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Power Up newsletter by ACRM Technology Networking Group



Member Spotlight: Dr. Rosalie Wang


Lynne Gauthier imagePlease tell us about your professional background.

I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. My first job was working with older adults in long-term residential care at the university hospital. I already knew before I graduated that I wanted to work with older adults. My desire to travel led me to working as an Occupational Therapist in London, UK. Over 18 months, I worked and I visited many countries, mostly in Europe, but also to Egypt. During my time in London, I worked in community care and subacute stroke and older adult units. I returned to Vancouver and worked in intermediate and long-term residential care and acute care before moving to Toronto for graduate studies.

I completed my doctoral studies in Rehabilitation Sciences in collaboration with Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. At that time, it was the only program in Canada that enabled me as an Occupational Therapist to enroll jointly in an engineering program.


What inspired you to explore the applications of technology?

As an Occupational Therapist, many of the clients I worked with required the long-term use of wheelchairs and assistive aids in the home. I always felt that technology, especially advanced technology, had so much potential to help people to be more independent and safer in their daily activities. I felt strongly that as Occupational Therapists we could do a lot more with technological interventions and help more people to achieve their goals. I also felt that many of these interventions were not created yet. With those ideas, I started my graduate school program on a project to look at how advanced technologies could help long-term care residents with physical and cognitive impairments operate powered wheelchairs safely and independently. It was the perfect project for my background and interests.


What interested you in the ACRM Technology Networking Group?

ACRM in general is a vibrant and welcoming community. I noticed that the first time I attended a conference and participated in some of the networking meetings. The conflict of course is trying to limit the groups you become involved in because there are so many amazing groups doing very exciting and impactful activities. Balancing these activities with the demands of your day job and usual life can be hard at times. The Technology Networking Group is clearly in my area of interest and I have really enjoyed getting to know the members over the years. I look forward to helping to create more content and networking activities.


Please tell us about your involvement in technology fields or projects?

In my current role as an Assistant Professor, my main role is conducting research and then teaching in the Masters of Occupational Therapy program. My research focuses on the development and evaluation of technology to enable daily activity participation and social inclusion of older adults. I have a strong interest in methodologies for development, evaluation, and implementation of technology-based interventions in disability and rehabilitation. I also I co-led a national project on enhancing equitable access to assistive technologies in Canada.


What advice would you give to any healthcare professional who wants to be more involved in technology?

Definitely networking! Participate and volunteer in professional organizations such as ACRM and others that have members involved in the technology areas in which you are interested. While you can learn about the latest in research and practice at conferences, it’s through chatting with others that you really get to hear about other people’s experiences, how they navigated their paths, and the opportunities they had or created for themselves to get to where they are.


Outside of professional activities, what hobbies do you enjoy?

My husband and I have a little Havanese dog named Emmy. She is named after Emmy Noether who was a brilliant mathematician. Our Emmy is the sweetest and goofiest little dog. I love teaching her tricks because she’s very attentive and really wants to make you happy.