B.Sc., M.Ed., M.Sc.
Chair, School of Allied Health, Coordinator, Rehab Assistant Dip Prog
Rehabilitation Assistant Diploma Program
Faculty of Education
Health & Human Development
604.986.1911 ext. 3802
Cedar Building, room CE380F
M.Sc., Rehabilitation Science, Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, University of British Columbia, 2017.
M.Ed., Post-Secondary Studies, Faculty of Education, Memorial University, 2011.
B.Sc., Physiotherapy, School of Rehabilitation Science, Queen's University, 1991.
"As a physiotherapist, I teach in a practical way allowing for functional applications of the content and supporting learners to apply their learning rather than memorizing it to pass tests."
Tracy Dignum (M.Sc., University of British Columbia, 2017) has worked clinically as a physiotherapist in musculoskeletal, respiratory and neurological clinical contexts for over 25 years. Her passion for effective client centered health service delivery brought her to Capilano University in the development stages of the Rehabilitation Assistant Diploma program (RADP). Dignum has been an instructor and program coordinator in RADP for over a decade and has enjoyed her role as an advocate for these highly skilled graduates working in occupational therapy, physiotherapy and speech language pathology.
As an anatomy instructor, Dignum has realized the challenges for many students of memorizing a large volume of content. With concerns about retention of this type of learning, Dignum completed her Master of Education inquiring into teaching methods to optimize learning and retention. Her expertise in this area has allowed her to present to a broad range of audiences including a TEDx talk in 2013 titled Memory and Retention: Tips for Parents. She has also conducted workshops on Memory and Retention in Health Education and How to teach so students remember.
While investigating these approaches, Dignum became interested in the therapeutic benefits of mindful meditation both for memory and retention and for functional recovery following brain injury and stroke. As a graduate student in Rehabilitation Science at UBC, she conducted a clinical trial titled Assessing the impact of mindful meditation, combined with exercise,on mobility and cognitive function among older adults with chronic stroke: aproof-of-concept study.
Dignum continues to stay involved clinically to ensure her rehabilitation skills are current and is an active member of the College of Physical therapists of British Columbia, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, Occupational Therapy Assistant/Physiotherapy Assistant Accreditation Canada and Physiotherapy Education Accreditation Canada. She volunteers annually with Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation teaching Physiotherapy in Leogane, Haiti.
Being a physiotherapist, my teaching relates to injuries, disease, interventions and functional anatomy and physiology. I am passionate about health promotion and injury prevention and the role of education to optimize health outcomes. I strive to make learning memorable by including frequent hands-on activities and functional applications.
I oversee two of the three clinical practicums and enjoy visiting all the sites to gain a sense of how well each student is performing and where they may need support. I am consistently impressed by the high caliber of our students with respect to their professionalism in clinical contexts and am proud that our graduates are in strong demand by employers throughout the province.
My research has been in two primary areas. Firstly I have researched the job satisfaction levels of rehabilitation assistant graduates to ensure that those entering this new profession were appropriately prepared and enjoyed their role in clinical settings.
My second area of research has been in optimizing the function of the brain for healthy individuals and those with cognitive impairments. I have researched teaching approaches and conducted a clinical trial on the potential of combining meditation with balance retraining for physical and cognitive outcomes. I completed training through the University of Massachusetts' Medical School's Centre for Mindfulness and continue to explore applications of meditation to enhance cognition.
Dignum, T. Assessing the impact of mindful meditation, combined with exercise, on mobility and cognitive function among older adults with chronic stroke: a proof-of-concept study, University of British Columbia. 2017.
Dignum, T.E. Nunavut Rehabilitation Team Training manual, 2010.
Dignum, T.E. Evaluation of satisfaction, employment outcomes and job satisfaction of graduates of a University Rehabilitation Assistant Diploma Program. Masters Thesis. Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2010.
Dignum, T.E. Communication strategies for Physiotherapists and Physiotherapy Assistants: Effective techniques for challenging situations (teleconference). Canadian Physiotherapy Association: October 17, 2007.
Dignum, T.E. Get on the Ball: A manual of ball exercises for strength, flexibility and core stability. Vancouver: Ward publishing, Canada, 2003.
2015: Support Personnel in Physical Therapy, Presenter at World Congress, World Confederation of Physical Therapy, Singapore, May 3.
2015: Memory and Retention: Optimizing your Brains abilities (Whatever your age), Capilano Universe lecture series, West Vancouver, BC, February 8.
2013: Memory and Retention in Health Education, Canadian Association of Health Continuing Education Conference, Vancouver, BC, June 11.
2013: Rethinking Memory and Retention: Tips for Parents, TEDx, West Vancouver, BC, May 11.
Project co-lead. Pilot project funded by Ministry of Advanced Education for delivery of rehabilitation support training in First Nations communities in Northern BC - Partnership with UBC and Carrier Sekani Family Services, Rehabilitation Therapy Support Skills Pilot project, 2017.
Faculty, Bachelor of Physiotherapy program curriculum development, Haiti Rehabilitation Foundation, Episcopalian University of Leogane, Haiti, 2016 - present.
Board of Examiners, College of Physical Therapists of British Columbia, 2015 - present.
Peer Reviewer, Occupational Therapy Assistant/Physiotherapy Assistant Education Accreditation Program, 2013 - present.
Capilano University Professional Development workshop Workshop presentation: How to teach so Students Remember. April, 2012. North Vancouver, BC.