Barbara Sexton Lecture

2021 Lecture Details

Friday, April 15
1:30 - 3:00 p.m.
Delivered virtually

The Barbara Sexton Lectureship was established in 1999 to reward innovation and excellence in occupational therapy teaching and to foster professional enrichment. Western's School of Occupational Therapy annually invites a distinguished visitor to give a public presentation.

Lori Letts

2021 Guest Lecturer

Lori Letts, PhD, OT Reg (ONT)
Professor, School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University

Lori Letts is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University. She is a graduate of Occupational Therapy at Western.

After working as an occupational therapist in general rehabilitation, long term care, and with clients in the community, she returned to graduate school. In 1991, she received a Master of Arts with a joint degree in Gerontology and Regional Planning and Resource Development. Her thesis examined environmental influences on the functional abilities of older adults. Following that, she worked as Researcher with Community Occupational Therapists and Associates in Toronto, and was also the Assistant National Coordinator of the CAOT Seniors' Health Promotion Project. She completed doctoral studies in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University in 2002. The focus of her doctoral dissertation was on the use of participatory research and community organizing as means to promote health with older adults in the city of Toronto.

Lori joined the faculty at McMaster in 1994 and has enjoyed many years in educational roles, including 10 years in administration, in her role as Assistant Dean of the Occupational Therapy program. Her current research focuses on adults and older adults with chronic illnesses and helping them to manage their conditions in the context of the community. This involves work in primary care and other community settings. She is also involved in research to identify and intervene in preventative ways so that people’s engagement occupation and health are optimized.

Previous Sexton Lecturers

Year Lecturer Topic
2021 Lori Letts, PhD - McMaster University Challenging Hegemonies
2020 No lecture given N/A
2019 Jan Polgar, PhD - Western University From Activity to Occupation: Reflections on 40 years in the occupational therapy profession
2018 Cathy Vandersluis - London Health Sciences Centre Living Life in Colour
2017 Marcia Finlayson - Queen's University Building evidence to support practice: The example of managing fatigue in multiple sclerosis
2016 Bill Miller, PhD - University of British Columbia Lessons Learned from a Life Woven in Occupational Therapy
2015 Charles Christiansen, EdD - American Occupational Therapy Foundation The Path Ahead: A Conversation About Value
2014 Joyce Tryssenaar, PhD - McMaster University Living the Questions
2013 Sue Forwell, PhD - University of British Columbia The Chicken Soup of Occupation
2012 Rachel Thibeault, PhD - University of Ottawa Going Against the Flow: Building Resilience Through Selective Occupations
2011 Mary Egan, PhD - University of Ottawa Safety and Connection: Key Concerns of Occupational Therapy
2010 Huguette Pickard - Université de Montrèal (retired) Engagement in Society: How can Occupational Therapists Make a Difference
2009 Elizabeth McKay, PhD - University of Limerick Exploring the Essence of Exceptional Practitioners
2008 Helene Polatajko, PhD - University of Toronto The Occupational Science Imperative
2007 Gail Whiteford, PhD - Charles Sturt University Wellbeing: An Occupational Perspective
2006 Catherine Backman, PhD - University of British Columbia Doing, Being, Participating
2005 Ruth Zemke, PhD - University of Southern California Time, Space, & Occupations: Interactions Shaping Our Perceptions of Life
2004 Elizabeth Townsend, PhD - Dalhousie University A Mediation on the Visibility and Viability of Enabling Occupation
2002 Mary Law, PhD - McMaster University Participation in Everyday Life
2001 Loree Primeau, PhD - University of Texas, Medical Branch Leadership as a Way of Being
2000 Anita Unruh, PhD - Dalhousie University Application of the Spirituality Construct to Evidence Based Practice
1999 Thelma Sumsion, PhD - Brunel University The Journey of Life

About Barbara Sexton

Barbara Sexton

Professor Sexton dedicated her career to the profession of Occupational Therapy and its advancement, both nationally and internationally. Following a successful career as a clinician, Professor Sexton joined the faculty at Western in 1973, just one year after the inception of the School. Thus, she was involved in the education of every graduate in Occupational Therapy from Western prior to her retirement in 1995. Barabara’s specialty was mental health with an emphasis on interviewing and small groups. She worked hard to ensure that every graduate of this program was not only educated in the relevant theories of the discipline, but also in the clinical skills required in the day-to-day practice of the profession.

During her tenure at Western, Professor Sexton served in many capacities and on many committees, both internal and external to the University. Most notably, she was the Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences from 1990 to 1994. She served as a member of the Review Board of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy for nine years. She was actively involved with the World Federation of Occupational Therapists for 12 years, serving as an executive of the Federation for eight years. While functioning in this role, she served not only the World Federation, but also acted as an ambassador for Canadian Occupational Therapy. The University awarded her the status of Professor Emeritus in 1995.

Professor Sexton had numerous publications in professional journals, made numerous presentations at scientific and professional meetings, and is the author of the widely used textbook, “Small Groups in Therapy Settings: Process and Leadership” which is in its fourth edition.

Professor Sexton received the Life Member Award from the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists and the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and was an Honorary Fellow of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists. All of these honors recognize her major contribution to these Societies and to Occupational Therapists in general.

Professor Sexton’s academic career was marked by dedication to the profession, to the University, and most notably to her students.