Physiotherapist Brock Chisholm honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award
If you are a rehabilitation professional in Northern Ontario, chances are good that Brock Chisholm was among the first people to give you a warm welcome to the region. A new award—the Health Sciences Lifetime Achievement—was given at NOSM University’s Northern Connections preceptor dinner and recognized Chisholm’s longstanding contribution to rehabilitation sciences.
Currently the Physiotherapy Clinical Learning Liaison for Rehabilitation Sciences at NOSM University, Chisholm is an exceptional ambassador for living and working in Northern Ontario—and he has been for more than 30 years. The award recognizes his longstanding contribution to clinical education, academics and scholarly work, recruitment and retention, promoting the importance of collaboration in clinical education, and for being a leading example of the values of the University.
“I was surprised, honoured, and humbled to receive the award. I had no idea I was receiving it. The award didn’t exist—it had never been given or been discussed, so it was quite a surprise,” says Chisholm. “The event organizers had given a pretext for my wife to attend the dinner, and it was very special that she could be there.”
In his 30-plus years in clinical education, Chisholm’s title and employer have changed—his involvement pre-dates the creation of NOSM by more than a decade—but his passion for working with learners and preceptors has remained constant.
Chisholm recounts when he first became a clinical educator in 1991: “When Sue Berry started recruiting for the Rehabilitation Sciences clinical education program that was associated with the Northwestern Ontario Medical Program (NOMP), I was asked to go to Quetico for a training session. I was up for anything as a new graduate! It was the inaugural clinical educators’ session. Shortly afterwards, I had my first learners. I loved it and was hooked on clinical education and teaching after that.”
In 2000, he took on the role of placement coordinator for physiotherapy, and he has never looked back.
“This role allowed me to interact with both the clinical preceptors throughout the region, and the new learners who could potentially become health-care providers in the North. This engagement at all levels and in all Northern communities completely resonated with me because I love engaging with people. It gave me a forum to work with everybody across Northern Ontario.”
Chisholm enjoys supporting preceptors and knows that they make an enormous difference to health care. “Without preceptors, there is no clinical education,” he points out. “Making that connection to the students and sharing your passion is what teaching comes down to. We are there for the preceptors because they are there for the students.”
A firm believer in the importance of NOSM University’s mission of recruiting health-care professionals, Chisholm points out that a considerable number of Northern Ontario’s current rehabilitation professionals had placements in the North as students. Although he has worked with hundreds of learners, Chisholm says his work always feels fresh.
“There are always new preceptors and new learners to meet, and each placement is unique and another opportunity to meet and welcome a potential new health-care provider to the region. It never gets stale and is always the first experience for each new learner. It is always an opportunity to bring someone new up to Northern Ontario.”
He adds, “The difference is all around us—so many of the rehabilitation providers throughout Northern Ontario were once learners through our programs.”
NOSM University is known for educating physicians and health-care professionals to work in underserved communities; this means bringing people together across different disciplines and professions. Chisholm and his colleagues are highly regarded for their work to realize NOSM University’s mission by being active partners and enriching learner experiences in Kenora.