Year in Review 2022

As 2022 winds to a close, here in the Department of Physical Therapy, we are looking forward to a well-deserved couple of weeks’ holiday, and we hope that you also find time to enjoy this special season. If each year is a journey, then it’s worth pausing to celebrate the milestones that have passed, the colleagues we’ve worked with, and our many significant achievements along the way.

As you read this Year in Review, I’m sure you’ll be as impressed as I was at the breadth and depth of activity that has gone on in teaching, research and service. While our teaching program continues to expand, we also continue to produce world-class research which is changing how physiotherapy is practiced. I’m inspired to know what an impact we are having on the lives of students, patients and the worldwide physiotherapy community. What an amazing department to be part of! 

In addition to the highlights below, you may also wish to peruse all of the last year’s news stories: View all of our news from 2022

I wish you all a warm and happy holiday and look forward to seeing you all for another fresh start in 2023!

Head, Department of Physical Therapy

Promotions and New Hires

We would like to acknowledge the promotions that happened in 2022:

Alex Scott
Department Head

Jackie Whittaker
Associate Professor

Roland Fletcher
Assistant Professor of Teaching

Pedro Grossi
Academic Education Operations Manager

Ana Ferraz
ACE Operations Manager

Daniella Pietrocarlo
Sr. Program Assistant- Academic Education

Vicky Chen
Clinical Placement Operations Manager

We would like to welcome all of the new faculty and staff members who joined us in 2022:

Amy Ellis
Assistant Professor of Teaching

Rouhollah Mousavizadeh
Research Associate (Scott Lab)

Rachel Crockett
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Liu-Ambrose Lab)

Stacy Maddocks
Post-Doctoral Research Fellow (Camp Lab)

Sunny Shu
Student Services Officer MPT-FV

Amy Szeto
Social Media and Communications Asst.

Max Dannenberg
Sr. Program Assistant- Clinical Education

Patrick Brophy
Assistant to the Department Head

Shannon Field
Indigenous Initiatives Manager

Mehrnoosh Bakhshayesh
Sr. Program Assistant- Clinical Education

Jaime Chong
Classroom Operations Assistant

Emma Gallagher
PTRC Office Assistant

Elizabeth Lee
Sr. Program Assistant- Academic Education

A look back in 2022

JEDI and Indigenous Initiatives

The Department has celebrated significant milestones on our collective Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) journey during 2022. A needs assessment conducted by JEDI Implementation Coordinator, Rehana Nanjijuma, was wrapped up in January. 

In February, Rehana formed the JEDI working group, which contributed to a visioning process to create a sense of inclusion for all diverse groups, uplift the voices of Indigenous, Black and People of Color voices, nurturing an equitable culture overall in the Physiotherapy profession and in the community. The working group members include Deeksha Srivastava, Taru Manyanga, Naznin Virji-Babul, Rouhollah Mousavizadeh, Linda Li, Jordan Guenette, Daniella Pietrocarlo, Robin Roots, Marie Cummings, Reid Mitchell, Sue Murphy, Shannon Field, and Louis-Alexandre Douesnard.

In August, members of the Department, Louis-Alexandre Douesnard-Malo, Amy Ellis, and Rehana Nanjijuma, collaboratively offered the Health Professions Summer Program with Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy (OSOT) colleagues and other health professions with the goal of diversifying the health professions. Participants in the program activated peer and clinician connections, while discovering Physical Therapy, OSOT, Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dentistry career paths.

A set of priority JEDI goals and strategies for the department are nearing completion, and implementation will be ramping up in the New Year. These will be in line with UBC’s newly developed Strategic Equity and Anti-Racism Framework.

As a team, the JEDI and Indigenous Initiatives portfolios are gearing up to host the first JEDI Foundations learning initiative in early 2023 based on dialogic anti-oppression and anti-racism practices. The initiative aims to strengthen community and collective self-efficacy to have informed conversations among staff, faculty, researchers and clinicians.

Our Indigenous Initiatives Manager, Shannon Field, joined the department in August. Shannon brings a background in Kinesiology, Indigenous health, and Indigenous cultural safety, as well as extensive community engagement, coordination, and research experience.

In September, the department heard the story of Orange Shirt Day as written by Phyllis Webstad herself, and participated in a discussion around the meaning of this day. The team also attended a career fair hosted by Squamish Nation for Indigenous high school students at Chief Joe Mathias Centre.

The department’s staff, faculty, and clinicians participated in facilitated group discussions to assess our progress and accountability towards UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan (ISP) through a Self-Assessment process. The department is in the beginning stages of planning for ISP implementation.

MPT Program

The MPT Program started off the year strong with over 400 applicants for the 120 seats in the 2022-2024 cohort.

In March, the top candidates of these hopeful future PTs were interviewed virtually. Thank you to our amazing staff and community for your help in putting this together and getting it done!

Together with the Faculty of Medicine and the PT community, we welcomed 120 new students to the UBC Master of Physical Therapy Program, which included 20 students in the first Fraser Valley cohort.

Students began a new year of remote and on-site classes with video-connected lab sessions between the UBC and UNBC campuses. In 2023, the Fraser Valley cohort is projected to begin their first classes in the Surrey location once facility renovations are complete.

