576-iahs interiors-2014Distinguished Alumni Awards
Tuesday October 3rd 2017
Time: 5:30pm (IAHS, Room 143)

CONGRATULATIONS to the 2017 Award winners:

  • Sukaina Dada – Occupational Therapy - Class of 2009
  • Carmen Kirkness-Asche – Physiotherapy (Posthumous Award) – Class of 1994
  • Greg Spadoni – Rehabilitation Science – Class of 2002
  • Stephanie Hill – Master of Health Management – Class of 2016

Please join us as we celebrate these individuals respected and admired for their leadership, achievements and contributions. This is an opportunity to acknowledge the accomplishments of your former classmates and colleagues. All alumni and community members are welcome.
Tickets: $40.00. Please RSVP to alumni.mcmaster.ca/srsawards2017

Distinguished Rehabilitation Science Alumni Award: Terms of Reference

The Distinguished Alumni Award was established in 2012 in conjunction with the McMaster's 125 Anniversary and the 20th class graduating from the School of Rehabilitation.

The award acknowledges graduates from McMaster University, from the Occupational Therapy, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Health Management programs.

Alumni or members of the public may nominate a McMaster Graduate from the above program(s) for this award.

The award winner will inspire a passion for personal growth, development and life-long learning. The award will honour and recognize a graduate who is respected and admired for their leadership, achievements and contributions any of the following areas(s):”

  • scholarly activity
  • education
  • clinical practice
  • community at large

Nomination Packages should include:

  • Nominator(s) Contact Information (Name, Address, Telephone, Email)
  • Nominee Contact Information (Name, Address, Telephone, Email)
  • Description of outstanding Contribution(s), from Nominator(s)
  • Nominee’s CV and/or Resume, and/or comprehensive information providing specifics of the nominee’s achievements

Please click here for the Distinguished Alumni Award Nomination Form

The Review Committee will contact all nominators to acknowledge receipt of nominations. The Committee may also contact Nominees for additional information if necessary.

To contact us, or forward nominations:

Associate Dean, School of Rehabilitation Science
Institute for Applied Health Sciences, 403
1400 Main Street West
Hamilton, ON  L8S 1C7
(please use subject heading: Distinguished Rehab Science Alumni Award)
905.525.9140 x 22867

Deadline for Submissions: Friday, August 25th, 2017

NOTE: All information provided will be used exclusively for award determination purposes, and kept in confidentiality.

2015 Distinguished Rehab Science Alumni Awards

Nancy Rushford
2015 OT Distinguished Alumni Recipient
McMaster MSc(OT) Class of 2003

Since graduating from McMaster University’s Occupational Therapy Program in 2003, Nancy has worked in diverse community based contexts in Canada, Australia and South East Asia primarily on issues related to disaster, development, resilience and inclusivity. Recently Nancy has completed a PhD through the University of Sydney Australia with her research focusing on a participatory, occupation-based approach to resilience and inclusivity that is based in grounded theory. At present, Nancy is the Director of Programs for the Alzheimer Society of Ontario where she works with people affected by dementia and other key stakeholders to influence policy and practice in the area of dementia, as it represents an international public health and social care priority. Nancy has distinguished herself by making significant contributions to the global community at large, which has made her a worthy recipient of the 2015 OT Distinguished Alumni award.

Derek Debassige
2015 PT Distinguished Alumni Recipient
McMaster BHSc(PT) 2000

 After graduating from McMaster in 2000 Derek, a First Nations citizen, returned to his home community of M’Chigeeng on Manitoulin Island. He has been and is engaged in a host of leadership roles as both a health professional and a community citizen with the M’Chigeeng community. In 2013 he was elected to the M’Chigeeng First Nation Band Council and appointed as Chair of their Health Services Committee. As an educator Derek has been an appointed Board Member of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) in Sudbury/Thunder Bay, and regularly has student learners from many disciplines in his clinics. Derek`s unique combination of personal, clinical, political and educational characteristics have made him a worthy recipient of the 2015 PT Distinguished Alumni award.

