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Future Think Virtual Summit for Physiotherapy in Canada

Future Think Virtual Summit for Physiotherapy in Canada

Future Think Virtual Summit for Physiotherapy in Canada

$10.00 - $75.00
May 26, 2021 - 10:30 (EDT)
300 minutes



Invitation to Canadian Physiotherapists:

To survive and thrive, physiotherapy must anticipate future societal trends, forces, and needs. This means thinking beyond short term strategic plans to a future horizon - one where we are authentically adapting, innovating, and serving.

We are excited to invite stakeholders* in Canadian physiotherapy to the Future Think Virtual Summit for Physiotherapy in Canada taking place May 26, 2021, 10:30AM - 4:30PM (Eastern Time). The Summit brings four international dynamic ‘future thinkers’ together to share their ideas about the trends, innovations, and disruptions physiotherapy needs to consider to write its future story.

*Stakeholders may include physiotherapy students, physiotherapy assistants, employers of physiotherapists, and Board or staff of physiotherapy associations or regulatory bodies; and of course, patient partners with interest in physiotherapy are also welcome.


The exciting lineup of speakers are:


Daniel Susskind

“The Future of the Professions in the Age of COVID-19”

In this talk, Daniel Susskind will explore the future of the professions in the age of COVID-19. Drawing on his best-selling books, The Future of the Professions (OUP, 2015) and A World Without Work (Allen Lane, 2020), he will set out two futures for the professions.

Both rest on technology.

One is reassuringly familiar. It is a more efficient version of what we have today.

The other is transformational -- a gradual replacement of professionals by increasingly capable systems. In an Internet society, the professions will look remarkably different from today, and we will neither need nor want physiotherapists -- or lawyers, doctors, teachers, architects, the clergy, consultants, and many others -- to work as they did in the 20th century.


Rachael Lowe

“What if Elon Musk was a Physio?”

If the resources, creativity, and determination exhibited by a visionary such as Elon Musk were to be harnessed by the physiotherapy profession, what would the “physio-moonshot” projects be and how could these change the future of the profession, the functioning of health systems, and the well being of humanity.

Rachael will use this premise to explore some of the more outrageous possibilities and encourage the audience to embark on their own creative journeys in the hope that this inspires risk-taking and courageous actions that will lead to fundamental disruptive changes for the better.


Emma Stokes

“Finding our Way Back to Someplace New: How Lessons Learned in a Pandemic Should Make Us Think Differently About Our Profession And Its Future”

As we enter the second year of the pandemic, and reflect on the challenges we have faced and overcome in the global physiotherapy community, the outcome in many communities has caused us to think and act differently. There has been a significant unlocking of organisational inertia and a ‘permission’ to be responsive and innovative and to advocate successfully for change.

I have experienced this shift as an educator, most recently on a start-up program in Qatar and as President of World Physiotherapy. Drawing on these experiences, I will illustrate how the lessons we have learned and the positive COVID19 dividend will help us to think differently about physiotherapy’s future, driving the necessary changes that will ensure the profession continues to grow and develop in responsive and creative ways in the service of our communities.


David Nicholls

“What if everything you thought a profession was is wrong?”

There has been a lot said about the future of physiotherapy in recent years. COVID-19, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and climate change are only accelerating the sense that ‘today’s professions should and will be displaced by feasible alternatives’ (Susskind and Susskind 2014, 3).

The responses to these challenges from the health professions themselves have varied, but most have tried to remind people of the need to trust their expertise and value their altruism and service. COVID, particularly, has shown people that when disaster strikes, it is the orthodox health professions that right the ship.

But what if these narratives are wrong?

What if the way we have come to understand how the health professions actually work is based on a set of beliefs that have been shown for decades now to be, at best, misleading, and, at worst, plain wrong?

