Notable Alumni: Maria Judd

Maria Judd has dedicated her career to transforming research into clinical action and systems improvement, and promoting a patient-first perspective and approach in rehabilitation and healthcare.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy from University of Toronto, Maria worked in a variety of acute-care, rehab and outpatient settings in the Toronto area and in rural Ontario. This opportunity to learn along a continuum of care gave Maria a diverse perspective of our healthcare system, and the dynamic role of physical therapists.

With a keen interest in research, she went on to work as a Research Coordinator at Wellesley Hospital where she developed a deep understanding of patient and family perspectives within healthcare. Maria then pursued a Masters of Science in Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

She recognized a gap between existing research and clinical practice. Her desire to respond to this inspired her next role as a member of the Cochrane Collaboration’s Musculoskeletal Group at University of Ottawa, where much of her work focused on the development of evidence-based resources such as systematic reviews, and supporting knowledge translation to both clinicians and patients.

Maria then joined the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (CPA) as their Best Practices Program Manager. In this role, she translated knowledge to action by designing programs to support evidence-informed practices among members.

Maria is currently a Senior Director of the Canadian Foundation for Health Improvement (CFHI), where she is responsible for identifying, validating and supporting the spread of proven innovations across Canada by working shoulder to shoulder with health system leaders to improve health and care for Canadians. This position allows her to pursue her passions of partnering with patients and families and supporting the translation of research and proven innovations into practice.

Her studies at the University of Toronto set the foundation for Maria’s current work, instilling an inquisitive, outcome-focused view of rehabilitation and healthcare. Her career has built upon these perspectives, allowing Maria to develop an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare improvement.

Maria encourages new healthcare professionals to listen to, learn from, and partner with, patients and their families, as she discusses in her new book Patient Engagement – Catalyzing Improvement and Innovation in Healthcare. She says a clinician’s greatest insights come from their patients, and that the clinician/patient relationship should be viewed as a partnership, which is emphasized in her patient-first approach at CFHI. Maria also suggests that new graduates must view themselves as innovative leaders within our healthcare system. She stresses the importance of fully understanding our health ecosystem, and striving to improve the experience, quality and outcomes of care.