I am a rheumatologist and I work collaboratively with ACPAC-trained physiotherapists Nancy Granger and Lesley Jackson at Trillium Health Partners. They are the hub of our unique model of care for admitted patients at Mississauga Hospital and Credit Valley Hospital. In addition to assessing complex patients, they also provide inpatient continuity of care and education for patients and their families. Both Nancy and Lesley are integral members of our team and have been working frontline throughout the COVID19 pandemic.

Stephanie Tom, MD, FRCPC
Division Head of Rheumatology
Trillium Health Partners
(Mississauga Hospital/Credit Valley Hospital/Queensway Health Centre)

“The ACPAC-trained advanced practice practitioners at Toronto Western Hospital UHN are professional, organized, knowledgeable and forward thinking. They are to be commended for enabling our (Orthopaedic Surgery) health team to achieve our goals of appropriate diagnosis and prognosis, timely access and patient-centered care.”

Rajiv Gandhi, MD, FRCSC, MSc
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Division of Orthopedic Surgery
University Health Network

“I have been very impressed with the ACPAC-trained ERPs (Marsha Alvares; Leslie Soever; Emily May; Lisa Caldana) with whom I work at the TWH hip and knee assessment clinics in terms of their knowledge, physical examinations, presentations and high quality medical dictations. Our patients often compliment us on our ACPAC-trained Practitioners and how professional they are. Having an ACPAC workforce is a step forward in delivering high quality and timely care to our patients at UHN.”

J. Rod Davey, MD, FRCSC
Head Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, UHN

“The education provided through the ACPAC program has had a profound and beneficial impact on patient care and our ability to establish the NEJAC (North East Joint Assessment Centre) at Sault Area Hospital. Our ACPAC-trained practitioner (Rhonda Matthews) provides outstanding care for potential joint replacement patients both pre- and post-op, alleviating patient pre-operative stress and achieving post-operative compliance. Her appropriate triaging has increased our efficiency, allowing us to focus on patients who most require surgery.”

Graham Elder, BSc, PT, MDCM, FRCS(C)
Assistant Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
Chief Orthopaedic Surgery, Sault Area Hospital

“I have worked with an ACPAC-trained therapist (Lynn Richards) for a decade delivering rheumatology care to our patients. Lynn Richards practices at an extremely high level and is highly regarded by our patients and the rest of the team. Her rheumatology expertise is considerable and she is able to assess and manage the majority of our patients. She adds quality, knowledge, collegiality and fun. I would find it hard to imagine practicing without her.”

Henry Averns MB, ChB, FRCP (Lond), FRCPC
President Ontario Rheumatology Association

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Having an ACPAC performing pre-surgical orthopaedic screenings at our institution has been invaluable. It allows us to deliver far more efficient care to our regional joint replacement, and now spine patients. Without our exceptionally competent and capable ACPAC-trained practitioner, we would not be able to meet provincially imposed wait list deadlines for surgical interventions such as hip and knee arthroplasty. I would fully endorse expansion of this outstanding training program across the country.

Adrienne M. Kelly MD FRCSC CIME
General Orthopaedic and Adult Spine Surgeon
Sault Area Hospital
Assistant Professor
Northern Ontario School of Medicine

In Northern Ontario, rheumatology services are in high demand and trained practitioners are few. For much of my time, since 1995, I have been the only rheumatologist living in Thunder Bay. I am grateful for the times when we had another rheumatologist and value the visiting rheumatology clinics. However, without the contribution of the highly skilled, organized, and competent ACPAC therapists, my job would be unmanageable and patient care would suffer. Since Anne MacLeod (PT, ACPAC) joined my practice in 2009, we have formed an effective team. The volume of patients seen has increased thanks to her diligent work in the clinic, following her own patient list, three days a week. I am continually impressed by her clinical and organizational skills without which I would be lost. Noel Heath (OT, ACPAC) works with St. Joseph’s Care Group in the Rheumatic Diseases Clinic and uses her advanced skill for the rheumatology consult triage service as well as assisting the visiting rheumatologists. Her experience and compassion are a perfect blend for an ACPAC therapist. Erin Puhalski, (PT), a vital part of the Rheumatic Diseases Program, is currently pursuing ACPAC training. I am excited to see what role she will have once training is complete. A few years ago, I wrote a testimonial, praising the ACPAC therapists. Without them, I said: “managing the demand for rheumatology services in Northwestern Ontario would be impossible.” This is even more true today.

Wes Fidler MD FRCPC
Rheumatologist, St. Joseph’s Care Group
Thunder Bay

The advanced practitioner role is an important and vital component of managing children with rheumatic diseases especially in the setting of patients with juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The ACPAC program serves to unify skills related to clinical and rehabilitation medicine fostering the development of independent and qualified advanced care practitioners. With current limited health care resources, advanced practitioners are necessary and complement rheumatologists in ensuring all children with rheumatic diseases are receiving excellent and timely clinical care translating to better long-term outcomes.

Shirley Tse MD FRCPC
Assistant Professor, University of Toronto
Program Director, Division of Rheumatology
The Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, ON

The ACPAC program provides the experienced MSK therapist with an opportunity to build on, and expand their knowledge, skill set and confidence, and return to their Institution as a more valued member of the Arthritis/MSK Team. I emphatically endorse the process.

J. Carter Thorne MD FRCP FACP
Internal Medicine & Rheumatology, Southlake Regional Health Centre

We have had the opportunity to send a Physical Therapist-APP (Tiffany Larsen) from the Headwaters Health Center (Orangeville) to the ACPAC programme. For over 2 years, this allowed us to extend our Brampton Practices to a rural setting where there was no existing rheumatology coverage. The APP triages all the referrals to this site and one of us runs an EIA (Early Inflammatory Arthritis) clinic once per week. The therapist works together with the rheumatologist and can also work in parallel to see stable patients and report to the rheumatologist. The training programme has escalated the advanced practitioner’s level of expertise in evaluating rheumatologic conditions along with doing accurate joint counts. In addition, she has been the coordinator for ERA clinical trials run through the programme. This has been an excellent opportunity to deliver arthritis care for patients in their local setting, which would not otherwise have been possible. We are in the process of educating [more] Physical Therapists through the ACPAC programme, who will be an additional asset for orthopedics and rheumatology.

Vandana Ahluwalia MD FRCPC
Raman Joshi MD FRCPC
Sangeeta Bajaj MD FRCPC

William Osler Health Centre
Brampton, Ontario

“Arthritis care in Ontario enhanced by extended-role practitioners”
-Canadian Medical Association, 2011

I came through the North East Joint Asessessment spine clinic with back related pain that has been going on constantly for many years ( over 20 years). It was bothering me all the time, kept me from doing things I enjoyed, from sleeping to just ordinary daily activities and was impacting every aspect of my life in a negative way. Rhonda Matthews the advanced practice physiotherapist that I saw, did a very thorough assessment for a surgical consult, ultimately resulting in me receiving two back surgeries to assist. Today I have a pain stimulation implant in my spine and my pain is much more manageable. As I learn to utilize this device to assist my pain management my pain is much more manageable. My life is my own again! I strongly recommend that patients with lower back pain ask to be seen at The Rapid Access Centre for Low Back Pain program in their area as it could be a life changing experience. They are a wonderful resource for people like myself with a sore back. If you happen to be fortunate enough to deal with Rhonda Matthews you will truly be in wonderful and caring hands. I say this because I have been on a pain management journey for the last 30+ years and I feel that Rhonda has made a huge positive impact in my success.

Grateful Patient
Sault Ste Marie Area, Ontario