Retrieved from the Queen's University website.

The School of Rehabilitation Therapy was established in 1967 to meet the needs of a growing population and expansions in health care facilities. Two semi-independent, yet intimately connected, Divisions within the School were created: Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. The School was administered through the Faculty of Medicine with its first Director, Dr. David Symington, who was also the Head of Rehabilitation Medicine within the university affiliated hospitals.


The first programs offered by the School were three year diploma programs, with the understanding and approval of the university Senate that ultimately the programs should change to four year degree (BSc) programs. Initially housed

in temporary facilities, with the appointment of the second Director, Dr. William Forrest in 1972 it moved to its present location in the Louise D Acton Building, at that time owned by the Kingston General Hospital.
In 1972 the first students were admitted into the newly created continuous four year degree programs. Students with a diploma and graduates from other Canadian or foreign diploma programs were allowed to upgrade their diploma qualification by completing the requirements for their baccalaureate degree. At this time the affiliation of the School within the Faculty of Medicine was ill-defined. With the appointment of Professor Barrie Pickles, its third Director and first Physical Therapist to hold this position, the School’s position was clearly defined within the Faculty of Medicine and members of faculty became members of the Faculty Board, the ruling body of the Faculty of Medicine.

In 1984 Dr. Malcolm Peat was appointed as Director of the School. Two significant changes came about during his terms of office. First, in 1988 the graduate program leading to an MSc in rehabilitation was approved and accepted its first students. Noteworthy is the fact that the graduate programs in Rehabilitation Science are offered by the School as a whole, not by the professional programs, so that faculty from both programs and those with cross-appointments from other university departments, participate. Second, there was an expansion in international involvement in the field of Community Based Rehabilitation, culminating in the creation of a Centre of Excellence supported by the Canadian International Development Agency: The International Centre for the Advancement of Community Based Rehabilitation. Many faculty members in both programs participate in these endeavours.

In July 1998 a new Faculty of Health Sciences was formed incorporating the Schools of Nursing, Rehabilitation Therapy and Medicine including the basic science departments. Dr. Barry Smith became the first Dean. Dr. Sandra Olney was appointed Director of the School and Associate Dean of Health Sciences in 1998. The organisational structure of the School was changed, forming three Programs: The Undergraduate Program in Occupational Therapy, the Undergraduate Program in Physical Therapy, and the Graduate Program in Rehabilitation Science, each headed by a Program Chair.

The admission criteria for the undergraduate programs changed in September 1997. A minimum of one year of university education with specific pre-requisites was required for admission. New three year curricula were introduced in September 1999. The Ph.D. program in Rehabilitation Science was implemented in September 2000.

In 2003 approval was granted for master’s level professional programs (MSc OT and MSc PT) to replace baccalaureate program. The last year of entry to the undergraduate programs was 2003, with entry to the master’s level programs beginning in 2004. Dr. Olney completed her second term as Associate Dean, Health Sciences and Director, School of Rehabilitation Therapy in June 2006 and Dr. Elsie Culham was appointed to this position in February 2007. As is evident from this brief history of, the field of rehabilitation has grown by leaps and bounds and the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen’s University continues to lead the way.