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Meet A Pedorthist

Meet a Pedorthist – Kevin Fraser

Kevin Fraser, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

When Kevin Fraser was growing up in Shelburne, Ontario, hockey was a big part of his life and it eventually led him to a career in pedorthics.

He grew up playing hockey and at the age of 17 sustained a tendon rupture in his left ankle that required surgical repair, followed by extensive physiotherapy and the use of an ankle-foot orthosis. This was his introduction to orthotics and the pedorthic profession.

Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in Health and Society at York University, and his Orthotics and Prosthetics Technician diploma at George Brown College.

He later received his C. Ped Tech (C) and the following year, his C. Ped (C). He trained as a pedorthic intern before joining a foot care team at a Toronto hospital where he now practices as a Certified Pedorthist – specializing in high-risk feet, traumatic injuries and partial foot amputations.

Kevin also shares his expertise with students in the classroom. He joined the faculty at George Brown College where he works as a professor in the Orthotics and Prothetics Programs and also did a stint with the faculty at Western University as a course instructor in the post-degree diploma in Pedorthics.

Kevin says in addition to teaching, he still maintains a full patient load at the hospital – both jobs that he feels very passionate about.

“Being based out of Canada’s largest trauma hospital, I see a great variety of complex and interesting cases. Every day is different,” he says, adding that he also enjoys working with a wide range of medical specialists including orthopeadic and plastic surgeons, nurses, orthotists, and prosthetists.

Kevin says his career has allowed him to make a difference in patients’ lives – and, future pedorthists.

The most rewarding part of his work is seeing the improvement that his treatment makes in the quality and comfort of his patients’ lives, and teaching the next generation of pedorthists, orthotists, and prosthetists.

In his spare time, Kevin plays for the hospital men’s hockey team and is an avid golfer. Additionally, he is involved in the Pedorthic Association of Canada (PAC) – having served in a variety of positions, including President of PAC.


Meet a Pedorthist – Jordanna Jones

Jordanna Jones, C. Ped (C)

Jordanna Jones had goals of becoming a physiotherapist – but those plans changed when her guidance counselor suggested volunteering with a pedorthist at the University of Western Ontario (UWO).

“I went into kinesiology at Western, planning on a physiotherapy career,” explains Jordanna. “But as I went through school and volunteered with physios, I wanted to look at other options.”  When she received her placement with a Certified Pedorthist, she realized that the pedorthic profession was the perfect fit.

Jordanna received her pedorthic certification in 2005 and continued working at the clinic, where she completed her placements for the UWO program. She became clinic manager a few years later, while also teaching in Western’s pedorthic program.

Jordanna says that she enjoys teaching students – and finds that she often learns new things as an instructor at Western.  “I have found throughout my career that I love learning and teaching,” she says. “There’s no better way to do both than instruct in the program, because with new students every year, there are always new questions and ideas – so I get to learn from them as well!”

After 14 years in the business, Jordanna has also trained about 20 students on the job.

In addition to helping students prepare for their future as pedorthists, Jordanna says the most rewarding part of her work has been helping her patients.  “[I enjoy] helping people who come in with pain, and getting them back to their activities – especially when it’s a really big deal in their life,” she says. “That’s why I love this job.”

Jordanna says that when she’s not teaching at Western or managing three clinics, she can be found spending time with her family. Her eldest son is a brown belt in karate, so she says they spend a lot of time at the dojo.


Meet a Pedorthist – Kathrine Simpson

Kathrine Simpson, C. Ped (C)

Kathrine Simpson never thought she would open her own clinic. In fact, she says she would have laughed at the thought.

The Pedorthist and business owner started her career as a young adult, volunteering with special needs children at a children’s centre in Windsor. That is where she discovered hydrotherapy and rehabilitation.

Kathrine first graduated with an honour’s degree in Human Kinetics from the University Of Windsor.

Upon graduating, she worked as a registered kinesiologist at Windsor Regional Hospital – largely in hydrotherapy. It was exactly where she wanted to be so early in her career. However, the hospital decided to discontinue its hydrotherapy pool, and Kathrine wasn’t sure of her next career move.

She decided to look into the University of Western Ontario’s Diploma in Pedorthics program.

“It was a no brainer,” Kathrine says, “I could keep my family home, and pursue something I knew there was a demand.”

When she finished the program, she couldn’t find a job locally so she pursued one of her other passions – teaching.

“I moved forward to teach physiotherapy assistant courses at the college, and worked in a private therapy running hydrotherapy sessions,” says Kathrine. A couple years later, she decided to finish what she started in Pedorthics.

