Golden Hands Award Winner – Lenerdene Levesque – 2019

Lenerdene Levesque Golden Hands Presentation | June 8, 2019


Lenerdene Levesque - 2019 Golden Hands Award WinnerAs you all know, the Golden Hands Award is a prestigious award, this year being presented to Lenerdene Levesque. Lenerdene epitomizes the qualities of exceptional clinician, educator, and mentor that David Lamb stood for. She has demonstrated a tireless continued commitment to the Canadian physiotherapy profession and specifically the Orthopaedic Division throughout her career and continues at this today with no signs of slowing up.

Lenerdene graduated from Queen’s University in 1979. She initially worked in orthopaedics in the public sector before moving into her private practice in Ottawa. Lenerdene completed the Advanced Certificate in Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy and became an FCAMPT in 1993.

There were no instructors for the Ortho Division in Ottawa at that time and Lenerdene quickly filled that void and has been delivering exceptional high-quality Levels Courses since 1996. She is an extremely innovative instructor, always trying new formats to deliver her well-researched information, often with a case-based scenario to allow for the much-needed clinical reasoning and the application to practice that students love. She is an excellent instructor, adept at taking complicated concepts and organizing them into the basic logical steps to assist participants in grasping the required knowledge. Lenerdene is a supportive instructor, encouraging students to be interactive at all times, allowing students to feel comfortable to ask any questions without feeling inadequate. Lenerdene is always passionate about the clinical reasoning process involved in utilizing any skill but specifically undertook a Delphi research project at Western University to look at expert opinion consensus regarding the clinical indicators for lumbar spine manipulation. One of many research projects that she has spearheaded with others.

Lenerdene is truly a devoted lifelong learner. She enrolled in the inaugural Masters of Clinical Science in Manipulative Physiotherapy at Western University graduating in 2009. From there Lenerdene’s career exploded along a new path. She is passionate about evidence in practice and knowledge translation. She remained involved with the Western Program developing and facilitating a number of on-line learning modules as well as instructing during the on-site sessions. She has also co-supervised many research projects conducted in that program which has led to several poster and platform presentations nationally and internationally as well as publications. She has co-authored 2 textbook chapters on therapeutic exercise for the lower quadrant and low back pain. Lenerdene is also an important contributor to the recently established UBC post professional GCOMPT program, as an instructor for 3 exceptional and innovative on-line modules. Lenerdene assisted in the development of the Introduction to Clinical Research on-line course, now required content for the levels program and has continued as an instructor/facilitator. She is an amazing facilitator with these on-line learning platforms; leading students to reach deeper with her probing questions and insights into the literature. As per Jackie Sadi’s nomination: “her involvement with Western and eventually with the IFOMPT standards committee has raised her profile as a “clinician-researcher” around the world. Lenerdene has taught within the Western program for over 10 years and her teaching rankings are at the highest possible level. The student’s love her gregarious teaching style and especially her ability to incorporate evidence into clinical practice. Lenerdene has also been involved in at least 6-7 years’ worth of research projects for the MClSc students and has provided topics that are meaningful for clinicians.” And further: “On a personal note, I feel fortunate to have Lenerdene as a friend and colleague. Her love of learning and helping other physiotherapists has pushed me to be a better clinician and teacher. Her fearless desire to take on new tasks in the face of uncertainly is admirable and infectious.”

As well as being a highly respected Senior Instructor for the Orthopaedic Division, Lenerdene became an Examiner in 2000 and then Chief Examiner in 2010 and is currently the Chair of that group. Co-ordinating a team of national Type A personality leaders is no mean feat (I know, I have been there!). As stated in Scott Whitmore’s supporting letter: “Not an easy task and she does it with grace, poise and respect. This is a very exciting and challenging time for our system and Lenerdene is at the forefront of driving change and organizing our system to be the best it can be. Although she could apply those skills to her computer desktop. Have you seen how many files are randomly spread out on the opening page?” Also from Scott: “I can honestly say that the OPD education system would not be where it is today without her involvement on so many levels. Thank you Lenerdene for everything that you do!” She has also been involved in the examination process of the OD directed assistance in developing IFOMPT certification in France.

