Retirement Announcement – Sue Murphy – Department Head 

The Department of Physical Therapy bids a fond farewell to Sue Murphy; a colleague, mentor, and educator. 

Sue Murphy is a passionate educator who has worked for the UBC Department of Physical Therapy for over 28 years in a number of teaching and educational roles. 

Sue Murphy sitting outside of the Friedman building

Sue joined the Department of Physical Therapy as a part-time instructor and clinical faculty member in 1994, concurrently working as Clinical Coordinator for physiotherapy students at Royal Columbian Hospital where she planned and coordinated student placements and mentored clinical supervisors.  

In 2002, Sue held the position of Interim Head of the Division of Physical Therapy for four years; in this role, she maintained a large teaching component and was instrumental in the transition from a Bachelor program to a Master of Physical Therapy (MPT).  

Sue’s next position with the Department was in the tenure stream, where she took on the role of Associate Head of Clinical Education in 2008. She continued to carry a major teaching load within the program and contributed significantly to curriculum development in her role as Professional Stream Coordinator. Sue’s excellence as a teacher was acknowledged when she received an Award of Excellence in Education from the Physiotherapy Association of British Columbia in 2009 and was a Killam Teaching Award winner in 2012. Sue was also the recipient of the Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Achievement Award for Excellence in Education in 2013. 

In her current role as Department Head (since 2016), Sue has led the rapid growth of the MPT program, expanding from one cohort in Vancouver to a fully-distributed program over three sites (and growing). Sue also oversaw the opening of the Physical Therapy and Research Clinic in 2019 which had over 3,000 appointments run by students in 2021. 

Sue Murphy’s incredible and exceptional work and leadership have raised the profile of Physical Therapy at UBC, and consequently, across the province. We thank Sue for her devotion during her many years of service to the Profession of Physical Therapy and wish her a long and happy retirement.

Dr Alex Scott is appointed as the new Head, UBC Department of Physical Therapy effective November 28, 2022. Read the announcement here.

What has been your favourite part of working in the Department of Physical Therapy? 

It’s really hard to narrow it down to one favourite part. I have been lucky enough to have absolutely loved my job, and to have been supported by some really incredible people whose wisdom and advice – and sense of humour! – were invaluable.

I have learned so much and had so much fun with colleagues and friends along the way!

Sue Murphy at the 2012 Faculty of Medicine Awards
Sue Murphy at the 2012 Faculty of Medicine Awards

How do you see the physical therapy profession changing over the next 5/10 years? 

I think the pace of change in physical therapy has been extraordinary over the last decade and I can only see that continuing. Thanks to the calibre and productivity of Physical Therapy researchers, we now have a wealth of evidence to support what we do and to help us flex and change to become even more effective in our practice.

Physical Therapists are becoming increasingly aware of their role in Truth and Reconciliation, and in advocating for social justice in our healthcare system and beyond. At the same time, our health system is facing unprecedented pressures and the profession will need to look at new collaborations and ways of practice in order to maintain our role as key healthcare providers.

For those of us in education, this may require major shifts both in the curriculum, as well as in how we educate our students, in order to prepare them for the demands of a changing practice environment.