Kelly Brewer Retires from Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Centre

After graduating from the University of Toronto in 1980, Kelly started her career as a physiotherapist at St. Michael’s hospital. For nine years, she was the Senior Leader of the Cardiorespirology team, where she began to develop her passion for working with students as well as her love of working collaboratively with in-patient, interprofessional teams.

In 1991, she joined the Adolescent Unit of the Hugh MacMillan Medical Centre, now known as Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.  In the Adolescent Unit, Kelly developed her skills and knowledge around acquired brain injury and spina bifida.  With the shift to Program Management in the 2000’s, Kelly moved to the Brain Injury program, while also maintaining a role in the Spina Bifida Clinic. Working in these two programs has provided Kelly with not only the opportunity to develop broad skill sets but also to learn from incredibly dedicated health care professionals, and so many amazing children and their families.

Kelly’s research work at Holland Bloorview, which has benefitted greatly from the guidance of Virginia Wright, first began in the mid 1990’s as part of a larger team of BIRT PT’s and OT’s working on the development of the formal structure and content of the Community Mobility Assessment (CMA).  CMA is a community based practical assessment used to evaluate the physical and cognitive abilities of adolescents who have sustained an acquired brain injury. Working alongside Trish Geisler and Janet Woodhouse, Kelly was involved in further research to validate the updated CMA-2 in 2014 and then more recently, to develop training videos and a one-day simulation workshop to assist in broadening the reach of this very valuable assessment tool which is now known internationally.  Kelly has presented this work at a number of conferences, as well as co-authoring publications on Closed Neural Tube Defects, the validation of the Community Balance and Mobility Scale for use in pediatrics, and the CMA.

Over the past 29 years, Kelly has participated in many different organizational initiatives and has enjoyed many opportunities to further develop professionally.  Some of these opportunities have included working as Professional Practice Leader for Physiotherapy, teaching at the Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar, and with a Status-Only Lecturer Appointment from the University of Toronto, she was the Centre Coordinator for Clinical Education for PT students for many years. 

In 2012, with the support of Holland Bloorview, she completed a Master’s of Rehabilitation Science through McMaster University.  She continues to be an instructor for the online modular course, Physiotherapy Practice within the Canadian Health Care Context, through the University of Toronto Bridging Program. Kelly has been involved on various committees of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario and is presently a Quality Assurance Assessor for the College.  Being heavily involved in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Toronto since the early 1980’s, Kelly has had the pleasure of sharing her passion for the profession of physiotherapy with a very large number of students, including her daughter Emily, who graduated from the Queens University Physical Therapy program in 2019 and has now begun her career in this wonderful profession.

Congratulations on your retirement, Kelly!