Relevant Thesis-Based Degree Programs
Affiliations to Research Centres, Institutes & Clusters
neonatology, pediatrics, occupational therapy, measurement, rehabilitation
Complete these steps before you reach out to a faculty member!
- Familiarize yourself with program requirements. You want to learn as much as possible from the information available to you before you reach out to a faculty member. Be sure to visit the graduate degree program listing and program-specific websites.
- Check whether the program requires you to seek commitment from a supervisor prior to submitting an application. For some programs this is an essential step while others match successful applicants with faculty members within the first year of study. This is either indicated in the program profile under "Admission Information & Requirements" - "Prepare Application" - "Supervision" or on the program website.
- Identify specific faculty members who are conducting research in your specific area of interest.
- Establish that your research interests align with the faculty member’s research interests.
- Read up on the faculty members in the program and the research being conducted in the department.
- Familiarize yourself with their work, read their recent publications and past theses/dissertations that they supervised. Be certain that their research is indeed what you are hoping to study.
- Compose an error-free and grammatically correct email addressed to your specifically targeted faculty member, and remember to use their correct titles.
- Do not send non-specific, mass emails to everyone in the department hoping for a match.
- Address the faculty members by name. Your contact should be genuine rather than generic.
- Include a brief outline of your academic background, why you are interested in working with the faculty member, and what experience you could bring to the department. The supervision enquiry form guides you with targeted questions. Ensure to craft compelling answers to these questions.
- Highlight your achievements and why you are a top student. Faculty members receive dozens of requests from prospective students and you may have less than 30 seconds to pique someone’s interest.
- Demonstrate that you are familiar with their research:
- Convey the specific ways you are a good fit for the program.
- Convey the specific ways the program/lab/faculty member is a good fit for the research you are interested in/already conducting.
- Be enthusiastic, but don’t overdo it.
G+PS regularly provides virtual sessions that focus on admission requirements and procedures and tips how to improve your application.
ADVICE AND INSIGHTS FROM UBC FACULTY ON REACHING OUT TO SUPERVISORS
These videos contain some general advice from faculty across UBC on finding and reaching out to a potential thesis supervisor.
Great Supervisor Week Mentions
As I prep to submit my PhD dissertation for external examination (!!!) I’d like to thank my practical, judicious, efficient, supportive & inspiring co-#GreatSupervisor! @LHolsti is a research powerhouse & the best career mentor I could ask for! #UBC @UBCOSOT @UBCGradSchool
"Our chief want in life is somebody who will make us do what we can." - Ralph Waldo Emerson. Sending kudos to my #GreatSupervisor #UBC @LHolsti for doing just that!
Graduate Student Supervision
Doctoral Student Supervision
Dissertations completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest dissertations.
Background: Knowledge translation (KT), or the process of moving research into action, takes 10-20 years, resulting in sub-optimal healthcare for Canadians. Most KT strategies designed to shorten this gap neglect the social factors that facilitate research use. Social network analysis (SNA) methodology can be used to examine these factors within a network ofindividuals, including identifying influential people, and describing interaction patterns that can be targeted to improve KT efficiency. No such studies exist in paediatric healthcare organizations. Aims: 1) determine how SNA can augment KT research; 2) describe the national KT support context within paediatric healthcare and research organizations; and 3) confirm theinfluence of networks on KT, and identify network-driven KT support strategies. Methods: Study 1: Scoping review of SNA and theory applied to KT research. Study 2: Survey-based environmental scan of organizational KT supports in Canadian paediatric healthcare and research organizations. Study 3: Mixed-methods SNA descriptive case study of one healthcare-research organization dyad’s KT network using visual tools, and SNA survey and interview data from researchers, clinicians, leaders and KT support personnel to triangulate network influences on KT, and to identify network interventions to facilitate KT. Results: Study 1: SNA use is emerging in the KT field, primarily to examine information flow through cross-sectional survey research of physician-only networks, while analyzing few network properties. Diverse theoretical perspectives appear to be applicable for SNA research. Study 2: Organizational supports for KT typically targeted healthcare professionals, leaders and researchers, and included library services, KT support personnel, internal and external collaborations, forums and communication strategies, policies and protocols, consultation, specialized initiatives and funding. Study 3: Multiple network structures were perceived to influence KT. Reasons for network structure included individual attributes, relational considerations, and organizational context. Proposed network-driven KT support strategies included network development, communication, resources, personnel, visibly valuing KT, and evaluation. Conclusion: SNA can advance the science of KT by addressing the under-researched social determinants of evidence use, and by informing the design of network interventions. Participant engagement in applying a network perspective represented a novel application of SNA to KT research.
