Two 2017 OPA Award Winners share their experiences of winning OPA Awards.

David White, 2017 PTA Leadership Award Winner:

It was a regular workday at Hotel Dieu-Grace Healthcare when I was approached by my colleague, Amy Doiron, who is the OPA Windsor District President. She told me I was being nominated for the PTA Leadership Award for my outstanding volunteer work and patient-centred care.

I felt deeply honoured and humbled that I was being recognized by my peers for consideration for a provincial award.

This profession has enriched my life as I’ve been able to give back to my community. The opportunity to enable people to heal and return to their private lives is fulfilling.

The first day that I shadowed a physiotherapist was the day I knew I had found my calling. It’s been a wonderful journey from the program at Mohawk College where I became a student member of the OPA. I am now the PTA representative with the OPA Windsor District.

This career has given me the opportunity to do more, including becoming the Big Bike coordinator for Heart & Stroke at HDGH. And I’ve assisted with the annual Cardiac Wellness Heartbreaker Challenge Fundraiser. I sit on hospital committees like Joint Health & Safety and the Unit-Based Council.

Being honoured with the leadership award has confirmed I have made the right choice.

The trip to Toronto for the awards presentation was exciting. But I was nervous. I would be giving a speech alongside outstanding physiotherapists who have shaped the very fabric of how our branch of health care is delivered. Everyone was so kind and put me at ease. It was one of the most memorable nights of my life.

I continue to play a part in my community. Soon I will be speaking to the St. Clair College OTA-PTA students about the benefits of membership in the Association.

There is so much more to learn and to give. And I look forward to a rich and rewarding career for many years to come.

Jean Liu, 2017 Outstanding Volunteer Award Winner:

My involvement with Central Toronto District (CTD) of the OPA started as a first year CPA student rep at University of Toronto. I was interested in learning about our profession and thought this was a great way to get involved. I still recall how fascinated I was with learning about the great work our association was doing and I really wanted to be a part of that. I was a member of CTD’s exec committee for ten years. This involvement has allowed me to gain a broader perspective of our profession and our role within the health care system. It also allowed me to connect with students and physios practicing in various settings to work towards a common goal – which is to provide professional development and networking opportunities for our members, and promote our profession within the community.

I’ve been working at Toronto Rehab since 2008 and have transitioned from an inpatient Low Tolerance Long Duration Program to various neuro-outpatient programs including Stroke Outpatients, which is where I am now. Through my involvement with OPA, I was able to bring forth ideas/issues from a rehab perspective as well as share what I’ve learned about our profession with my colleagues. This has helped me become a more informed clinician.

I recall how the CTD exec committee always made it a goal to nominate at least one CTD member for an OPA award each year, and how excited we were to find out that one of our members won. The gratitude and excitement from the award recipient was always palpable. Never had I imagined that I’d receive a volunteer award myself. I was extremely moved, surprised, and grateful for the recognition.

Many of you may know someone who is exemplary and works very hard and is dedicated to our profession. It’s remarkable that OPA provides this opportunity to nominate and celebrate our peers. I encourage you all to nominate a fellow colleague or peer. It’s so rewarding to see them get recognized as it is such an honouring experience to be recognized by your peers.

OPA Award Nominations are now closed. Join us at InterACTION 2018 to celebrate the winners.