Your Board Candidates Answer Three Townhall Questions
1. What do you think is currently the most important opportunity (or highest priority) for the chiropractic profession in Ontario and why?
I think the most important opportunity and highest priority for the chiropractic profession in Ontario is to leverage the good work that has been done by researchers, advocacy groups, leaders, educators and chiropractors in the field to build and improve public trust.
Enhancing public trust will improve the utilization rate of our profession which is obviously good for the profession but is also good for Ontarians as it will remove some of the stress on the already overburdened health care system. We are uniquely positioned to be leaders in nMSK care if we focus on these strengths.
2. What do you think is the most important role OCA can play during the next three years?
The OCA has an important role to play as an advocate for our profession to the government and to the insurance industry. Working with other key stakeholders I would like to see the profession in Ontario re-visit scope enhancement as it pertains to diagnostic imaging/lab testing with the provincial government so that chiropractors are able to work to their full scope. In doing so, there would ultimately be a savings to the provincial health care system. We can also play a role in educating insurance companies that we are an important part of the health care team for those who have extended health coverage and look towards the expansion of chiropractic coverage under these plans.
The OCA can also continue to support its members with resources to make life in practice easier and make us feel like we aren’t alone out there. Whether it’s educational resources, patient education, peer mentorship, or webinars – the OCA has an important role to play in the life of each chiropractor in Ontario and exists to serve chiropractors in Ontario.
3. What key difference do you want to make during your tenure on the OCA Board of Directors (for 2024-2027)?
I would like to utilize the knowledge and experience I have gained from the last three years as a director and potentially take on more responsibility on the board. I would like to see the OCA/CCA/CCPA partnership continue to thrive and provide great value to our members. I would like to put to good use, the training that I have had relating to leadership and good governance and continue contributing to the good work that the OCA has been doing. I think the OCA has a role to play not just for our members as we are an advocacy group, but I also think we have an important role to play with the general public in educating them about our profession and the important role that have as part of the health care team of all Ontarians. I think that I bring diverse perspectives to the table – as a practicing chiropractor and an educator.
Why did you become a chiropractor?
My introduction to chiropractic was as an injured runner in high school. Even as a teenager I appreciated the well-rounded, holistic manner in which I was assessed and treated. I appreciated that I was more than just a sore knee to that chiropractor.
My path from there was relatively straightforward in that I completed my undergraduate degrees in Biology and Physical & Health Education at Queen’s University and went straight to CMCC.
Where do you practise?
I have practised in the east-end Toronto Beach(es) for my entire career. Upon graduation, I did a solo startup and worked alone for many years.
I currently work with a registered massage therapist in my private practice. I began teaching at CMCC in 1994. I started off in the ‘technique department’ and have worked in various areas since then. Currently, I supervise fourth-year interns providing patient care at the CMCC clinic at Sherbourne Health in downtown Toronto.
Through my role as a clinical instructor, my goal is to positively contribute to the development of future chiropractors.
What is your motto or mantra?
I was at a seminar a few years back and one of the speakers, who was a psychotherapist, said a phrase that resonated with me: “Nothing grows inside a comfort zone.” I feel like these are good words to live by because it encourages me to do things that I wouldn’t otherwise do.
This is also applicable to getting involved in the community and with our profession. This involvement helps us grow professionally and personally. I encourage recent grads to get involved in the profession whether it’s via work with advocacy groups like the OCA and CCA or in their own community.
Credentials and Designations
- Fellowship in Sports Sciences from the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences (Canada), 2016+
- Certified to teach Mental Health First Aid through the Mental Health Commission of Canada, 2014
- Certified in acupuncture from Acupuncture Canada (formerly AFCI), 2007
- Doctor of Chiropractic from CMCC, 1993
- Undergraduate degrees in biology and physical & health education from Queen’s University, 1989
What skills will you bring to the board?
As a board member I bring strong communication skills and a strong work ethic to the position. I come to meetings prepared and I ask a lot of questions. I am mindful that being part of a board where this is expected and encouraged is the sign of a healthy board. I have also learned a great deal about governance from past experience and am mindful that an organization should never take good governance for granted.
I can bring the views of someone who has been in practice for just over 30 years, but at the same time I am still in touch with the challenges that new grads are facing from my work as a clinical educator.
Do you conduct research related to chiropractic?
I am currently assisting Dr. Cameron Borody, a CMCC colleague with whom I work at Sherbourne Health, with a research project that looks at Canadian sport and exercise medicine physicians’ attitudes toward chiropractic. We received funding for this work from the Canadian Chiropractic Research Foundation (CCRF) in the fall of 2022, and I’m excited to see it through.
Do you now or have you served on any other boards?
I have enjoyed being a part of OCA’s finance and audit committee, as well as the governance committee. Being on these committees has given me insight into the breadth of the work that the OCA does.
I recently finished a two year term as the vice chair of faculty council at CMCC and am the vice president of our faculty union at CMCC. I have served on 3 bargaining teams that have negotiated our faculty collective agreements at CMCC. In the fall of 2022, I completed a four-day program in leadership and negotiation at Harvard Law School. The skills that I learned there have been invaluable in many facets of my life and work, including my work on the OCA board.
Do you volunteer in your community generally and/or for the profession specifically?
I continue to help raise awareness of common mental health issues and the importance of mental health literacy by training CMCC staff, faculty and students in mental health first aid. We have recently returned to in person sessions and have delivered this two-day course four times so far in 2023.
I was invited to speak on OCA’s ON Spinal Chat podcast on Supporting Mental Health Needs. As I’m a certified mental health first aid instructor I thought this was a great opportunity to spread awareness about the importance of mental health literacy within our profession and the ways in which chiropractors (or any health care professional) can support a patient or team member in need.
Since 2015, I’ve also volunteered with the Friends for Life Bike Rally, a ride which raises funds for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation. We take a group of CMCC interns to support riders and crew as they ride from Toronto to Montreal. Due to COVID-19, we had not sent a crew of interns since 2019, but in August 2021 I rode with 3 of my Sherbourne interns on a one-day ride and in 2022 I did the one-day ride from Toronto to Port Hope with three of my former interns. It meant a lot to me to ride with them and raise funds for one of our community partners. CMCC returned to the ride in 2023 taking a group of 8 interns on the road. We treated riders and crew as they made their way from Toronto to Montreal over 6 days in August.
Taking part in this rally has made me more mindful of the stigma that still exists for certain patient populations. It’s also reminded me of the power that we, as chiropractors have to provide treatment and comfort and the connection that this creates with our patients. To see interns recognize this early on in their training is very powerful. It’s also a great opportunity for them to get involved with a community partner so they can learn early on about the value of engaging with local community organizations.