Chow owns a Richmond BC occupational therapy practice, Optimum Therapy Rehabilitation Services Inc. While managing the administrative duties that go along with running a small business, Chow, who continues to manage a caseload of clients, believes in the importance of remaining ‘hands-on’ at a grass roots levels and remains connected with her clients.
1. Today in healthcare it’s important to…
Ensure that we are providing evidence-based care with demonstrable and measurable outcomes. With the limited funding and resources in today’s system, learning to be cost-efficient and delivering quality care is a delicate balance.
2. What made you interested in occupational therapy?
I wanted to help individuals achieve their optimal level of functioning in day to day situations and be able to work with people in the community, in their own environment. Teaching clients to advocate for themselves and empowering them to overcome their disabilities and turn their limitations into abilities.
3. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I’m not there yet…I love learning and I think it’s really important to achieve life balance….juggling my roles as business owner, therapist, wife, mother, volunteer and a lifelong learner. In terms of achievements, I think of the little successes each day, reflecting on what I did today to make a difference in someone else’s life. When a client achieves success or reaches a higher level of functioning, I feel like that in itself is an achievement.
4. Name the last book you couldn’t put down.
A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout. It’s a true story about a Canadian reporter who travelled to Somalia and was then abducted and held captive for 15 months.
5. What is the best professional advice you’ve received?
Never panic about the feast or famine nature of work in private practice. If you do good work, there will always be a referral coming your way.
6. What is your favourite UBC memory?
The close-knit relationships that we had within the School of Occupational Therapy. I enjoyed the opportunity to work with classmates on various projects and assignments as well as the application of theory to practice and case studies.
7. Who was your favourite UBC Faculty of Medicine professor?
Dr. Susan Stanton, who was then the Department Head of Occupational Therapy. She taught us our very first Occupational Therapy class on my first day in the Faculty. We were fortunate to have excellent professors throughout our program, but that first impression that she made and the passion that she inspired in me for the profession has stuck with me to this day.
8. Biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Making the decision to open up my own private practice in 1996 was a big risk. At the time, the company that I was working for had been bought out by another larger firm and I was at a pivotal decision-making point in terms of choosing the path to venture off on my own or work for another organization. I decided to start up Optimum Therapy Rehabilitation Services Inc and haven’t looked back since.
9. What advice would you give to current occupational therapy students?
We are so fortunate to have chosen a profession where we can help others and at the same time have the opportunity to work in such diverse areas of practice within the field of occupational therapy. When you graduate from the program, you will embark on another lifelong journey of continuous learning. My learning continues….everyday…..I learn from other healthcare professionals, clients, family members…. I learn through my volunteer pursuits….. I learn from my child….Learning is the fuel that gives you more energy to do what you do. And, whatever you do…give it your full effort!
10. What profession might you have pursued, if not for occupational therapy?
Veterinary medicine. I love animals and had I not been accepted into the Occupational Therapy Program my back up options were to apply to Veterinary Medicine.
11. Name a few of your favourite hobbies and activities
Doing Pilates. I have been practicing Pilates for the past 16 years and find it to be extremely therapeutic in terms of incorporating breathing, relaxation, toning and strengthening into one discipline. I also enjoy volleyball, cycling, spending time on the beach and going on walks with my dog.
12. Bucket List Item?
Assisting in some capacity with an occupational therapy program or project in an under-developed country. When my daughter graduates from high school, I would like to become involved with an organization in this capacity.
Chow recently completed 6 years serving 3 consecutive terms as an elected Board Member for the College of Occupational Therapist of British Columbia where she volunteered on the College’s Continuing Competency and on the Inquiry Committee. Prior to starting her private practice, Chow worked as an OT working for a Psychiatric Outpatient Day Program, and also worked in Orthopaedics, Spinal Cord Injury and Mental Health in Acute Care. Chow has been recognized as an Expert Witness in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in the areas of Occupational Therapy and Life Care Planning.