Master's Student Supervision
Theses completed in 2010 or later are listed below. Please note that there is a 6-12 month delay to add the latest theses.
Children Living with Health Complexity (CLHC) require continuity of health and community care to improve their quality of life and decrease family care burden. Due to medical complexity and numerous chronic conditions, these children rely heavily on multiple care providers. However, a fragmented health system and the communication challenges between stakeholders poses many obstacles for their caregivers, and the result is non-optimal care in both hospital and community. This leads to an immense burden on families who take on dual roles and become responsible for care coordination. Parent caregivers must continually manage and share masses of paper documents and repeat their child’s story for different stakeholders. A digital information management and care coordination solution to support these caregivers is long overdue.Our goal was to engage with parent caregivers of CLHC through the user-centered design process to understand their needs in a digital solution. Twelve caregivers participated in three rounds of user studies which were followed by design phases. In the first phase of the study, we aimed to understand the caregiver challenges, pain-points and strategies for dealing with masses of paper and electronic data. By utilizing thematic analysis, we found a set of caregiver challenges which closely aligned with previous research: access to health records, navigating the care system, organizing and managing information, finding resources, repeating their story, and managing finances. We mapped these challenges to the caregiver strategies and devised a set of design principles to address these challenges. We also collected data on caregivers’ feature preferences in a digital solution. Our emergent design principles are: providing a holistic view of patient care, allowing customizability and flexibility, personalizing and humanizing, facilitating communication and collaboration with care providers, avoiding jargon, capturing health history and providing insight, sharing and accessing confidentially, and integrating information. Finally, we developed an extensive prototype blueprint through an iterative process of feedback and design to serve as an example for implementing these design principles in a caregiver-centered interface. The design principles and the prototype are intended to be a stepping stone for developing the content and features of a caregiver-centered information management system.
Introduction: Toe walking may develop with early ambulation, but is considered abnormal in healthy children after three years of age. Idiopathic toe walking is a diagnosis of exclusion characterized by forefoot weight bearing and lack of heel contact with the floor. This condition may be associated with pain in the legs or feet, frequent tripping or falling, and ankle injuries. In British Columbia, treatment for toe walking varies from physiotherapy, casts or braces, Botulinum toxin A injections into calf muscles, and/or surgery. Little evidence exists regarding long-term treatment effects. Objectives: To determine the natural history of idiopathic toe walking and the long-term impact of treatment on gait outcomes and severity of toe walking. Potential activity limitations and participation restrictions were also explored.Methods: Gait analysis data and severity of toe walking were compared from baseline to follow-up in 44 adolescents and young adults diagnosed with idiopathic toe walking between 1997 and 2005 in a non-experimental retrospective cohort study. Participants were grouped as receiving no treatment other than stretching exercises (n=20) or treatment (n=24), including casting +/- Botulinum toxin A injections (n=23) or tendo-Achilles lengthening (n=1). Levels of activity and participation were assessed using the Pediatric Outcomes Data Collection Instrument for adolescents and the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short Form Survey Instrument for young adults. Results: Ankle kinematics improved in the treatment group only whereas improved ankle kinetics and compensatory knee hyperextension were observed in both groups. Ankle moments remained atypical in 89% of the participants at follow-up. Clinical ankle dorsiflexion decreased over time in both groups. Statistically significant differences in severity at follow-up were found only in the treatment group (p
