May 28, 2024

MScPT Student Spotlight: Tiffany Tiu

Tiffany Tiu
Temerty Faculty of Medicine
Tiffany Tiu

Tiffany Tiu, a second-year physical therapy student, has already accomplished so much during her time in the MScPT program. She recently received the InterACTION 2024 Student/New Grad Award from the Ontario Physiotherapy Association, as well as the 2023 Helen Saarinen Rahikka Student Leadership Award from the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. Tiffany shares what inspired her to pursue physical therapy and a few highlights from the past two years. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in physical therapy? 

I have always had a fascination with the human body, particularly the musculoskeletal system. I have always been interested in stories of pain and pain management, and I have always loved exercise.

Growing up in a low-income, single-parent household in Hong Kong, physiotherapy was not accessible to me when I was a young sprinter struggling with injuries. This inspired me to want to become a physiotherapist and I plan to one day offer free or discounted physiotherapy for those who aren’t able to afford it. 

My passion for physical therapy continued to grow as I pursued kinesiology at U of T, thanks to a full scholarship, where I gravitated towards courses in anatomy, biomechanics, sports medicine, and exercise/training interventions and started my career as a strength and conditioning coach.

What has been your favourite course in the physical therapy program? 

My favourite course has been the advanced musculoskeletal course (Unit 10), for sure. The content in this unit is something that I already study for my own interest. I was excited to learn more about this topic from Euson Yeung and Melanie MacKinnon, who are both very experienced clinicians and professors. I am very grateful to learn from them. 

What is something unique that you bring to the classroom or clinical placement? 

In the clinical environment, it is my care for patients and my passion and love for physiotherapy. I firmly believe the saying that “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  

To the profession, a unique perspective I bring is being active in all points of knowledge flow – as a knowledge consumer, knowledge translator (when providing patient education and producing a podcast), and knowledge creator (as a researcher at the Biomechanics of Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Lab). These roles feed each other and allow me to contribute to the profession in a unique way.  

What has been your biggest accomplishment throughout your (nearly) two years in the program? 

Apart from the musculoskeletal course, I am also fascinated by pain science. I joined the Canadian Physiotherapy Association’s Pain Science Division and got involved right away. I spearheaded the development of their podcast, Paincast, bringing together researchers, clinicians, students and patients to discuss topics about pain and physiotherapy. I manage the podcast entirely – researching topics for our episodes, contacting and interviewing guests and editing the episodes. I even do all the graphic design and marketing for it. To date, it has 24 episodes and more than 6000 downloads from over 70 countries.  

I am also grateful and honoured to receive the Ontario Physiotherapy Association Special Award – Student and New Grad Leadership award and the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Helen Saarien Rahikka Student Leadership Award.