IMG_2579-2(1)By Erin Douglas

The McGill School of Physical and Occupational Therapy (SPOT) has a long history of involvement in issues pertaining to rehabilitation and disability in the global context and continues that with the recently announced Global Health and Rehabilitation Initiative (GHRI). The launch of the GHRI took place alongside the 7th annual Edith Aston-McCrimmon lecture on November 24.

Drawing on the energy, commitment and expertise of students and faculty engaged in global health activities, the GHRI serves to expand, consolidate and strengthen the global health focus at SPOT. Dr. Laurie Snider, the Acting Director of SPOT, notes that, “this new initiative improves lives by expanding on the opportunities provided by these strategic and dynamic partnerships.”

The official launch follows a busy year of global health activities, which included the inaugural Global Health Conference hosted by SPOT this past spring and co-sponsored by the McGill Global Health Programs and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation. The conference hosted over 125 participants, including students, researchers, and community members. It showcased oral and poster presentations on a broad range of topics on rehabilitation, disability and global health from universities across Canada, and included participants from Brazil, France, Haiti, India, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

The GHRI is currently hosting a monthly Global Health Forum, which brings together students, clinicians, and researchers. The first two sessions were held in October and November of this year. The first session featured the experience of a physiotherapist involved in humanitarian health work in Afghanistan, and the second focused on maternal health research in Nepal.

The GHRI was born out of a fruitful collaboration with McGill’s Global Health Programs. This collaboration continues to offer three travel awards to support fieldwork in global health settings for professional masters’ students from both the Occupational and Physical Therapy programs.

Moving forward, the GHRI is working to build relationships with professional associations, international non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions, with the overall objective to establish formal working relationships and create innovative research and educational opportunities including curriculum development.

For more information on the Global Health Rehabilitation Initiative, contact or visit:

December 16, 2016