BACKGROUND: Motivation, a key factor influencing pediatric rehabilitation outcomes, is rarely measured in clinical settings and limited research has explored this construct. Currently, no scale exists with which to measure motivation during rehabilitation from a child’s perspective. PURPOSE: To review evidence about the effects of motivational interventions in children and youth with acquired brain injury (ABI) and to examine the application of Self Determination Theory (SDT) in the rehabilitation context. Based upon tenets of SDT, the aim of this pilot research was to develop an instrument, the Pediatric Motivation Scale (PMOT), to assess motivation from a child’s perspective.METHODS: This study involved two phases. Phase 1 established the PMOT content validity through: a) literature reviews related to motivation in ABI, SDT, and motivation measures; and b) expert feedback from 12 clinicians providing rehabilitation to children who have sustained either acquired brain injury (ABI) or orthopedic injury (OI). During Phase 2, the PMOT was field tested with 12 children with ABI, 9 children with OI, and 20 healthy children serving as controls. Face validity, response process, test-retest reliability, and internal consistency were examined. In addition, convergent validity was explored by comparing therapists' observations of the child's motivation, using the Pediatric Volitional Questionnaire (PVQ). Pearson Product Moment correlations were used to analyze sub-scale correlations, test-retest reliability, and the relationship between the PMOT and the PVQ; Cronbach's alpha was used to measure internal consistency.RESULTS: Literature review revealed a need for the development of valid and reliable measures of motivation in rehabilitation. Preliminary psychometric evaluation of the PMOT indicates strong internal consistency for the scale as a whole (α = .96) and for the subscales (α =.79 to .91). The PMOT was moderately correlated with the PVQ in the rehabilitation subsample (r=.71, p<.01 however="" no="" correlation="" was="" found="" in="" the="" healthy="" subsample="">.05). Test-retest reliability was excellent (r=.97).CONCLUSIONS: This study provides strong preliminary evidence for psychometric properties of the PMOT for use with children in rehabilitation post ABI or OI. Future research is recommended to build upon these pilot findings for the ongoing development of this scale.
Background: Acquired brain injury (ABI) affects considerable numbers of Canadians every year, resulting in a range of functional impairments requiring rehabilitation. Virtual reality (VR) is a relatively new treatment approach being used increasingly for this purpose. A lack of research documents current practice in VR use, along with the barriers, facilitators and support needs of therapists expected to adopt the technology.Purpose: This research aimed to describe how the GestureTek VR system was being used clinically in ABI rehabilitation, to outline preliminary work addressing the resource needs of clinicians, to examine factors influencing therapists’ adoption of VR and to evaluate the impact of a multi-faceted knowledge translation (KT) intervention at mediating these factors to facilitate VR implementation.Hypotheses: The KT intervention will be associated with improvements in therapists' perceived ease of use and self efficacy in using the technology, and an associated increase in their intentions to use VR.Methods: A single group pretest-posttest design was used to examine the determinants of VR adoption as proposed by the Decomposed Theory of Planned Behaviour and to evaluate change following KT. The intervention included interactive education, the provision of clinical protocols and technical and clinical support. Forty-two therapists from two health centres completed the ADOPT-VR outcome measure. Descriptive measures recorded the nature of therapists’ use of VR with 29 clients. Related-samples Wilcoxon signed ranks tests were used to evaluate pretest-posttest changes in hypothesis variables. Descriptive statistics and content analysis were used to analyse nominal and qualitative data, respectively.Results: Differences existed between clinical application and existing research in both treatment and client characteristics. Overall, therapists had positive attitudes and intentions to use VR. Increases in perceived ease of use and self efficacy, but not behavioural intention, were observed following KT. The most significant barriers to VR use included time and client factors, while primary facilitators included peer influence and organisational-level supports.Conclusion: Preliminary knowledge of current VR practice trends can assist in the design of clinically relevant ABI research. Barriers and facilitators can be targeted by management to support VR implementation. Therapists’ identified knowledge and support needs can inform future KT strategies.