In November, we congratulated the MPT class of 2022 as they graduated which included the first MPT-North graduates.

In July, we received the exciting notice that the UBC MPT program will be expanding with 40 new seats (20 seats in 2024, and 20 in 2026). Planning for this expansion is now actively underway.

Clinical Education

Our incredible clinical partners offered sufficient clinical placements for the 2020-2022 cohort’s final two placements this past summer and fall.

Our 2021-2023 cohort ended 2021 with their third clinical placement (2A).

The clinical education team held clinical education workshops for public and private practitioners in 2022, including in-person sessions on acute care and clinical reasoning, to support our clinical educators in familiarizing themselves with the supervision of MPT students and available resources.

We had 49 applications for Clinical Faculty Appointments in 2022 and brought 44 new clinical sites on board in 2022.


Congratulations to all of the MSc/PhD students that graduated in 2022:

  • Kimberly Bennett – MSc – (supervised by Dr Teresa Liu-Ambrose)
  • Joanne Callow – MSc (supervised by Dr Alex Scott)
  • Tzu-Hsuan Peng – MSc (supervised by Dr Courtney Pollock)
  • Hanna Schulte – MSc (supervised by Dr Kristin Campbell)
  • Madison Welch – MSc (supervised by Dr Teresa Liu-Ambrose)
  • Olivia Ferguson – MSc (supervised by Dr Jordan Guenette)
  • Rachel Crockett – PhD (supervised by Dr Teresa Liu-Ambrose)
  • Shannon Lim – PhD (supervised by Dr Janice Eng)
  • Andrew Ramsook – PhD (supervised by Dr Jordan Guenette)
  • Jesse Charlton – PhD (supervised by Dr Michael Hunt)
  • Calvin Tse – PhD (supervised by Dr Michael Hunt)
  • Rebecca Kenny – PhD (supervised by Dr Naznin Virji-Babul)
  • Jennifer Ferris – PhD (supervised by Dr Lara Boyd)
  • Lisa Simpson – PhD (supervised by Dr Janice Eng)
  • Lyndal Solomons – PhD (supervised by Dr Alex Scott)

Faculty members of the Department received over $3.6 million in research funding, over $660K in scholar awards, and generated 161 peer-reviewed publications over the last year.  Students of the Rehabilitation Science Program and Postdoctoral Fellows supervised by PT department members received over $500,000 to support their training in 2021/22.

The 2022 Top Doctoral Student and Rising Star Award Recipients were announced with 2 of the 6 rising star awards won by trainees from our department. Dr Jesse Charlton received the 2022 Top Graduating Doctoral Student award and Cristina Rubino received the 2022 Rising Star award.

Over the last three years The OPTIKNEE group, led by Dr Jackie Whittaker, has combined evidence from ~230 studies including more than 133,000 people with knee injuries to identify key findings within several areas of research in 7 systematic reviews. These reviews also informed a consensus process that made 8 recommendations for health care after a knee injury and 6 recommendations for future research aimed at preventing knee osteoarthritis after injury.

Citizen Science, a multi-partnered project led by Dr Linda Li, wants to learn with & from people living with long COVID. This project focused on better understanding the impact of long COVID on people living in Canada. Current estimates suggest that 10–40 percent of people who have COVID-19 will develop ongoing symptoms following their initial infection. In order to drive research and enhance care and support, the scientific community needs to learn more about these experiences.

Dr Janice Eng is the co-leader of the Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation Evidence (SCIRE) Project; a knowledge translation project which includes systematic reviews, outcome measures, case studies and education modules. The project’s intent is to inform and assist clinicians to deliver best practices to improve the outcomes of their patients. The SCIRE Project is a highly accessible source of quality information that facilitates best practices and is used by healthcare professionals, clients and their families, funding agencies, advocacy groups and policy-making groups.

UBC Physical Therapy & Research Clinic

The Physical Therapy & Research Clinic (PTRC) team continues to have a busy year! The clinic has supported 22 MPT students on clinical placement in 2022. Our students are typically fully booked 2 weeks in advance and this is frequently paired with an eager waitlist.

Our group classes are increasing in popularity, with all 7 fully booked. Many of these classes are attended by individuals in vulnerable circumstances who cannot otherwise afford physiotherapy. Due to the popularity and high demand for these classes, we are exploring discharge and referral pathways across campus and beyond.

The PTRC has expanded partnerships within the Department. The clinic partnered with the MoVE Program, assessing the benefits of exercise with lung cancer patients. Students conducted physical assessments and re-assessments as part of data collection. In 2023 we look forward to welcoming the AMS Breast Cancer Study and a peripheral vestibular pathology research study (through the Division of Otolaryngology, Department of Surgery at UBC) into the PTRC.

The PTRC students actively assess BC Brain Wellness Program (BWP) participants. The assessments are completed virtually, exposing students to telerehabilitation. In some cases, participants choose to continue with the PT student in person in addition to doing online assessments and classes. Our clinical placement students have completed over 300 assessments to date as part of this amazing program.