Friday, September 15, 2017

A Quick Trip to Montréal

This week, the 71st Annual Meeting of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) is taking place at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Quebec. The purpose of this conference is to bring clinicians, allied health professionals and researchers from around the world to present on innovations that are improving the lives of individuals with cerebral palsy and other childhood onset disabilities.

While I wasn't able to attend the full conference, (I just could not fathom leaving Andrew with three children, countless appointments, and a million other responsibilities for a full week), I did make a quick trip to Montréal to attend a couple of the meetings and seminars that I was specifically invited to.

I spent some time at McGill University, meeting with Dr. Keiko Shikako-Thomas, Canada Research Chair and Assistant Professor at the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy of McGill. Keiko is head of the Jooay team, which has created an app that aims to connect children and youth to leisure activities. I was invited to a brainstorming event on the best ways to promote leisure participation of children with disabilities and to engage families in the community. I will have lots more to say about this in another post!

McGill is such a vibrant campus, full of history, with its beautiful old Victorian mansions interspersed among modern architecture. Chartered in 1821, McGill is among the oldest and most distinguished of North American Universities, and is among the most prestigious universities in the world. McGill is a world leader is research excellence and has four affiliated teaching hospitals, and with 40,000 students from 150 countries, it has the most international student body in Canada.

The University campus is located in downtown Montréal, at the foot of Mount Royal, Montréal's grand mountain park. I took some time in between meetings to climb the 400 stairs to the top of the mountain. I was completely overdressed for the 26 degree heat, and not wearing appropriate footwear for such a climb, but the views were spectacular, and it was totally worth it!

I also had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Peter Rosenbaum, whom I have been working with on the F-Words in Childhood Disability. Dr. Rosenbaum is a Professor of Paediatrics at McMaster University, Canada Research Chair in Childhood Disability, and Co-Founder of the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research. 

It was great to chat with Peter about the F-Words research project, the work that has been done so far, and where we hope to take it from here. Peter is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to childhood disability, and he was very interested to know about Brennen and how he's been doing since his spinal surgery. Peter will be presenting on the F-Words in Childhood Disability in Montréal on Saturday at the Community Forum. If you are in the area, you should check it out! 

Also, it was just announced that Peter will be the recipient of the 2017 Award for Individual Leadership from the Canadian Association of Paediatric Health Centres!

"Formerly known as the CAPHC Contribution to Child Health Award, the CAPHC Award for Individual Leadership annual award was created to recognize outstanding leadership by an individual who has dedicated their career to making a difference in the health and well-being of children, youth and families in Canada. The award specifically recognizes creativity and initiative to promote positive change and long-term improvement."

Well deserved! Congratulations, Dr. Rosenbaum!!!

I spent some 'free time' exploring the city. I enjoyed walking around Old Montréal, and the Old Port, and I discovered some wonderful art galleries. I ate ALL the smoked meat poutine, did some window shopping, and really made the most of my short time in the city.

I had a wonderful time in Montréal, but even after a few short days, I was anxious to get home to my family. I have said it before, and I will say it every time - the best part of being away is always, always coming home.

-Julie xo

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