Kelly O’Brien Receives the Elisse Zack Award of Excellence in HIV and Rehabilitation

July 15, 2015

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IHPME’s Dr. Kelly O’Brien receives the Elisse Zack Award of Excellence in HIV and Rehabilitation – a competitive, annual, national award. As per tradition, Dr. O’Brien was introduced at the Forum on HIV and Rehabilitation and CWGHR Annual General Meeting by last year’s award-winner, Dr. Patty Solomon who is Associate Dean of Health Sciences and Director of the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster.

“Kelly’s achievements, passion and excellence in HIV and rehabilitation have truly advanced the field over a sustained period of years. She is a treasure to our community and we can think of no one more deserving of The Elisse Zack Award for Excellence in HIV and Rehabilitation!”

2015 Recipient: Dr. Kelly O'Brien
2015 Recipient: Dr. Kelly O’Brien
Dr. Kelly O’Brien has been a clinician, researcher and advocate focusing on rehabilitation in the context of HIV since 1998 when she was one of the first physiotherapists in Canada developing and delivering rehabilitation services for people living with HIV.  Through her brilliant doctoral research, Kelly developed the Episodic Disability Framework to guide practice, research and advocacy for and with people living with HIV.  Kelly is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto (U of T) in the Department of Physical Therapy and she has taught extensively at both U of T and McMaster and thus countless future health care professionals have been influenced and have chosen to specialize in the fields of HIV and episodic disabilities. In addition, since 2009 Kelly has contributed extensively to the Universities Without Walls a national, interdisciplinary learning network connecting academics, community members, and policy makers. Her most recent collaboration in eLearning with The Learning Place for HIV/AIDS Community Based Research puts her at the forefront of virtual teaching. Her contributions with CWGHR began in 1999 as a member of the Grant Review Committee and she continued on CWGHR’s Communication Advisory Committee, National Pilot Site Steering Committee for the Episodic Disability Project, Advisory Committee for Interprofessional Learning in Rehabilitation, Scoping Review Identifying Research Priorities, Labour Force Participation Project, Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee and she served as a member of the Board of Directors from 2009-2014.  Kelly also spearheaded the Canada‐UK HIV and Rehabilitation Research Collaborative, whose ongoing work unites people living with HIV, clinicians and researchers from both countries to build bridges among research, policy and practice. For full details:

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