I write to tell you of a change in leadership at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy and the resignation of one of our very fine Directors.
In her five years as Professor, Director and Associate Dean of McGill’s School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Dr. Maureen Simmonds has introduced significant change, expanding programs and capacity, while raising the School’s profile in the health sciences community.
Dr. Simmonds came to the Faculty with the mandate to modernize the School, and she has made valuable progress in her time here. She oversaw a dynamic team, attracting new staff from both within the McGill community and externally. She advocated for the rejuvenation of the School’s facilities, the renovation of office and teaching spaces, and the creation of new teaching labs.
Under Dr. Simmonds’ tenure, enrolment in the School has increased and a new master’s program has been established. She also secured additional funding to support the School’s PhD program. Dr. Simmonds worked to have the School and its counterparts in the McGill University Health Centre recognized as a “centre of expertise” in pain management. She also was instrumental in building clinical networks, including web-based initiatives with the University of Edinburgh and the University of Sydney.
Dr. Simmonds was the principal investigator behind the Pain, Mind and Movement Research Network, supported by a $750,000 grant from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. She also was involved in two key projects that attracted a total of $5-million from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and was principle investigator on a generous grant from the Richard & Edith Strauss Canada Foundation.
An avid champion of new technology, Dr. Simmonds actively incorporates these new capabilities into her own research. Her investigations have focused on the development and testing of clinical assessment batteries that characterize and quantify the impact of pain on movement and the links between pain, mind and movement. She has also been employing virtual reality tools to better understand and manage pain.
Dr. Simmonds has achieved much in her time at the School through her tremendous energy and commitment, and we thank her for the evolution she has precipitated.
Please join me in wishing Dr. Simmonds the very best in her new position as Head of School, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.
Richard I. Levin, MD
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine