Margo Paterson, award-winning professor and occupational therapist
Margo Paterson has always wanted to help people, and that simple but profound goal has guided her throughout her career as an occupational therapist and professor in Queen’s School of Rehabilitation Therapy.
“I’ve made a lifetime commitment to working with people toward a better life,” says Dr. Paterson, who began teaching at Queen’s in 1988. “I enjoy helping people become more independent, care for themselves, and feel better about themselves.”
This patient-focused approach, inherent in occupational therapy, works best in a collaborative environment, something Dr. Paterson has been consistently developing at Queen’s and at the provincial, national and international levels. On campus, she is the director of the Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice (OIPEP), which provides opportunities for collaboration among medical, nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy students. The students work together and learn about each other’s roles to provide more comprehensive, holistic care.
Dr. Paterson believes in strong mentorship for students – her door is always open and she delights in seeing her students take what they’ve learned at Queen’s out into the world.
“It is very gratifying to see our students’ development and their movement into leadership roles,” Dr. Paterson says. “They will, without a doubt, go out and change the world.”
At OIPEP, Dr. Paterson has worked with colleagues across campus to develop an intensive, innovative “Professionals in Rural Practice” course that includes a weekend component in Prince Edward County. Off-campus, Dr. Paterson plays an important role in a national partnership of universities. The consortium will represent North America in a global initiative aimed at transforming the way healthcare professionals are educated worldwide and promoting collaborative leadership.
Dr. Paterson was recently honoured by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, receiving the 2012 Award for Leadership in Occupational Therapy.