U of T Physical Therapy Takes the Ontario Physiotherapy Association Conference by Storm

The annual OPA conference, InterACTION, was held at the Sheraton Toronto Airport Hotel and Conference Centre in Toronto on April 8-9, 2016. The University of Toronto Department of Physical Therapy is proud to announce that our faculty and students were honoured with numerous awards, showcasing our dedication to research, innovation and leadership within the field.

Dr. Kelly O’Brien, Assistant Professor, The Innovation and Advancement Award
This award recognizes a member who has been a trailblazer within physiotherapy and advances the science of the profession through innovative approaches in clinical practice, research, technology and education. The recipient is a leader and mentor in their field, exploring new practices while fostering new talent. This individual is known for “thinking outside the box” and for being on the cutting edge of the profession while striving for excellence in practice, research and /or education. This individual seeks and creates solutions, provides evidence and shares knowledge and is often described as being a strategic thinker, risk taker, visionary, progressive, and dynamic.
Kelly O'Brien holds OPA award, standing with Nancy Salbach

“Kelly is the most principled researcher I have ever met. She is highly focused, with a deep commitment to excellence in every aspect of her work. She is gracious, welcoming, and quick to not only recognize but also celebrate the accomplishments of others, while remaining humble about her own extraordinary achievements”- Dr. Nancy Salbach, Department of Physical Therapy, University of Toronto



Chelsea Elvy, MScPT Year 2, The Student/New Grad Leadership Award
This award recognizes the contribution of a member enrolled in an entry-level physiotherapy program or who is in their first year of practice (new grad) who stands out as an emerging leader amongst their peers through their involvement in association activities and promoting of the profession.

OPA Student Award winner Chelsea Elvy, holding her award at the conference


“We are delighted that our students’ commitment to physical therapy research and leadership have been recognized and honoured by the OPA.”

– Dr. Darlene Reid, Chair



Anne Marie DeFaria & Stephanie Bognar, MScPT Class of 2015, 2nd Prize, Poster Award
This student research group was awarded 2nd prize in the posters competition for their poster entitled More Than Just Dancing: Experiences of People with Parkinson’s Disease Who Participate in a Dance Program. Students: Anne Marie DeFaria, Jennifer Simic, Elana Pankiw, Stephanie Bognar, Casey O’Dwyer. Advisors: Cathy Evans, Joyce Nyhof‐Young, Suzanne Teixeira.

 Ghaith  Dhaidan & Leanna Souza-Barros, MScPT Class of 2015, 3rd Prize, Poster Award
This student research group was awarded 3rd prize in the poster competition for their poster entitled Transmittance of Low-Intensity Laser Light and Changes on Skin Temperature with Varying Skin Colour and Tissue Thickness. Students: Leanna Souza-Barros, Mikko Maunula, Vaeda Solomon, Ghaith Dhaidan. Advisors: Ethne Nussbaum, Lothar Lilge, Sharon Gabison, Kara Patterson.

University of Toronto held a strong presence at the event. 11/17 of the posters had U of T involvement, and 7/22 presentation sessions were led by our university.

Congratulations to all!

Students pose in front of their 2nd prize poster

MScPT Class of 2015 students Anne Marie DeFaria and Stephanie Bognar with their 2nd prize poster.

 Students stand in front of their 3rd prize winning poster, OPA conference 2016

MScPT Class of 2015 students Leanna Souza-Barros and Ghaith  Dhaidan with their 3rd prize poster.