Update from the Chair (OT) COVID-19

March 31, 2020

Dear students, staff and faculty,

Last day of March! As the end of March can often be very wintery, I’m glad that we’re not dealing with snow, sleet or hail today J

Our next town hall will be at 4 pm on Thursday April 2.

I am so pleased to start my updates today with announcing that Dr. Behdin Nowrouzi-Kia has accepted our offer for the Emily Geldsaler Grant Early Career Professorship in Workplace Mental Health and will start this position along with a tenure-stream Assistant Professor position on July 1, 2020.

Behdin received his MScOT from the University of Toronto, his MPH (Master of Public Health) from Lakehead and his PhD from Laurentian University. He undertook extensive post-doctoral work receiving fellowships from the Canadian Institute for Health Information in Work Disability Prevention, Vale Canada Limited, to study workplace mental health factors in the Ontario workforce, and the Ontario Ministry of Research and innovation to examine workplace factors in registered nurses in Ontario. Behdin is also the founder of OT Services North, a private practice focusing on return to work and work disability prevention. 

Behdin has articulated three areas of focus for the early-career professorship: (i) Workplace Mental Health: a focus on prevention and occupational performance; (ii) Return to Work and Workplace Psychological Injury; and (iii) Occupational Therapy Interventions in Mental Health Disability Management and Prevention.

We are very excited to have Behdin selected for this position. Please join me in congratulating, Dr. Nowrouzi-Kia, our Emily Geldsaler Grant Early Career Professor!

Other Updates

  1. Late yesterday, we heard, as anticipated, that the TAHSN hospital education leadership have collectively agreed to continue with the placement pause for all non-paid and pre-licensure clinical learners until Monday July 6. The have also communicated that,“As hospitals gain stability in some areas, there may be opportunities for clinical learners enrolled in academic programs to gain clinical experience in alignment with their learning goals through virtual means.”

    As per my update yesterday, we have anticipated this news and had already started to consider the effect of this on our plans for FW1 and FW4. I am having conversations with the health professional program leaders at U o T, and the OT leaders across the country to determine the best way forward for all clinical programs. Please be patient as these conversations continue and evolve and anticipate being invited for your input as well.

    Two new resources: Both are likely more oriented towards practicing clinicians, but may be of interest. QuickICUTraining.com provides an interesting example of online learning. 
  2. Free access to UpToDate:  From now until April 30 (and subject to extension) access to the UpToDate clinical decision support online resource is free for members of the UofT community.  My thanks to the university's Chief Librarian, Larry Alford, for his assistance in securing this access. 

    In order to receive free access, any new subscriber simply needs to follow this link: UpToDate Guest Pass.  If a clinician had a license in the past and it is no longer valid, they can simply reach out to our customer support team. Customer Support can extend access for lapsed individual subscribers through April 30, 2020. These lapsed subscribers will need to contact Customer Support directly:              
    1. Online at www.uptodate.com/home/contact-us - users can choose to open a web case, chat, call or email from that page: 
    2. By email at customerservice@uptodate.com 
    3. By phone at 1-800-998-6374 or +1 781-392-2000
  3. Online ICU Training Resources:  Members of the Critical Care Education Pandemic Preparedness (CCEPP) project have developed an online resource for non-intensive care clinicians -- doctors, nurses, RTs, and others -- who may find themselves working in critical care during the pandemic. www.QuickICUTraining.com is a study guide and quick reference resource for those upskilling, renewing, or reviewing their critical care capabilities in response to COVID-19. It is meant to supplement simulation- and/or on-the-job learning and more formal training programs.  

    QuickICUTraining.com is comprised of short "pocket card" summaries, evidence-focused lectures, procedural demonstration videos, and links. Content on this website is a result of both collation of existing materials and novel creation. The website also houses triage guidelines and recommendations. Please note that this resource continues to be developed and improved as we are receiving and generating more materials and refining current materials.  
  4. Re practice information for OTs considering telehealth: CAOT is offering this webinar on Thursday April 2 from 12-1. There is no charge. https://caot.ca/viewEvent.html?productId=10630%20 They have also made a PDF available comparing different telehealth platforms that can be found here: https://www.caot.ca/document/7171/Practical%20Considerations%20for%20OTs%20and%20Telehealth_covid19_March25.pdf

I think that is it for me today. Stay well and have a wonderful rest of the day!



Deirdre R. Dawson, PhD, OT Reg. (Ont.)
Professor & Interim Chair, Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy