"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn." Alvin Toffler.
Curiosity, wonderment, imagination, and a persistent challenge to what we believe we know, drive Mauren Simmonds, Ph.D. These characteristics drive her teaching, research and life. She takes pride that these characteristics are not only reflected in her own children but also in her many successful academic children. As noted by Conway, its not what is poured into a student that counts, but what is planted.
She firmly believes that a good teacher makes herself progressively unnecessary, because she has modeled and helped develop a student's curiosity, confidence, and ability to continually ask good questions, respond appropriately to gather, interpret and synthesize the best information, implement the results and then ask the next good question. Her own research questions have come from the laboratory of life and from my teachers in the classroom and the clinic, students and patients respectively.
She trained as a physiotherapist at Wolverhampton School of Physiotherapy in the United Kingdom and then completed my BSc and MSc in Physical Therapy and the first Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Sciences from the University of Alberta in Canada.
She was introduced to the profession of physical therapy as a result of sustaining major trauma in a riding accident. This trauma resulted in many hospitalizations and surgeries, and many months of rehabilitation at various times, and in different health care systems: the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. These global experiences on the other side of the bed have been invaluable in helping her understand and learn more from patients, and then apply, research and teach a patient-centered approach that has often challenged common clinical assumptions.
She has had 15 years of clinical experience in England and Canada, where she ultimately specialized in pain management. As Director of a Pain and Performance Research Laboratory she has developed and tested batteries of physical performance tests, to characterize and quantify the burden of injury and illness and evaluate the efficacy of interventions. As Director of a Pain, Mind and Movement laboratory, she has used sophisticated virtual reality equipment and simple physical and cognitive tests in an effort to understand the links between pain, mind and movement across conditions and therefore better manage the impact of illness and injury in the short term as well as over the long term.
Her research is recognized internationally and she is a frequently invited speaker to major international and national conferences and has been invited to speak at many universities around the world. She has held major academic and strategic leadership roles at major universities in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and the United States. Her clinical and academic experiences in England, Canada, Australia and the United States have given her a unique and global perspective on health, health care delivery and the strengths and weaknesses of health care education.
Thus a current research focus is on gaining a better understanding of those aspects of health professions training that lead to gaps between research, education and clinical practice. A personal point of pride is that the majority of her graduate student advisees are well published prior to or soon after they are awarded their degree and are leading successful and productive academic careers.