Purpose: The timing of physiotherapy intervention for optimal motor outcomes in children with cerebral palsy (CP) remains unknown. Dynamic Systems Theory (DST) suggests this timing is during transition periods when new motor behaviour is emerging; transition periods are identified by increased variability in motor performance. Additionally, factors within the child and environment are thought to influence motor acquisition. The aim of this study was to explore the relationships between these factors and motor acquisition in young children with CP. Specifically the following were examined: 1. a) Variability in motor abilities during a preceding time interval,b) Variability in motor performance during a preceding time interval,2. Child factors, and3. Environmental factors.Methods: For this case series, the sample comprised five children with CP, aged three to five years, and classified in levels I to III of the Gross Motor Function Classification System. Each child’s gross motor abilities and performance were assessed during ten home visits using the Gross Motor Function Measure and the Quality FM respectively. Mastery motivation and engagement in daily life were assessed through questionnaires. Environmental factors were described using field notes at each home visit.Results: No associations were found between a) variability in motor abilities or b) variability in motor performance and subsequent motor acquisition in each child individually nor when data were pooled across children. Mastery motivation was inversely associated with motor change (rs=-0.90, p=0.04) for the pooled data set. Child engagement and GMFM scores were not related nor were there trends in field note data with GMFM change scores.Conclusions: Although this study failed to identify associations between the factors explored, the results were likely impacted by the inability of the measurement tools used to capture subtle changes in motor behaviour in this sample. Further investigation is warranted using a larger, diverse sample of children with CP using nonlinear tools designed to measure movement variability. Greater understanding of the implications of variability on the emergence of motor abilities in this population could offer critical insight into how children with CP acquire motor abilities and select optimal motor strategies under task constraints.
Purpose: (1) to describe mothers’ experiences of an interdisciplinary feeding team process for their child with a feeding disorder; (2) to explore the perspectives of mothers as they implement recommendations from the feeding team.Methods: In this qualitative descriptive phenomenological study, nine mothers whose child had a complex feeding disorder and who recently went through an interdisciplinary feeding assessment participated in two semi-structured interviews. The first interview took place just after the feeding assessment, while the second was conducted a few months later. Colaizzi’s method of data analysis was used to analyze the data. Findings: Five themes emerged from the analysis. 'Taking Action' reflects the recognition and the action that was being taken by mothers to address their child’s feeding disorder. 'The Balancing Act' describes the range of experiences that mothers identified during the interdisciplinary assessment process. 'The Impact' reflects the mix of emotions that mothers experience at the conclusion of the feeding assessment, as well as the knowledge and insight gained regarding their child’s feeding. 'We Are On Our Own' represents the process of positive change that mothers go through as they implement recommendations from the team; and finally, 'We Can Now Move Forward' describes the restoration of balance in the lives of mothers as they adapt to the recommendations provided by the team. Knowledge gained from the feeding team facilitates mothers’ acceptance of their child’s feeding difficulties and helps them to look towards the future with renewed hope. The stressors that mothers’ experienced prior to the feeding assessment had an impact on their experience of the assessment. Mothers described uncertainties and anxieties prior to and during the feeding assessment. These stressors have the potential to be alleviated with increased communication with families.Implications: This study has highlighted the importance of using an interdisciplinary team to address paediatric feeding difficulties. In addition, the findings suggest that receiving knowledge helps to facilitate problem-focused coping in mothers. Understanding the broader impact of an interdisciplinary feeding team on decreasing caregiver stress is critical for further legitimizing the service and ensuring funding when the healthcare system is already strained.
- Pilot Testing a Robot for Reducing Pain in Hospitalized Preterm Infants (2019)
OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 39 (2), 108--115
- A Systematic Review of the Predictive Validity of Neurobehavioral Assessments During the Preterm Period (2017)
Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 37 (3), 292-307
- Defining procedural distress in the NICU and what can be done about It (2017)
Neonatal Network, 36 (1), 12-17
- Evaluating change in virtual reality adoption for brain injury rehabilitation following knowledge translation (2017)
Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12 (3), 217-226
- Beyond Acute Pain: Understanding Chronic Pain in Infancy (2016)
- Comment on the Paper by van den Bosch et al. Entitled 'Prematurity, Opioid Exposure and Neonatal Pain: Do They Affect the Developing Brain': The Impact of Subtle Messaging. (2016)
