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Meet Holland Bloorview’s OT and PT clinical scholars

The Clinical Scholar Program is supporting occupational therapists, physiotherapists thanks to Make Kids Count funding

(Photo L-R: Tracy Lee, physiotherapist; Andrea Rabel, physiotherapist; Yvonne Ng, occupational therapist; Salma Kassam, occupational therapist)

Recognizing the need to build capacity within the health care system, Make Kids Count funding enabled the expansion of Ontario’s Clinical Scholar Program (CSP) to include occupational therapy and physiotherapy at Holland Bloorview. Our hospital introduced the CSP for nursing in September 2023 and it expanded to include occupational therapy and physiotherapy this past November to mentor and support new graduates just entering the field of pediatric rehabilitation. This initiative aligns well with our work to transform care through research and education, along with our commitment to inspiring and supporting the next generation of health care professionals. 

When this group of clinical scholars reflected on why they took on this critical role, it was unanimous that enhancing the development of collaborative clinical learning at Holland Bloorview was of utmost importance. It was evident that dedicated time to support the bridge between clinical learning and clinical practice was necessary to support the growth of new clinicians – especially given the shift of how clinical learning was delivered during the pandemic.

“As clinical scholars, each of us brings over 20 years of skills and experience to enhance the development of collaborative clinical learning at Holland Bloorview," says Tracy Lee, physiotherapist. “We each hoped that our passion for pediatric care and the opportunity to be mentors may contribute to supporting new clinicians as part of their onboarding, and even all clinicians more broadly to guide their professional development.”

The CSP leverages the valuable and varied experiences that each of the clinical scholars bring to the role and enables us to advance as a learning health system – an environment of continuous improvement and innovation to inform the best possible care and outcomes. As a result, this fuels the ability for clinicians to build stronger relationships across programs and disciplines.

"Within the current model, two occupational therapists and two physiotherapists bring a breadth of clinical expertise and many years of experience at Holland Bloorview,” says Joanne Maxwell, vice president, experience, transformation and social accountability (ETSA). “The clinical scholar program recognizes the unique expertise that is required to provide exceptional pediatric rehabilitation care, and is supporting the next generation of clinicians to gain the skills that are vital for us as a centre for excellence in caring for children and youth with disabilities and their families.”

The OT and PT clinical scholar group share that there is genuine excitement about the potential and opportunities that lie ahead to demonstrate creativity, ingenuity and longevity in clinical work.

“We have the opportunity to be difference makers. We want to support and empower one another so that we can continue to develop client and family care that not only meets but exceeds expectations,” says Salma Kassam, occupational therapist. “Working as a team of clinical scholars to support collaborative practice at Holland Bloorview continues to be very rewarding as we bring all of our strengths and experience together to guide us.”



About Make Kids Count and Holland Bloorview 2030

The role that Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital plays in the health care system continues to evolve to ensure clients and families can access the care and services they need. The Make Kids Count plan to right-size the children’s health care system in Ontario was the culmination of collective advocacy from children’s health leaders, including Holland Bloorview. As a result, a historic investment of $330 million in funding by the Government of Ontario was made to impact all areas of the children’s health sector. This $11.8 million in new funding is fueling our strategic plan, Transformative Care, Inclusive World: Holland Bloorview 2030, and enabling us to foster the growth of a healthy team so that we can deliver care and services for children, youth and families that is agile, socially accountable and transformed by research and education. To learn more, visit Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Strategic Plan website.