Keynote Speaker bonnieversion2 (3)

Bonnie Kirsh, PhD, OT Reg (Ontario)

Title of talk: “From independence to inclusion: Promoting ability, opportunity and dignity”

Bonnie Kirsh is a Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kirsh was a member of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Workforce Advisory Committee, which helped shape the first national strategy for mental health in Canada and launched the National Standard for Psychological Safety in the Workplace. Dr. Kirsh has focused her research on improving mainstream participation of people living with mental illness, with a particular focus on employment. She was a principal investigator on the Commission’s Aspiring Workforce Project which examined best practices in work integration for people with mental illnesses and on Opening Minds, the country’s largest anti- stigma research initiative. Currently she is leading a SSHRC/CIHR project examining interventions to promote work for people with invisible disabilities. She has published widely on the topic of employment and has been an invited speaker at national and international conferences. She loves mentoring students, both in the classroom and through research supervision.

Guest Speaker:

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Laura Yvonne Bulk, OT, MOT, BSW

Title of talk: “What lenses are you wearing?”

Laura Yvonne Bulk is a passionate advocate, a public scholar, an enthusiastic teacher and mentor, an occupational therapist (OT), and dedicated volunteer. She is a person of seeming contradictions: she is compassionate and assertive; a leader and a servant; a community member and scholar; a knowledgeable expert and humble learner.

Laura’s doctoral work focuses on using collaborative and creative approaches to enhance diversity and understanding, and promote human dignity and flourishing. Nearing secondary school graduation, Laura articulated her goals: to help disadvantaged people gain the skills and confidence to lead the lives they desire, and to contribute to a more equitable and welcoming society. As an OT, she does this with individuals; however, she chose to pursue a PhD realizing that people with the skills and confidence to flourish sometimes don’t due to social, policy, and institutional barriers. As a public scholar, Laura is pursuing work that will benefit the wider community as well as the academic community, making purposeful social contributions and employing innovative forms of collaborative scholarship. Her aim is to preserve and promote the dignity of all – not regardless of, but rather, in celebration of differences.

Faculty Address:


Jill Zwicker, PhD, OT(C)

Title of talk: “Lessons Learned from Incorrect Assumptions”

Dr. Jill Zwicker is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. She also holds appointments as Associate Member in the Department of Pediatrics, Investigator at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Clinician Scientist at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children, Associate Investigator with Kids Brain Health Network, and Research Associate at CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. She is internationally recognized for her work with children with developmental coordination disorder and is conducting cutting edge research to examine brain changes with rehabilitation in children with motor impairments. Dr. Zwicker is a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar and is funded by the Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist Program and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.