Lifetime Contribution to Clinical Education Award

The UBC Department of Physical Therapy awards a clinician annually in recognition of their exceptional and consistent support of clinical education.


  • Must be a Clinical Faculty member of the University of British Columbia Faculty of Medicine, having contributed a minimum 10 years of service to the Department of Physical Therapy.
  • Must have contributed a minimum of 25 years of providing physical therapy services in British Columbia.
  • Must have had a province-wide impact on the field of clinical education through the supervision of students on placement, participation in clinical education committees, etc.
  • Must demonstrate exceptional commitment to students and their learning.
  • Must receive a minimum of three letters of support from current and/or former Master of Physical Therapy students (not currently being supervised by the nominee).

Nomination Process

Former students, colleagues, UBC staff and faculty can nominate a clinical educator by submitting a nomination package to Nominations should be submitted before February 15th and will be reviewed by the end of March on an annual basis.

Each nomination package should be a concise compilation of supporting information including:

  • A letter of nomination highlighting the nominee’s longstanding contributions.
  • A letter of support from the Associate Head, Clinical Education (Department of Physical Therapy). 
  • A current copy of the nominee’s curriculum vitae.
  • Three or more letters of support from former students, colleagues, Department Chairs, or other persons that include details relevant to the nominee’s teaching, mentorship, professional development, service to the Department of Physical Therapy, and overall career. 
  • Evidence of leadership in clinical education, for example: 
    • Leadership in projects aimed at enhancing learning environments, programs and curricula.
    • Leadership in developing learning opportunities across disciplines. 
    • Recruitment and coordination of placements for Master of Physical Therapy students. 
    • Research related to clinical education and/or research collaboration(s) with faculty members of the Department of Physical Therapy. 

All candidates and nominators will be notified of the outcome by email. This award may not be presented in any year in which no suitable candidate has been nominated. 

Award Winners 

2023 Maggie Mcilwaine

Maggie has an insatiable passion for teaching, evidence-based practice, and Cardiorespiratory Physiotherapy and MPT students have benefited from the knowledge and skills she has imparted. Maggie is well deserving of this Lifetime Contribution to Education award. She began working at BC Children’s Hospital in 1981 and retired from there in 2018 after serving as Professional Practice Lead. In 2015, Maggie received a PhD from the University of Ulster based on her published works. She maintained a front-line presence and mentored a multitude of new graduates in the field. Currently, she is Research Manager for the Cystic Fibrosis Clinical Trials Network, lectures worldwide and teaches workshops on airway clearance. She has numerous publications and book chapters to her name.

Students are always amazed at the currency of her teaching. Her lectures are always high energy and full of good humour; she prompts active learning and encourages student questions. Beyond lecturing, additional service to the Department of Physical Therapy includes membership on the Provincial Advisory on Clinical Education Committee and since 2017, membership in the Clinical Faculty Appointments and Promotions Committee.

2021 Gabriele Yoneda 

This award recognizes a Clinical Faculty member for significant contributions made throughout their career to Clinical Education through the teaching of Master of Physical Therapy Students on clinical placements, in the classroom, and/or in the community.

Gabriele is indeed one of those rarities and an outstanding example of a physical therapist who is highly valued by her colleagues in the clinical, academic and professional communities for her lengthy and excellent service to our profession. We thank her for her remarkable influence and support throughout her career.

2020 Judit Spence  

Judit’s passion for all aspects of pediatric physical therapy is evident to the children and families served, colleagues and peers lucky to have worked with her, and learners and students mentored by her. She has modelled life-long learning, growth, and advancement of the profession relentlessly. Judit graduated from the Physical Therapy/Occupational Therapy program at UBC in 1975 and began her career at GF Strong. She served as Director of Physical Therapy at the Centre for Child Development between 1989 ad 2006, and Director of Physical Therapy at the BC Centre for Ability between 2006 and 2020. 

Judit demonstrated unwavering support of and contribution to student learning, to clinical education, and to the Department of Physical Therapy at UBC. Her service to the Department spans teaching engagements (tutoring, lab instructing) in several courses and membership on the Admissions Committee and Department Clinical Faculty Appointment and Promotions Committee. Judit also brings a thoughtful, reasoned approach while identifying innovative opportunities for collaborations –‐ such as potential opportunities with the student-led UBC Physical Therapy & Research Clinic.

2019 Klari Varallyai 

Klari Varallyai is the inaugural winner of this award.

If you have ever spent more than a few minutes talking with Klari you will know that she is passionate not only about physiotherapy but also about education. She has been a Clinical Educator to many students, and a mentor to many clinicians. Klari supports education initiatives in any way she can (for example she has personally guided a handful of high school students from Campbell River through university and into Physiotherapy school).

The Department is grateful for Klari’s many contributions to Clinical Education at UBC and for her commitment to the profession. She epitomizes what it means to be a life-long learner and teacher!