Nadine Graham
2015 RS Distinguished Alumni Recipient
McMaster BSc(PT) 1992 & MSc(RS) 2008

Nadine has been a familiar face around the halls of the SRS since graduating from the BSc(PT) program in 1992. In between her clinical work as a private practice physiotherapist, Nadine has been an integral part of the SRS as an educator touching the lives of many PT students. It was her compassion for her patients and her desire to give the best care that prompted her to resume her scholarly studies and complete her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Science in 2008. Nadine`s dedication to her studies, career and to the School of Rehabilitation Science has made her a worthy recipient of the 2015 RS Distinguished Alumni award.

2013 Distinguished Rehab Science Alumni Awards

Leanne Leclair
2013 OT Distinguished Alumni Recipient

Leanne graduated from the McMaster Occupational Therapy program in 1996. Since graduation, she has continued to excel across a range of areas of clinical practice, and over the past 12 years, in research and education. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Program in the School of Medical Rehabilitation at the University of Manitoba. Leanne has taught within the Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Manitoba since 2000. She uses innovative methods and teaching strategies to engage all learners in the development of the knowledge and skills for clinical practice and scientific inquiry.  In recognition of her excellence in teaching she was nominated for a School of Medical Rehabilitation Teaching Award. Leanne’s research centres on community development and primary health care, both emerging areas in occupational therapy and rehabilitation science. Leanne has demonstrated a significant contribution to the development of the occupational therapy profession.  She has been involved in the development of primary care occupational therapy practice in Manitoba. Her service to the profession has been acknowledged by Certificates of Appreciation from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (2008), the Manitoba Society of Occupational Therapists (2006) and by receipt of an Award of Merit from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (1998).

Julie Hard
2013 PT Distinguished Alumni Recipient

Since graduating from the McMaster Physiotherapy program in 2003, Julie has shown leadership in global health, development of emerging roles for physiotherapists and community-based rehabilitation. Julie is the Chair and Founder of the Kenya Working Group of the International Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation at the University of Toronto. In her work with the Kenya Working Group, Julie trains Canadian rehabilitation professionals and students and coordinates the student and professional exchange programme. Julie has worked for CBM International in Haiti, working as at the Country Coordinator, and Program Manager of Health Programs. She provided physiotherapy services to Haitians who survived the 2010 earthquake in both hospital and community clinic settings, and trained community and other health care workers to provide ongoing rehabilitation services. Julie has worked for the Canadian Working Group on HIV and Rehabilitation as the Mentorship and Curriculum Coordinator, providing educational opportunities for rehabilitation professionals to learn more about rehabilitation in the context of HIV. Julie has worked with people living with HIV in her role within the Inner City Health Program at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. In addition to professional work, Julie has been involved in community work. She lived in Matthew House for two years, as a House Parent, providing guidance, mentorship and support to newly arrived Refugees to Toronto. In 2008, Julie led a delegation of 18 Physiotherapists and guests from across Canada on a professional and cultural exchange programme to Rwanda through People to People International.

Deborah Kennedy
2013 RS Distinguished Alumni Recipient

Deborah was a member of the Charter Class in the Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program of 2003. She is the Manager of Rehabilitation and MSK Program Development at the Holland Orthopaedic & Arthritic Centre.  In this role she has fostered innovation and provided strategic leadership by enhancing current clinical practices and developing new models of care.  She has provided leadership to a large interdisciplinary team of professionals and support staff in program development and research/evaluation. Deborah is recognized as a leader who serves as an advocate for patients. She recently secured funding for a patient and family education centre, and is a tireless advocate for the patient’s experience. Deborah has also established a strong scholarly profile which has led to three Silver Quill Awards from Physiotherapy Canada. Deborah has demonstrated a sustained commitment to education in a number of ways and at various of levels. She has served as a mentor to her colleagues at the Holland Centre, and has presented at community, national, and international education events.  She has academic appointments at the University of Toronto and McMaster University.

General Information

Mailing Address:

School of Rehabilitation Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, McMaster University
Institute of Applied Health Sciences,
Room 403, 1400 Main St. W. Hamilton, ON L8S 1C7


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