Golden Hands Award Winner – Elaine Maheu – 2012

The Golden Hands Award of the National Orthopaedic Division is given in honour of the late David Lamb, one of my mentors and one of the pillars on which the Canadian Academy of Manipulative Therapy was built. David was a world-renowned manual therapist, serving as a member of the Standards Committee for IFOMPT between 1972 and 1976 and was its Chair from 1976 to 1990. He lectured extensively and conducted courses on all levels of manual therapy across the globe. The Golden Hands Award is given to an exceptional orthopaedic physiotherapist that exemplifies the commitment to our profession in manual therapy, education, mentorship and research. I am proud to announce that this year`s recipient is my friend and business partner, Elaine Maheu.

Doreen Killens:

Elaine & I go back many years (I won’t tell you how many!) since our days at McGill University. She struck me as smart and hard working but mostly she had a great sense of humor, and what stands out for me most through the years in physio school is the laughter we shared as a group, mostly initiated by Elaine. We kept in touch during the early years after we had finished our schooling and I remember when I had my first inkling that Elaine was going to be a hard act to follow – I remember in particular one phone call we had, where we caught up on each other’s news – Elaine had not only started her manual therapy courses in the days where they were hard to come by, but she was also taking courses in translation as well as finding time to train for a marathon!! This was a clue of things to come as Elaine pursued her post-grad education in Australia, studying with Geoff Maitland in Adelaide. Again Elaine worked hard, but a glass of white wine at the end of the day helped her through the long hours of study. Needless to say she was first in her class! When she came back to Montreal, she was keen to apply her new skills and I had the opportunity to work with her in the same private clinic after I had taken a long course in Toronto. This was a real eye-opener for me as I got to see another side of Elaine – her unfettered drive to excel at whatever she put her mind to. Ultimately, we realized that we worked well together and decided to open up our own clinic in 1991 – 21 years later it’s still going strong! I am not the only one to recognize Elaine’s exceptional qualities. As Carol Kennedy so well describes,

Carol Kennedy:

Elaine epitomizes the qualities of exceptional clinician, educator, and mentor that David Lamb stood for. She has demonstrated a continued commitment to the Canadian physiotherapy profession and specifically the Orthopaedic Division throughout her career and continues to today.

Elaine is an exceptional clinician. She integrates her manual therapy with exercise and needling to treat her caseload of complex patients. Elaine also has been a long term mentor to many physiotherapists; clinicians and instructors as well as examiners.

Elaine is a life-long learner as she continues to seek opportunities to learn new concepts and skills. She stays current by regularly attending courses and conferences and shares this acquired information with other practitioners through her own instructing and mentoring. She also organizes an extensive course education schedule through her clinic and brings in well-known instructors from around the world to teach in Montreal.

Elaine has been a tireless worker for the orthopaedic division, as President of the Quebec Section, as course organizer and instructor for the Manual Therapy Level System in Quebec, as Examiner and then Chief Examiner, and as a member of the Manual Therapy Steering Committee. She also was extremely involved in the court test case challenging the right for physiotherapists to practise manipulation in Quebec. Elaine also has represented Canada and the Orthopaedic Division on the international scene. As a qualified instructor with the International Maitland Teacher Association, she has taught extensively in Europe. She was also a Canadian representative to IFOMPT and on the Executive of IFOMPT for 4 years.

Elaine has the ability to see issues from multiple angles. She is a pleasure to work with on a committee as she is always prepared and contributes thoughtfully as a team member. Elaine has been instrumental in the initial and ongoing development of the clinical reasoning portion of the national Manual Therapy Exams. She has integrated the leading edge concepts into the case history booklet questions, allowing us to stay in line with the current best practice in the clinical reasoning models.

Erl Pettman:

I first met Elaine during her Ortho Div exam when Dave Lamb and I were examiners in Toronto. Her performance during this exam made David Lamb turn to me and say, “Erl, I think it’s time for us to retire”. Her exemplary performance during this examination was simply a prelude to what would be her future within Orthopaedic Manual Therapy in Canada. My professional association with Elaine has always left me with a sense of reverence. She is an excellent teacher and mentor within the Canadian OMT community. She has been, and still is, an integral force that united Anglophone and Francophone aspects of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association towards a common professional goal. As a person who helped develop this award, as one who presented the very first award, and as one who has humbly accepted this award I can certainly recommend and endorse that Elaine Maheu be the next recipient of the David Lamb ‘Golden Hands’ award.

