School of Rehabilitation Therapy Distinguished Alumni Award

The School of Rehabilitation Therapy Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes one graduate annually from each of the Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Rehabilitation Science, and Aging and Health programs who have made exceptional contributions to their chosen profession, field or community.  Recipients are presented with their awards at the School's annual Homecoming Event.

This award was established in 2013, thanks to the generous support of faculty member and Queen’s alumna, Diana Hopkins-Rosseel, MSc’92, and her husband, John Rosseel, BA’81. 


This award will be presented based on the graduate's exceptional contributions to their chosen profession, field, or community. Recipients will be recognized for their contributions in one of the following areas:

  • Distinguished themselves at home or abroad and made a difference to the well-being of others.
  • Provided leadership and/or advocacy within their chosen profession.
  • Demonstrated an ongoing commitment to the education of rehabilitation students and/or graduates. 
  • Advanced rehabilitation research and/or best practice.
  • Continued involvement with Queen's or the Queen's community. 

Submit a nomination

2023 Recipient

Dr Jaynie Yang (Physical Therapy)

  • PT

Jaynie Yang

2023 Recipient

Dr. Heidi Lauckner (Rehabilitation Sciences)

  • OT
  • MSc
  • PhD

Heidi Lauckner

2023 Recipient

Heather Colquhoun (Occupational Therapy)

  • OT

Heather Colquhoun

Dr. Jaynie Yang, PT’78

Jaynie Yang graduated in 1978 with a degree in Physical Therapy. After two years of clinical practice, her interest in the biomechanics of human walking led her to graduate work under the mentorship of Dr. David Winter at the University of Waterloo, where she obtained an MSc'82 and PhD'87 in Kinesiology.

Realizing that biomechanics alone was not enough to design effective interventions for walking in people with neurological injuries, she then studied under the mentorship of Dr. Richard Stein, Department of Physiology, University of Alberta, focusing on the neurophysiology of human walking.

She joined the Department of Physical Therapy, University of Alberta in 1990, and has remained there since. She has taught entry-level physical therapy students about human walking for over 30 years. Her research focuses on how the nervous system controls walking in people, and ways to retrain walking in individuals with neurological insults. She is best known for her work in using the stepping and crawling behaviour of infants to understand the neural control of human walking, and applying knowledge from preclinical studies to improve the rehabilitation of walking in clinical populations, including adults with spinal cord injury and children with perinatal brain injuries.

Dr. Heidi Lauckner, OT’95, MSc'05, PhD’10

After graduation in 1995, Heidi worked as an occupational therapist in Kingston, and the USA in the areas of community brain injury, long-term care, schools, and outpatient rehabilitation before joining Voluntary Services Overseas as a rehabilitation trainer in Namibia in southern Africa. Her overseas experience raised many questions about occupational therapists’ role in community development and brought her back to Queen’s for graduate studies almost a decade later.

Since 2008, Heidi has worked at Dalhousie University in Mi’Kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territories of the Mi’Kmaq People. There, she teaches, supports international fieldwork in the Masters of Science (MSc) in Occupational Therapy program, and chairs the new online MSc in Occupational Science program. She has continued her exploration of community approaches that promote belonging and participation using qualitative methods in areas such as age-friendly communities, newcomer resettlement, chronic conditions/mental health, and community leisure. Building on these projects and her interests in mindfulness and spirituality, Heidi is increasingly curious about potential connections between individual and collective change, embodiment, and decolonized ways of knowing. She continues to learn and ask lots of questions!

Dr. Heather Colquhoun OT’88

Heather graduated as an occupational therapist in 1988. After 16 years of working clinically across three provinces in Canada, Heather returned to graduate school and completed a PhD in 2011 at McMaster University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (2011-2014) and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto. 

Heather is an educator and a researcher. In her role as an educator, Heather teaches about assessment and research processes. As a researcher, Heather’s work is in the area of implementation science, or knowledge translation, and focuses on how to optimize the translation of research findings into routine healthcare practice. She studies differences between desired and actual healthcare delivery; system inefficiencies in delivering optimal care; and how best to design approaches to change healthcare delivery for the better. Heather has authored over 100 peer-reviewed publications informing best practices in healthcare delivery. Her work has contributed to the science of knowledge translation and has been cited more than 36,000 times.