- Salivary Cortisol Based Early ACTH Test for Identifying Adrenal Insufficiency in Low Birth Weight Infants. (2016)
- A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Use of Oral Glucose with or without Gentle Facilitated Tucking of Infants during Neonatal Echocardiography. (2015)
- Neonatal pain and developmental outcomes in children born preterm: a systematic review. (2015)
- Oral glucose during targeted neonatal echocardiography: is it useful? (2015)
- Perceptions of Technology and Its Use for Therapeutic Application for Individuals With Hemiparesis: Findings From Adult and Pediatric Focus Groups (2015)
JMIR Rehabilitation and Assistive Technologies,
- The development of the Pediatric Motivation Scale for rehabilitation. (2015)
- The fathers'support scale: Neonatal intensive care unit (FSS: NICU): Development and initial content validation (2015)
Journal of Neonatal Nursing, 21 (2), 63-71
- Therapists' perceptions of social media and video game technologies in upper limb rehabilitation. (2015)
- Using colors to assess pain in toddlers: validation of "the rainbow pain scale"-a proof-of-principle study. (2015)
- The effects of motivating interventions on rehabilitation outcomes in children and youth with acquired brain injuries: a systematic review. (2014)
- The GestureTek virtual reality system in rehabilitation: a scoping review. (2014)
- Using virtual reality in clinical practice: A multi-site exploratory study. (2014)
- Evidence for outcomes of motivational rehabilitation interventions for children and adolescents with cerebral palsy: an American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine systematic review. (2013)
- Factors influencing therapists' adoption of virtual reality for brain injury rehabilitation. (2013)
- Occupational therapists play an important role in managing pain in infants in neonatal intensive care units | Les ergothérapeutes jouent un rôle déterminant dans la gestion de la douleur chez les bébés dans les unités de soins intensifs en néonatalogie (2012)
Occupational Therapy Now, 14 (5), 8-9
- Pain in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (2012)
- Terms used to describe pediatric videofluoroscopic feeding studies: a Delphi survey. (2012)
- The use of an early ACTH test to identify hypoadrenalism-related hypotension in low birth weight infants. (2012)
- Assessing pain in preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit: moving to a 'brain-oriented' approach. (2011)
- Does breastfeeding reduce acute procedural pain in preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit? A randomized clinical trial. (2011)
- A preventive care program for very preterm infants improves infant behavioural outcomes and decreases anxiety and depression in caregivers. (2010)
- Considerations for using sucrose to reduce procedural pain in preterm infants. (2010)
- Content validation of the infant malnutrition and feeding checklist for congenital heart disease: a tool to identify risk of malnutrition and feeding difficulties in infants with congenital heart disease. (2010)
- Measures of knowledge and skills for evidence-based practice: a systematic review. (2010)
- Paediatric occupational therapy: addressing parental stress with the sense of coherence. (2010)
- Fathers' experiences in the neonatal intensive care unit: a search for control. (2008)
- Is it painful or not? Discriminant validity of the Behavioral Indicators of Infant Pain (BIIP) scale. (2008)
- Long-term outcome after neonatal intraparenchymal echodensities with porencephaly. (2008)
- Obsessional slowness: a case study. (2008)
- Extremity movements help occupational therapists identify stress responses in preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit: a systematic review. (2007)
- Initial validation of the Behavioral Indicators of Infant Pain (BIIP). (2007)
- Relationships between adrenocorticotropic hormone and cortisol are altered during clustered nursing care in preterm infants born at extremely low gestational age. (2007)
- Behavioral responses to pain are heightened after clustered care in preterm infants born between 30 and 32 weeks gestational age. (2006)
- Biobehavioural reactivity to pain in preterm infants: a marker of neuromotor development. (2006)
- Long-term consequences of pain in human neonates. (2006)
- Neonatal procedural pain exposure predicts lower cortisol and behavioral reactivity in preterm infants in the NICU. (2005)
- Prior pain induces heightened motor responses during clustered care in preterm infants in the NICU. (2005)
- Does prone or supine position influence pain responses in preterm infants at 32 weeks gestational age? (2004)
- Specific Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program movements are associated with acute pain in preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. (2004)
- Are there developmentally distinct motor indicators of pain in preterm infants? (2003)
- Developmental coordination disorder in extremely low birth weight children at nine years. (2002)
- Are twitches, startles, and body movements pain indicators in extremely low birth weight infants? (2000)
- Bedside application of the Neonatal Facial Coding System in pain assessment of premature neonates. (1998)
- Upper extremity performance and self-care skill changes in children with spastic cerebral palsy following selective posterior rhizotomy. (1998)
- Extremely premature (< or = 800 g) schoolchildren: multiple areas of hidden disability. (1997)