Congratulations Karen Rucas OSOT's 2020 Honourary Life Member
The Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists is pleased to announce that Karen Rucas is the 2020 recipient of the OSOT Honourary Life Membership Award!
The Society's most prestigious award recognizes and honours an individual who has rendered distinguished and longstanding service to the profession of occupational therapy or to the Society. Karen's career and her contributions, commitment, and passion for the profession of occupational therapy exemplify valued service to both the profession and the Society.
Get to know Karen....a few words from her nomination...
View the Awards Ceremony Presentation & Karen's Acceptance Speech.
Karen has contributed to our profession in innumerable ways for almost 40 years. Throughout her career she has been an example and inspiration to so many colleagues in Ontario, first working as a clinical occupational therapist for approximately 13 years before starting her own company, Karen Rucas & Associates in 1993. Karen created a thriving OT business advancing the role of occupational therapists in the insurance and medical-legal sector. As a mentor to many OTs, she has ensured that the quality of occupational therapy assessment and medical-legal report writing skills was unsurpassed in this industry and could withstand the scrutiny of the legal profession. As a company owner, she employed large numbers of occupational therapists over more than two decades and contributed to the development of high standards for OT assessments within the sector.
Although Karen sold her business in 2015, her leadership at Karen Rucas and Associates ensured that OTs at her company and within the auto sector were equipped with the skills to maintain the necessary high standards in their practices. In addition to operating this successful business, Karen organized, facilitated and presented at many professional workshops and conferences both for occupational therapists and for other stakeholders in the auto insurance system. She was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, at the University of Toronto.
Karen’s outstanding leadership has been invaluable to the approximately 600 OSOT members in the auto insurance sector. She also has over 120 occupational therapists as a part of her own personal “network” who have requested to be kept informed through her regular email distribution. Her communication keeps OTs abreast of ongoing issues within the Auto Sector. She is a steadfast resource for OTs across the province and regularly responds to emails and phone calls from therapists who pose questions and concerns regarding occupational therapy practice in this sector. She addresses insurance, legal, legislative and OT practice issues using a collaborative approach which is focused on best practices for our profession.
What makes Karen’s efforts even more admirable is that much of the time she gives to our profession is done on a volunteer basis. She has been an OSOT volunteer serving on the OSOT Auto Insurance Sector Team for more than 25 years and has been the Chair (or co-chair) of this Team for the past 5 years. Through her role at OSOT she has;
- served as a Government Lead for the Society, as a primary representative in OSOT’s advocacy to position the services of occupational therapists to best meet the needs of Ontarians injured in motor vehicle accidents.
- she co-authored of the OSOT practice resource “A Resource of Reflective Practice: Assessment of Attendant Care Needs, Form 1” (1st and 2nd Edition).
- she has been the OSOT representative to the Coalition of Regulated Health Professional Associations in Ontario Automobile Insurance Services.
- she was OSOT rep to numerous government policy reform working groups.
Karen’s expertise is well recognized outside the profession as well. She is a sought after advisor in the auto insurance sector and has been invited to assume leadership roles such as:
- First non-physician Board member of the Canadian Society of Medical Evaluators (CSME).
- Appointed to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s Auto Insurance Reforms Implementation Steering Committee.
- Appointed to Financial Services Commission of Ontario’s Health Care Advisory Committee.
- Member of Industry Advisory Group of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario.
Through these leadership roles external to the profession, Karen’s knowledge and contribution to the sector promotes a strong and respectful awareness of occupational therapy. She is a consummate advocate and promoter of the profession.
In so many ways Karen is a true champion of OSOT. At every opportunity she encourages Ontario OT’s to become members and educates them on the value of this affiliation to their practice.
Karen’s level of engagement is often times hard to fathom. This speaks to her generous spirit and personal commitment to the importance of sharing and supporting others. She prepares and attends meetings even when on vacation, recognizing the importance of addressing ever changing issues in the auto sector. She addresses questions and issues of OTs working in this field, always responding in a thoughtful, informed, collaborative and timely manner.
Karen has been a business owner, an educator, an advocate, a government lobbyist and a leader in our profession for almost four decades. Through her leadership she has made a significant impact on both Occupational Therapy practice and the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists.
We join in celebration of her distinguished career and her many gifts of service to the profession and our Society. With this award Karen, we, your colleagues in OSOT membership, extend our appreciation and admiration to one outstanding occupational therapist!