When she received her C. Ped (C), she was offered part time work for a local franchise in Windsor. She had been in that position for three years when a relative unexpectedly reached out and asked if she would consider joining their medical team.

At this time, Kathrine’s husband was also looking for a change. He had spent the last 20 years traveling across North America for work. It was the opportunity that her family needed, and soon she has incorporated her own orthotics and footwear business.

Currently, she is the clinic’s pedorthist and also has a receptionist and a foot care nurse on staff.

“I envision my clinic to be an excellent resource centre for potential students interested in rehabilitation or Pedorthics,” Kathrine says.

When she’s not busy running her clinic, Kathrine enjoys spending time with her family – including golfing, kayaking, bike riding and mini weekend getaways.


Meet a Pedorthist – Jeff Grimshaw

Jeff Grimshaw, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Jeff Grimshaw never planned to be a pedorthist.  In fact, he admits that he had never heard of the profession until he received his Kinesiology degree from Brock University. He was studying at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College and looking for work to save tuition money.

That’s when he came across a pedorthic position on the Ontario Kinesiology Association’s website. “I knew I wanted to pursue a career in health, working in a clinical setting,” says Jeff. After interviewing for the job, he knew pedorthics was a field he wanted to pursue.

“I realized the pedorthic position offered exactly what I was looking for – a clinical role, evaluating biomechanics and anatomy – with the added benefit of being able to play with tools!” Jeff says. “In this position, I had the opportunity to build and create using plaster, heavy duty grinders and other tools, which I thought would be fun!”

In May 2008, Jeff received his C. Ped (C) certification. After a decade in the field, Jeff is looking forward to many more years ahead. “What I love most about the job is improving others’ health and quality of life by designing and building orthotics and shoe modifications.” He also finds the job very rewarding. “It’s rewarding to hear a patient tell me that I have helped them in some way.”

In addition, Jeff is optimistic about bringing more technology into the pedorthic field, and feels that pedorthics has an exciting future ahead.  “I am quite enthused by the prospect of being able to validate and quantify the role that orthotics play in health management,” he says.

Jeff also has some advice for new pedorthists who would like to achieve a successful career: “Technical training is important. It makes all the difference in being able to execute our recommendations. Always keep learning. Also, communication – in particular, helping patients understand orthotics as a service and not strictly as a product. That way, rapport is established and patients are comfortable with maintaining contact with their clinician,” he says.

When he’s not busy with his clinical work or his involvement with PAC, Jeff enjoys reading and spending time with family and friends. He can often be found on the soccer field or basketball court.

 

 

 


Meet a Pedorthist – Isabelle Lavallée

Isabelle Lavallée, C. Ped (C)

Isabelle Lavallée was only in high school when she was introduced to the pedorthic profession.

She was a volleyball player in high school in her hometown of Joliette, Quebec, and spent 15 hours a week playing and practicing on the court. When she developed knee problems as a result of the sport, she decided to visit a pedorthist for help.

“I’d never heard of the profession before,” says Isabelle, adding that her experience inspired her to become a pedorthist herself. “I always wanted to work in the health profession. I like to help people, and being a pedorthist allows me to do that every day.”

Prior to receiving her certification, Isabelle earned her diploma from College Montmorency for Orthotics and Prosthetics, and for a few years worked with amputees.  As she started working more and more with foot orthotics, she decided to challenge herself further by taking the C. Ped (C) exam and becoming a Canadian Certified Pedorthist.

Since March 2006, she has been working at a sports medicine centre. “I am fortunate enough to work in close collaboration with sport medicine doctors, orthopedists, and physiotherapists.” This kind of collaboration is partly the reason why she remains passionate about her work.

“What I love best about my job is helping people to stay active with less or no pain,” Isabelle says, adding it’s particularly rewarding when her client base grows. “My greatest reward is when my patients refer their family and friends to me.”

Isabelle’s children have also inherited her love of sports and recreation, and in her spare time, she considers herself a soccer mom and volleyball mom who enjoys taking care of her family. In addition, she likes to read, and has continued pursuing her passion for staying active by playing golf, skating, and geocaching.


Meet a Pedorthist – Sharon Horan

Sharon Horan, C. Ped (C)

In 1995, one of Sharon Horan’s employees convinced her to attend the Pedorthic Association of Canada (PAC) annual conference in Ottawa. Little did she know that attending that conference would set her on a career path that would be both exciting and fulfilling.

At the conference, Sharon became immediately interested in becoming a pedorthist. Having graduated in 1987 from Dalhousie University with a degree in occupational therapy, Sharon was no stranger to the foot and ankle or to orthotics. Her first job as an OT was in rheumatology, where she was responsible for hand-splinting and foot orthotics.