Bev Padfield:

I enthusiastically offer this letter in support of Elaine Maheu’s consideration for the 2012 Golden Hands Award. For three decades Elaine has been a proponent of manual therapy both in Canada and internationally. More recently, Elaine was invited to speak at a Forum on Manual Therapy in Paris and the French are so impressed with the Canadian post-graduate program that they have asked the Orthopaedic Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association if the Québec teachers could start teaching the Canadian manual therapy program in France as of 2012. Elaine is presently leading the group of instructors that has begun the implementation of this program. This is a true example of Elaine’s accumulation of work over the last several years to promote the Canadian system and evidence based practice world-wide.

Diane Lee:

I have known Elaine Maheu for many years now through initially our experiences as examiners and then chief examiners of the Orthopaedic Division of CPA. I was immediately struck by her strong organizational skills and ability to lead a highly complex group of chiefs! These same skills are evident time and time again through the many courses & conferences she has co-ordinated and facilitated for her clinic, her province and now her country. There seems to be no task too big for her to take on and to make appear seamless to the participant.

Elaine is also an inspirational educator and clinician, always open to novel or new approaches and considerate of the available science but not held captive to it. As a Maitland trained manual therapist she takes one of the most thorough subjective examinations I’ve ever heard and ‘hears the patient’s story’ incredibly well. She uses her extensive clinical expertise to choose the best treatment approach for her patients while considering any available scientific evidence and has therefore been an evidence-based clinician long before the term was popular or coined.

She is a role model for her patients, staff and colleagues as she lives the life she advocates, running, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, cycling, hiking – you name it, she does it and well. She is passionate about all she does, whether in work or play.

Danielle Cousineau:

Élaine Maheu is an exceptional person, a natural born leader who shaped the practice of orthopaedic physiotherapy in Québec because of her vision and her actions. To support the francophone community, Élaine committed herself to bridge the “cultural” gap by making available for Quebecers the best of the post-graduate education that was available throughout the world. Through her vast network, and through her personal contacts, she would identify key specialists, lecturers, clinicians, and convince them to come to Québec, even from very far away. She was convinced that language should not be a barrier.

« Au moment où la communauté francophone des physiothérapeutes avait peu de contact avec le monde de la physiothérapie au-delà du Québec, Élaine, quant à elle, décidait d’explorer de nouvelles avenues. Forte de ses expériences canadiennes et australiennes, Élaine s’impliqua à réduire cet écart culturel en mettant sur pied des formations post-graduées de qualité, impliquant des cliniciens/chercheurs chevronnés du Québec et d’ailleurs dans le monde. Pour elle, la langue ne sera pas une barrière infranchissable à partir du moment où nous aurions rencontré ces maîtres cliniques. Comment s’y prit-elle? Il faut voir Élaine en mode promotionnel pour comprendre que personne ne peut résister ni à son charme ni à sa détermination. Pour elle, rien n’est impossible, aucun rêve inatteignable à force d’efforts. Ayant foi en la diversité québécoise, elle a toujours choisi de faire rayonner le Québec auprès du Canada et maintenant du monde entier en co-présidant le congrès international, IFOMPT 2012. »

As you can see from these pictures, Elaine has been to many conferences, including this infamous one in Colorado Springs. As well she has attended a number of IFOMPT congresses. She was determined that the IFOMPT community experience the wonders of this part of the world. It took her 3 times until she finally succeeded to have IFOMPT hosted in Québec City, the culmination of this extra-ordinarily successful week.

Elaine, these are but a few examples of testimonials from your colleagues, who were more than happy to endorse your nomination for this prestigious award. I am so proud of what you have accomplished and I’m honoured to present you with this award. To quote Diane, “Elaine is a gift to Canadian physiotherapy and highly deserving of the David Lamb Memorial Golden Hands award – David loved passionate, organized and highly intelligent physios – the award is indeed fitting and timely.”