, E., Mitchell, C., Panitch, M., Patterson, J., Phillips, S.,Poirier, T., Yoshida, K.K. and Voronka, J. Exhibiting activist disability history in Canada: Out from Under as a case study of social movement learning. Studies in the Education of Adults (Int.).Dec. 2016. Article DOI 10.1080/02660830.2016.1219479 .  To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02660830.2016.1219479
  • *Quinn, N. and Yoshida, K.K. More than Sport: Representations of Ability and Gender by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) of the 2004 Summer Paralympic Games. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies. Vol. 5(4):103-109 Dec. 2016. To link to this article: http://cjds.uwaterloo.ca/index.php/cjds/article/view/316/536, (SRA).
  • Yoshida, K.K. Shanouda, F. A Culture of silence: Modes of objectification and the silencing of disabled bodies, Disability and Society 2015. Vol. 30(3):432-444 pgs;  e pub- http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2015.1019042  March 2015.
  • Yoshida, K. K. Unbinding physiotherapy knowledge. Critical Disability Studies epistemology: moving towards a socially-just physiotherapy profession. Editors:B. Gibson,J. Setchell,  D. Nicholls and K. Synne Groven. Chapter in Open source e-book, Manipulating practices: A Critical Physiotherapy reader. Critical Physiotherapy Network. Cappelen Damm Akademisk. Oslo Norway. (Jan 2018).
  • Yoshida K.K.  #Self, H. and #Willis H. Invited Guest Editorial: Values and Principles of Teaching Critical Disability Studies in a Physical Therapy Curriculum– Reflections of a 25 year Journey Part 1: Critical Disability Studies Value Framework. Physiotherapy Canada vol. 68, Number 4, Fall 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3138/ptc.68.4.GEE2
  • Yoshida K.K. #Self, H., #Willis H., and *Rose, N. Values and Principles of Teaching Critical Disability Studies in Physical Therapy Curriculum: Part 2. Critical Disability Studies Pedagogical Imperatives and Teaching Innovations Physiotherapy Canada Vol. 69 (1): 6-9. Winter Feb. 2017).