In this talk, he will show that the way we currently think about the profession of physiotherapy is based on ideas developed in the 1930s, and aggressively promoted by the health professions themselves. Drawing on decades of criticism of these ideas, he will argue that what we think physiotherapy is might actually be so wrong that it may be harming our chances of changing things for the better. He’ll argue that if we want to understand where physiotherapy is going, we will need a better way to understand what it really is.


Schedule for the day:

May 26, 2021 10:30AM - 4:30PM EST

  • 10:30am - 10:45 am   Setting the stage
  • 10:45am - 11:45am    Speaker 1 - Rachael Lowe - presentation & Q&A
  • 15 min Break
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm      Speaker 2 - Daniel Susskind - presentation & Q&A
  • 30 min Break
  • 1:30pm - 2:30pm        Speaker 3 Emma Stokes - presentation & Q&A
  • 15 min Break
  • 2:45pm - 3:45pm        Speaker 4 - David Nicholls - presentation & Q&A
  • 3:45pm - 4:00pm        Wrap up


Embodia is hosting the Summit. The registration fee for this one-day virtual event is:

  • CPA Members: $50 + GST/HST
  • Non-CPA Members: $75 + GST/HST
  • Students and News Grads (2 years or less out of school): $10 + GST/HST


This is a unique opportunity to challenge our current thinking while inspiring action to advance our profession. We hope to see you on May 26th.


PT FutureThink Steering Committee members:

  • David Walton, Western University
  • Kathleen Norman, Queen’s University
  • Maxi Miciak, University of Alberta
The instructors
Emma Stokes
President of World Physiotherapy

Emma is the head of the newly established Department of Physiotherapy & Rehabilitation Science at Qatar University. She has worked in education for almost 25 years and is on leave from Trinity College Dublin where she is an associate professor and fellow. Her research and teaching focus on professional practice issues for the profession. She has taught and lectured in over 40 countries around the world.

In 2015, she was elected to serve as president. She was re-elected for a further four years in 2019. She has experience as a member and chair of boards in Ireland and internationally in a diversity of settings including education, health, research, and regulation.

David Nicholls

Dr. Nicholls is an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Psychosocial Studies, AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. He is a physiotherapist, lecturer, researcher, and writer, with a passion for critical thinking in and around physical therapies. David is the founder of the Critical Physiotherapy Network, an organization that promotes the use of cultural studies, education, history, philosophy, sociology, and a range of other disciplines in the study of the profession’s past, present, and future. David’s own research work focuses on the critical history of physiotherapy and considers how physiotherapy might need to adapt to the changing economy of health care in the 21st century.

He has published 35 peer-reviewed articles and 17 book chapters, many as the first author. He is also very active on social media, writing more than 500 blog posts for in the last three years. David has taught in physiotherapy programs in the UK and New Zealand for over 25 years and has presented his work all around the world. The End of Physiotherapy – the first book-length critical history of physiotherapy, and written by David – was published by Routledge in mid-2017.

Rachael Lowe
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Physiopedia

Following a successful clinical career which culminated with her own group of physiotherapy clinics, Rachael moved into the world of providing on-line technology solutions for physiotherapists and other health care professionals. In 2008 Rachael established the Physiopedia project with the ambitious goal of providing free and open access to all physiotherapy and physical therapy knowledge to improve global health. Starting small and low key, through her determination, passion and unrelenting energy, Physiopedia is now the largest and most popular physiotherapy related website. It has developed and delivered the worlds largest open access physiotherapy related courses and the project's activities are supported by a vibrant and growing community of supporters and contributors.

Daniel Susskind
Fellow in Economics at Oxford University

Dr Daniel Susskind is a Fellow in Economics at Oxford University, and a Visiting Professor at King’s College London. He is the co-author of the best-selling book, The Future of the Professions (2015) and the author of A World Without Work (2020), described by The New York Times as "required reading for any potential presidential candidate thinking about the economy of the future”. His TED Talk, on the future of work, has been viewed more than 1.5 million times.

Previously he worked in various roles in the British Government – in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, in the Policy Unit in 10 Downing Street, and in the Cabinet Office. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University.

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