McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

New leadership for School of Rehabilitation Science

Published: July 9, 2010
Seanne Wilkins
Seanne Wilkins, associate dean (acting) in the School of Rehabilitation Science, associate professor and occupational therapist
Patty Solomon
Patty Solomon, associate dean (beginning Jan. 1, 2011) in the School of Rehabilitation Science, professor and physiotherapist

The School of Rehabilitation Science (SRS) is starting its third decade with new leadership.

Patty Solomon, a physiotherapist and professor in the SRS, has been appointed associate dean, rehabilitation science, beginning Jan. 1, 2011. Until her appointment takes effect in the new year, associate professor Seanne Wilkins will serve as associate dean (acting), rehabilitation science. They follow professor Mary Law who, in finishing a decade as the associate dean, rehabilitation science, oversaw exponential growth in enrolment and programs.

"Our School of Rehabilitation Science has grown a significant national presence during Dr. Law’s tenure and this will provide a good platform for innovative future developments by Dr. Wilkins and Dr. Solomon," said John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences.

As an educator, Patty Solomon’s career is highlighted by several firsts: She was actively involved in developing the first professional masters of physiotherapy in Canada; her efforts in the field of curriculum design and innovation garnered her the President’s Award for Excellence in Educational Leadership in 2003; and she is one of the first rehabilitation scientists to develop a research program in the area of HIV and disability.

Over the past five years, she has led the initiative on interprofessional education within the Faculty of Health Sciences and established the Program for Interprofessional Practice, Education and Research (PIPER).

Her personal research focus has two specific areas — disabilities experienced by women living with HIV and the influence of aging on adults with HIV. 

After obtaining her diploma in physiotherapy from the University of Manitoba, Solomon received her Master of Health Sciences from McMaster University in 1985 and her PhD from the University of Waterloo in 1995. She joined McMaster’s SRS in 1989 and served as assistant dean of its physiotherapy program from 1996 to 2003.

Seanne Wilkins, an occupational therapist, is an associate professor who has just completed a term as assistant dean for the school’s graduate program. She holds a Master of Science (MSc) degree and PhD in community health and social gerontology from the University of Toronto. She joined McMaster in 1995.

During her years as assistant dean, the graduate program expanded with the addition of its PhD program. There has also been growing interest in its online MSc course program, a collaboration with the University of British Columbia. This fall, the first cohort of students will enroll in the Master in Health Management program, a partnership between the SRS and the DeGroote School of Business.

The relationship between aging, chronic illness, disability and women’s health is the focus of Dr. Wilkins’ research. She is also an expert in the use of qualitative methodology to examine community health issues for older adults with chronic disease and/or disability.

Three assistant deans of the school

  • Lori Letts, assistant dean (occupational therapy) received her Bachelor of Science degree in occupational therapy from the University of Western Ontario.  Her research interests include: environment, health promotion, primary health care, aging, community rehabilitation, participatory research, social change and community organizing. She holds an appointment with the occupational therapy department at the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care in Toronto.
  • Joy MacDermid, assistant dean (rehabilitation science) is a physical therapist and hand therapist and she holds a Canadian Institute of Health Research new investigators award.  She is co-director of the Clinical Research Lab within the Hand and Upper Limb Centre with cross appointments to the departments of surgery and epidemiology at both McMaster and the University of Western Ontario. Her research projects emphasize multidisciplinary approaches to enhancing prevention, assessment and management of musculoskeletal programs.
  • Lynne Geddes, assistant dean (physiotherapy) is a clinical professor and senior manager at Therapy Health Care Inc. a private rehabilitation agency providing multi-disciplinary rehabilitation care in the community.  In addition to her educational role as assistant dean, her teaching and research focus is on cardiorespiratory and neurological practice as well as ethics education and professionalisation.
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