Alice Aiken, Rehabilitation Therapy
As a Queen’s University School of Rehabilitation Therapy professor and the president of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Alice Aiken doesn’t have much free time.
One week she is in class teaching students or conducting research, and the next she is off to Vancouver during the Winter Olympics to be interviewed on Canada AM, or travelling around Canada to attend provincial physiotherapy association meetings.
Despite the hectic work load of two jobs, Professor Aiken is having fun.
“It’s very busy and it keeps me travelling a lot but it’s great in terms of getting a good grip of what is happening with physiotherapy around the country and the world. And I like being able to have an influence on what is happening in the profession,” Professor Aiken says.
She was involved with the Ontario Physiotherapy Association for three and a half years before being elected president by 12,000 CPA members in May 2008. The job is a four-year commitment – one year as president-elect, two years and the president and a final 12 months as past president.
It was just luck that her term as president happened to overlap the Winter Olympics in Canada. The CPA decided to launch their campaign to promote physiotherapy at the same time. It turned out the president of CTV loves physio and gave the CPA a great deal on advertising, along with an invite to appear on Canada AM.
“To have physio featured so prominently while we’re launching a campaign at the Olympics was great,” says Professor Aiken, who was thrilled when Canadian ice dancer Tessa Virtue thanked her physiotherapist immediately after winning gold during a TV interview.
Professor Aiken has traveled to the U.S. for American Physical Therapy Association conferences and was an invited guest of England’s Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. In upcoming months, she will travel to Amsterdam for a world physiotherapy conference.
Her main duty as CPA president is to promote physiotherapy and decide public policy, which often overlaps her work at Queen’s.
“A lot of my research is focused on improving the role of physiotherapy in the healthcare system so my two jobs mesh really nicely,” Professor Aiken said. “It’s certainly keeping me very busy. I’m on the go a lot, but I enjoy it.”