In the clinic, Lenerdene is an outstanding physiotherapist. She is a devoted advocate of the biophychosocial model and weaves this into every step of her clinical reasoning process. She continues to attend courses to further develop her skills as a clinician and widen her available tools of practice. She blends manual techniques with specific therapeutic exercise and education, and is always an active listener with her patients, truly applying the concept of evidence-informed practice.

Likely because of this expertise, she is also an exceptional mentor. Lenerdene has selflessly given so much of her time to the development of many young physiotherapists. She quite literally does not know how to say no, and our profession is that much better off for that. In her nomination letter, Amy Fahlman said this of Lenerdene: Even in the longest mentoring marathons, where everyone is physically and mentally exhausted, she maintained her poise. There just aren’t enough positive adjectives to describe her.  She is honest, caring, generous, and approachable. Her laugh is contagious; her positive energy uplifting. She was never intimidating, despite her massive career success. She is an absolute joy to be with both professionally and personally, and I always look forward to spending time with her.

Lenerdene’s list of committee involvement over the years as well as currently would make anyone tired! Added to those already mentioned, Lenerdene has also served on: Standardized Manuals Committee (and is hugely involved in the current revamp of the upcoming ebook manuals), Education Committee and Chair of the National Capital Unit, ? CAMPT. On the international scene, Lenerdene was appointed to the IFOMPT Standards Committee in 2012 and serves as a valued member of that group, continuing to bolster Canada’s excellent reputation in orthopaedics abroad.

I first met Lenerdene 44 years ago during frosh week at Queen’s University where we quickly became lifelong friends, but important to this award, we have remained closely connected as physio colleagues over that time as well. I will never forget her energy, engaging personality and enthusiasm that was as infectious then as it continues to be today.

What are some of the other adjectives we could use to describe Lenerdene Levesque as an instructor, mentor, examiner, chief examiner? I recently asked this question of the group of examiners at the Intermediate Exams in Vancouver and this was the response: Passionate, enthusiastic & energetic were repeated across the board. Caring, dedicated, devoted were right up there as well. And definitely a feeling of fun – Lenerdene is often right in the center of the party!

I would say that at one point in our careers I was a mentor to Lenerdene as she began her journey as an instructor and examiner. But now she is as much my mentor and I appreciate how she is always ready to share her vast knowledge, her ability to navigate the literature and her growing network of international colleagues to assist in answering any clinical and teaching question I pose to her.

Dave Walton summarizes the big picture in his letter of support; “ Her fingerprints can be found across MT training in Canada, through her work with OD and co-creation of earlier level manuals, to her clinical mentorship, presentations at large national and international conferences, to her ability to role model for novice clinicians. She possesses all of the qualities and traits you would want in a recipient of the Golden Hands award, and will be an excellent ambassador for manual therapy in Canada as an award winner.”

Quoting directly from the nomination form, the Golden Hands Award of the National Orthopaedic Division is given in honour of David Lamb to an exceptional orthopaedic physiotherapist that exemplifies the commitment to our profession in manual therapy, education, mentorship and research. Lenerdene Levesque is this physiotherapist and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the honour of receiving this award. We should use this opportunity to acknowledge and thank her for her extensive and ongoing contributions to the Orthopaedic Division on the provincial, national and international scene. Lenerdene, please come forward and receive your well-deserved Golden Hands Award.


Carol Kennedy
BScPT, MClSc (manip), FCAMPT, Clinical Specialist (MSK)
Partner Treloar Physiotherapy Clinic
Lead Instructor | Program Co-ordinator GCOMPT
Clinical Instructor | Faculty of Medicine | Department of Physical Therapy
The University of British Columbia | Vancouver Campus