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News from Member Organisations June 2024 - Canada

CAOT Announces the 2024 Recipient of its Prestigious Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship Award


CAOT is proud to announce that Dr. Aliki Thomas is the recipient of the 2024 Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship Award, the organization’s most prestigious honour that recognizes the outstanding contributions made by an individual in the fields of research, teaching, and the practice of occupational therapy. Dr. Thomas is an occupational therapist, an associate professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and an associate member of the Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine, at McGill University. As is tradition, she will deliver a lecture on a topic of her choice at CAOT Conference 2025, which is taking place in amiskwacîwâskahikan/Edmonton, Alberta, from May 7-9.

Dr. Thomas is being recognized for her demonstrated leadership at the Association of Canadian Occupational Therapy University Programs (ACOTUP) on a continuum from facilitating small-scale committee work to inviting ACOTUP to collaborate on large-scale national research projects. In addition, she has 134 peer-reviewed publications in press or under review to date, as well as four non-peer reviewed publications, two reports, one blog, seven book chapters, and 230 conference presentations demonstrating the scope of her audience. Dr. Thomas has been the Associate Editor of the two highest ranked health science education journals. Most recently, her excellence has been recognized with her newly announced national Canada Research Chair award.

Phillip Wendt, CAOT’s President, said that Dr. Thomas has exemplified leadership and passion in her work as a scholar and educator. He added that she personifies many of the pioneering characteristics that CAOT seeks to recognize in awarding the Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture by consistently making contributions to research, education, and practice.

For more information please visit the website. Available in English and French.

Dr. Helene J. Polatajko Invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada


Congratulations to Dr. Helene J. Polatajko on her investiture as an Officer of the Order of Canada on February 24, 2024. This honour represents a lifetime of dedication to occupational therapy and Canadian society. Dr. Polatajko’s contributions have “revolutionized rehabilitation worldwide.” Announced by the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, the appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada recognizes her incredible contributions to scholarship and education, the research and practice of occupational science and occupational therapy, and for significantly advancing the understanding of developmental coordination disorder.

A pre-eminent occupational therapist and researcher, Dr. Polatajko has advanced the profession on a national and global scale. In recognition of her national and international impact, she has received numerous awards. Along with well over 300 publications, she also co-founded the International Society of Occupational Scientists and Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists, where she was honoured with the establishment of the Townsend and Polatajko Lectureship.

Dr. Polatajko’s research on cognitive strategies and her commitment to children with developmental coordination disorder led to the development of the CO-OP Approach (Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance). This innovative, cognitive-based method initially developed for children with coordination difficulties, now enables people with a variety of diagnoses to solve performance problems and achieve their goals. Under her leadership, CO-OP instructors have been trained in over 20 countries. Dr. Polatajko’s desire to prioritize client perspectives and experiences is also reflected in her work as co-author of the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure, which is now used in more than 35 countries, in 20 different languages.

For more information please visit the website. Available in English and French.

Successful CAOT Conference 2024 in Kjipuktuk/Halifax


CAOT was pleased to host WFOT’s President Samantha Shann at its 2024 Conference from May 1-3. More than 610 in-person and virtual attendees joined the successful event in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia, which featured 220+ sessions on a wide range of topics and many networking opportunities.