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Friedland, Judith F.
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Judith Fern Friedland (nee Pless, b. 1939) is an occupational therapist, author, and Professor Emerita in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto (UofT). Professor Friedland’s research has covered a number of areas with particular focus on the history of occupational therapy and the psychosocial aspects of physical illness and injury.
Born and raised in Toronto, Prof. Friedland attended the University of Toronto where she received her Diploma in Physical and Occupational Therapy (1960). Following her initial studies, Friedland worked in mental health facilities including the Fulbourn Psychiatric Hospital in Cambridge, England (1960-1961) and the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital (1961-1963). From 1977 to 1982, Friedland worked at Community Occupational Therapy Associates as a front-line clinician. While there, she developed and ran The Brown School Stroke Program, among other initiatives.
Prof. Friedland returned to the University of Toronto where she received her B.A. (1976) after part-time studies through Woodsworth College. She received her M.A. (1981) and her Ph.D. (1988) from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (O.I.S.E.) Her Ph.D. thesis was entitled, Accessing language in agraphia: an examination of hemiplegic writing. Friedland taught at Seneca College (1976-1978) and was appointed lecturer at the UofT’s Department of Occupational Therapy in 1982.
Prof. Friedland has held both academic and administrative positions within the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy (formerly the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Division of Occupational Therapy). Following her position as a lecturer, she progressed through the ranks as a faculty member and in 2002 was appointed full professor. Prof. Friedland served as the Director of the Division of Occupational Therapy from 1991 to 1993, and as the Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy from 1993 through 1999. This was a period of development and change for the Department. Prof. Friedland spearheaded projects to achieve departmental status, to change the structure of the BScOT program to prepare for transition to an MScOT program, revised the pedagogical approach to adopt problem-based learning, and received approval for the proposal to launch an entry-level professional master’s program. Officially retiring in 2004, Prof. Friedland has served on University committees in roles including Chair of the Health Sciences Research Ethics Board and Chair of the Research Ethics Policy and Advisory Committee, and continues her academic work as Professor Emerita. Since 2012, she has been the Chair of the Ethics Review Board for Public Health Ontario.
Prof. Friedland’s research has spanned diverse areas, from clinical investigations, such as the impact of social support on adjustment to illness and disability and the mental health issues of university students, to reflections on the history and development of the profession of occupational therapy. Friedland has written numerous scholarly articles and, in 2011, published a definitive work on the development of the profession, Restoring the Spirit: The beginnings of Occupational Therapy in Canada, 1890-1930.
In recognition of her work, Prof. Friedland has received multiple awards including the Muriel Driver Lectureship and Fellowship Award from the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, and the U of T’s Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award. Prof. Friedland has also volunteered with organizations including the Canadian Cancer Society, her local Home and School Association and UofT’s Health History Partnership. She is married to Professor and former Dean of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, Martin Friedland and has three children and eight grandchildren.