During that Ottawa PAC event she felt that the speakers were fantastic, but it was the questions and commentary that came from the audience that made her realize there was so much she didn’t know, and it made her want to be more effective and improve her patients’ outcomes.

“I literally came home from that conference thinking, I need to be a part of this group,” Sharon said, adding that that’s when she decided to receive her C. Ped (C) designation, which she went on to receive in 1996.

“All these years later I remain clinically connected to patients. I love the impact that pedorthics makes on day-to-day function. Patients see results from our interventions so quickly after an orthotic is dispensed and that is so rewarding.

“I value immensely the continued learning offered through PAC, the professionalism of our industry because of both PAC and CPC [the College of Pedorthics of Canada], and the genuine camaraderie I feel from the great group of clinicians that practice pedorthics all across the country.

Sharon has remained committed to the profession, serving previously as the association’s president as well as chairing the College of Pedorthics of Canada. “One of the greatest honours in my professional life was receiving the Michael Van Vlack award from my pedorthic peers in 2018.”

Sharon is just as busy in her personal life as she is in her working life. In her spare time, she enjoys the great outdoors – hiking, pedal biking, fly fishing, skiing and snowmobiling. She has been very active in her own community as well, serving as past Chair of the St John’s Board of Trade and chairing a fundraising effort to successfully build a Family YCMA in St John’s.


Meet a Pedorthist – Peter Morcom

Peter Morcom, C. Ped (C)

Peter Morcom loves being able to help clients get back to their daily routines – no matter what their background or situation is.

“In pedorthics you get a wide variety in patients from professional athletes, to kids, to diabetics. It allows you to help many different people whether they need help with performance, or just be able to do their daily activities.”

As a native of Maple Ridge, Peter received his kinesiology degree from University of the Fraser Valley. When he graduated, he met two friends and Peter quickly saw that it would be great to work at that company.

Peter received his C. Ped (C) in May 2011. The certification allowed him to manage a clinic and be the main practising pedorthist.

Since then, he has become the director of pedorthics and helps train new pedorthists throughout the company. In his role he also plays a part in recruitment, retention and developing careers for pedorthists.

Peter says he enjoys pedorthics because it is a young profession that has lots of room for growth – which he says he felt he could help with. But he also loves working with different clients everyday.

“What I love most about the job is the variety of people I get to work with, and giving patients hope that they will be able to do the activities they love,” he says. “Many times, patients come in expecting the worst as they have been told they cannot run, play soccer, hike anymore. With use of orthotics, braces or footwear modifications we can allow them to keep doing those activities.”

He says the most rewarding part of his work has been watching new pedorthists pass their tests to become C. Ped (C)s, and practice in the field.

In his spare time, Peter enjoys being outdoors – including golfing, fly fishing, camping, and getting out on the river or in the canoe to go fishing.

He adds that he also enjoys being a PAC board member. “As a PAC board member, I think it is important for everyone to look at how that can help grow the pedorthic profession not only in their area, but in Canada,” Peter says.


Meet a Pedorthist – Johan Steenwyk

Johan Steenwyk, C. Ped (C), C. Ped MC

When Johan Steenwyk was 18 years old, he was still figuring out what he wanted to do for a living – but he always knew he wanted to help people. That’s when Johan looked into the family business, and decided to become an orthopedic shoemaker when living in his native Netherlands. There was a real need for orthopedic shoemakers there at the time.

Johan started apprenticing at Kemerink Orthopedie as part of a program that was subsidized by the Dutch Federation of Orthopedic Shoemakers. The eight-year program also required him to attend school one day a week in s’Hertogenbos, Holland.


Meet a Pedorthist – Jane Cromwell

Jane Cromwell, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Jane Cromwell has enjoyed a long, fulfilling career in pedorthics, 26 years in fact, but she hasn’t come this far completely on her own. “I couldn’t have gotten here without the help, guidance and knowledge of many fellow pedorthists whom I have worked with throughout my career,” she says.

Jane started out her pedorthic journey with a three-year apprenticeship, then worked her way up by becoming an American Certified Pedorthist, then a C. Ped Tech (C) and finally became certified as a C. Ped (C).


Meet a Pedorthist – Shannon Gordon

Shannon Gordon, C. Ped Tech (C), C. Ped (C)

Shannon Gordon never thought she would become a Pedorthist. In fact, she insists that she did not find the profession; rather the profession found her.

While working as a kinesiologist in a physio clinic in Calgary, she had a chance encounter with Sandy Connery, who was doing assessments for orthotics.

When Shannon asked Sandy how she could look at feet all day, Sandy replied, “I don’t look at them as feet, I look at them as three-dimensional objects—something is wrong, and I have to fix it!”


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