CAOT Conference Guest Speakers

Opening keynote speakerCAOT President

CAOT President Nicola MacNaughton

Opening ceremonies: Wednesday, June 21
Palmer/Pope 19:45 – 20:30

Nicola is vocal about strengthening the access to occupational therapy services in Canada. She sought the role of CAOT President to bring her sixteen years of business experience to contribute to the strategic direction of the organization. Her mandate is to change the conversation from “what is occupational therapy” to “how do I access occupational therapy services?” Nicola and the CAOT Board of Directors have encouraged CAOT Members to contribute to the “Great Ideas Portfolio” by submitting their ideas about what expectations they have, what excites them and what their expressed needs are.
Nicola’s will share some of those ideas with the audience and issue a rallying cry for action and advocacy to be part of the CAOT member makeup.

Muriel Driver Memorial LecturerMuriel Driver Lecturer 

Karen Whalley Hammell 

Thursday, June 22
Palmer/Pope 13:00 – 14:00

The Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture is given by the previous year’s Muriel Driver Memorial Award recipient. The award is CAOT’s most prestigious honour which recognizes the outstanding contribution of an individual from within the profession in the fields of research, teaching and practice of occupational therapy. The memorial lecture provides an opportunity to reflect on the current and future state of the profession, the way it is practised and the way it could be practised.

Dr. Karen Whalley Hammell is this year’s lecturer. Despite Dr. Whalley Hammell’s breadth of experience, extensive professional contributions, and innumerable accomplishments, do not expect a ‘status quo’ academic address. Dr. Whalley Hammell’s work is dedicated to making us think and encourages a deeper discourse on subjects that influence occupational theory, research and practice. While Dr. Whalley Hammell has worked as an occupational therapist for more than thirty years, leaving her mark in clinical practice, training and the research and development of our theoretical foundations, it is as an author and publisher that she has shared the rich and profound examples of her intellectual approach, which initiate a critical reflection among occupational therapists, leading them to question their certitudes by exposing sensitive and relevant issues that invite us to think outside the box.

At the beginning of the 1980s, Dr. Whalley Hammell put her career on hold so that she could adapt to the challenges she faced in taking care of a person with a spinal cord injury. From this experience grew a great concern for, and an unfailing daily commitment to those in need, to the social network, to the quality of life, and the social integration of people living with a spinal cord injury. These concerns have marked her entire professional and intellectual body of work. She has repeatedly reminded us of the importance of developing practices that address not only the capacity of individuals, but also their living conditions and their families. Her keen insights coupled with her stubborn refusal to quit in the face of social iniquities encourage us to deepen our vision of occupational therapy and the contributions of the professions to the well-being of marginalized people.

Dr. Whalley Hammell’s lecture is sure to awaken our intellectual curiosity and will inspire us to push farther, modify our practices and take pride in our profession. Don’t miss it!

Plenary – Lived experiences

Friday, June 23 
Palmer/Pope 13:00 – 14:00

As Occupational Therapists, we are privileged to be part of our clients' journey in achieving their personal goals. It is a learning experience and opportunity to grow that is realized not just by the client but also ourselves as a professional. Through this plenary, two clients will share their journey with Occupational Therapy, in entirely different settings and domains. They will reflect upon positive experiences and successes as well as challenges encountered. This plenary will provide opportunity for our profession to actively listen and reflect upon our strengths as well as to identify areas requiring further collaboration and improvement as we move forward with our clients on their journeys.

Helen Smith-MacPhail is very active in her family life and career. She is a mother of four children and a junior high school teacher. Her oldest child is 20 years old and has cerebral palsy and cortical visual impairment. Helen will share her family’s journey with occupational therapy, in many different realms, from her son’s infancy into adulthood.

Simon Micklethwaite was both deployed to and injured in Afghanistan in 2009. He was medically released from the military in 2014 and continues to experience PTSD, chronic pain from his physical injuries and an acquired brain injury. Simon will share his road to recovery, his transition back to civilian life and his journey with occupational therapy along the way.
Both clients will reflect upon the positive experiences and successes as well as challenges encountered.

NEW! Featured speaker Closing speaker

Mark Henick

Closing lunch: Saturday, June 24
Palmer/Pope 12:00 –13:00

We are pleased to extend an invitation to hear Mark Henick speak at the closing, sit-down lunch on Saturday June 24; a new highlight of this year’s program.

Mark explores the complicated relationship between suicide and choice. He breaks down the experience from an insider’s view – his own. He recounts his struggle with suicide as an adolescent and his direct experience with stigma and the mental health care system. Mark credits a stranger with saving his life and believes that we can all tap into common experiences to live every day as an advocate for mental health.

Informed by his direct experience with stigma and the mental health care system as an adolescent, Mark dedicated his life from an early age to opening minds and creating change. He has served as the youngest President of a provincial Canadian Mental Health Association division in history. He is currently the youngest-ever board member for the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Mark has authored commentaries on issues relating to mental health for major newspapers across Canada and the U.S. He continues to use his personal experience to provide insight into mental illness, and his TEDx Talk is the highest viewed of the 2013 Toronto conference- approaching almost 3 million views!

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