On October 4, the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists (OSOT) recognized Barbara Cawley, VHA’s Vice-President of Client Services, with its Honourary Life Membership Award at its annual general meeting in Toronto. The award acknowledges the profound impact Barbara has had on clinical practice within VHA and across the home care sector over her amazing career.
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Barbara started as an Occupational Therapist (OT) in acute care over 40 years ago and then joined the community sector in 1985. In 2010, she became the first OT Vice-President of Client Services at VHA, where she provides interprofessional leadership to nursing, personal support, community support and five rehab services. Among her many achievements, Barbara has spearheaded VHA’s success bringing co-design with patients and family caregivers to every aspect of our work. Because of her efforts, VHA now has more than 65 patients and family caregivers working closely with staff to define their needs and design solutions around these. She continually promotes the growth of OT within the LHINs, advocates for OTs with the Ministry and its ADP division, and strategically expands OT services within VHA.
“I can’t tell you how honoured and appreciative I am of this Lifetime Achievement Award,” says Barbara Cawley. “I have been a proud OT for 42 years. Whatever successes I have experienced over the years have been because I have worked alongside wonderful and highly skilled occupational therapists. I cannot express enough how much this award means to me.”
Barbara is a go-to innovator and has paved the way for hundreds of OTs now by leading task-forces, project committees, think-tanks, advisory groups, steering committees and diverse teams with an untiring commitment to collaborative quality care. The profession has many reasons to be grateful for her contributions and the clients her ideas and passion have ultimately served.
“(The nomination) was a beautiful tribute to a true leader – one who leads with passion, perceptive vision, and a real respect for both the occupational therapists and clients that her work touches, ” Christin Brenchley, OSOT’s Executive Director noted of the submission from Barbara’s VHA colleagues.