Golden Hands Award Winner – Carol Kennedy – 2015

Lenerdene Levesque

It is hard to imagine a more deserving recipient of the Golden Hands Award than our friend and colleague Carol Kennedy. I have known Carol for close to 40 years – we met at Queen’s and quickly became best friends. We sat in the back row in class – I guess we were either too shy or didn’t want to look “too nerdy”, even though we were….Carol always had a vision of being a manipulative therapist and we would practice pure rotatory AA manipulations on the kitchen floor thrusting through the TMJ – no wonder her jaw clicks now all the time…Carol is a lifelong learner and once she graduated went on to do the 3 month course in 1982 with Cliff Fowler, Diane Lee and Erl Pettman. Her manual therapy career took off. She had a vision and very quickly was teaching nationally and internationally, mentoring and involved in the Orthopaedic Division. She was probably the youngest IFOMPT rep – even before we knew what IFOMPT stood for but that was okay as she convinced some of us to follow her to Cambridge England for the IFOMPT conference in 1988!

She became an examiner, then Chief Examiner for the Orthopaedic Division in the 90’s. As Chair of the chief examiners group for the last 6 years she has led its work which not only oversees our manipulative therapy examinations but acts in countless ‘behind the scenes ways’ as an advisory group for manual therapy education and practice.

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent”. —Douglas MacArthur

Carol has the attributes of a transformational leader and does it quietly and with the greatest respect for those around her. She has the ability to inspire and motivate those around her to reach a shared vision. She has always been supportive of others – I don’t think that she has ever missed one presentation at a symposium!! Now that is dedication to the profession. She has aspired to be the one of the best and is constantly challenging herself. Always a student as well as the teacher/mentor, Carol completed her MSlSc from the University of Western Ontario in 2010. In 2012 she was among the first physiotherapists in Canada to successfully complete the CPA specialization program in musculoskeletal physiotherapy and as an assessor is paving the way for others.

Provincially and nationally Carol has been a regular speaker and presenter at national symposia and has developed a relevant and sought after series of practical, evidence based courses on Cervical Exercise, Cervicogenic Headache and the Contribution of the Cervical spine to Concussion Symptoms. She was recognized by the Physiotherapy Association of BC with an award of excellence for Clinical Contribution in 2005. During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics she was honoured to be involved as a speaker at the Medical Symposium and as a Clinical Specialist for the Athletes’ Physiotherapy Clinic. Internationally, she is known as an author for her chapters on Cervical Exercise in Hall and Brody; Therapeutic Exercise, Moving Toward Function and Therapeutic exercise for mechanical neck pain in Fernandez and Huijbregts; Neck and Arm Pain.

Jan Lowcock

Closer to home in Vancouver, Carol has contributed to manual therapy practice as a partner in Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic. Her leadership is evident daily as she mentors and advises the newly minted entry level practitioners, and she is always a supportive sounding board for us more seasoned ones. For Penny Galpin, a Queen’s classmate, and colleague of 16 years,” Carol is a mentor and friend who is very deserving of this award. She has set the bar high for those of us who admire and respect her work ethic and yet presents herself as an equal “.

In an ongoing commitment to the mentorship component of the Orthopaedic Division’s Diploma, Carol tirelessly offers her time and expertise to formally mentor others. She has been a valued instructor at UBC and for the Orthopaedic Division, admired for her clarity, attention to detail and her passion for practice, so much so that she gets asked frequently for guest lectures. It’s high praise when it comes from the students.

We reached out to several colleagues across the physiotherapy “generations” in our nomination of Carol. Here are their replies;

From Cliff Fowler, founding father of manual therapy education in Canada

“I wish to add my name to other therapists who have submitted Carol Kennedys name for the prestigious 2015 Memorial David Lamb Golden Hands award.

I first met Carol in the early 1980s during her initial 3 month course in manual therapy, tutored by Diane Lee with many guest lecturers. This particular course had some of the greatest talent that propelled later Canadian manual therapy to be recognized by IFOMT as a world leader.

Carol has achieved over the last thirty years incredible skills in Teaching, Examining, and Clinical expertise both nationally and internationally on the cervical spine.

In Canada she has taught and examined at every level of the national system.

After achieving all this she remains ready at any time to give specialized help to all those that ask.”

From Curtis Wong, Carol’s partner at Treloar Physiotherapy

“Carol has been an amazing mentor and colleague throughout my eleven years at Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic. She has given so much of her time to teach me through numerous study groups and discussion of specific cases. She always demonstrates patience and kindness while mentoring, which makes me feel that I can approach her with any sort of question. She has also spent time allowing me to shadow her, and vice versa, which has allowed me to see her critique my technique on real clients. This has turned into a working relationship where we often co-treat clients, and I feel that there is no greater accomplishment as a physiotherapist than to help someone alongside Carol.”

From Deb Treloar, colleague, business partner and friend

“Carol’s tireless years of dedication to supporting and educating orthopaedic physiotherapists to become the best they can has been phenomenal. She has helped hundreds of physiotherapists improve their skill and understanding so they are better able to help the patients under their care. She continues her education today with the same enthusiasm as when I met her 33 years ago. She represents all the characteristics that we aspire to as professionals in that she is dedicated, fair, skilled, compassionate and caring in all that she does.”

In her university days, Carol was a competitive swimmer whose strong shoulders propelled her to excel in the butterfly. Those shoulders are ones that we have come to rely on for advancement of our clinical thinking, knowledge and skills and as ones to lean on for advice and wise counsel. Carol and I became teaching partners when we decided that we were both a bit nervous about teaching manipulation courses on our own. It was better together, we had fun and she always had my back.

If we could speak for her many patients, they would vouch for her skill, creativity and dogged determination to help them get just a little bit better, no matter how difficult their situation.

Final words to Cliff Fowler a close friend of David Lamb in whose memory this award is made: “If David is looking down from above he would smile and say Well done!!!! I can think of no one at present who deserves my award more.”