Student Feature: Kyla Alsbury

Sep 24, 2019
Jessica Boafo

The RSI Student Feature introduces you to some of the interesting people studying in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. From leaders in rehabilitation sciences research to providing care to Toronto’s most vulnerable populations, our students are making an impact on communities at home and around the world.

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Kyla Alsbury

Year & Program: 2nd Year PhD              
Supervisor(s): Nancy Salbach

Q. What is your area of research?

I'm interested in how older adults are referred to community-based exercise programs which have a healthcare-recreation partnership. Many seniors experience difficulties with their balance and mobility, and these programs can be very beneficial for these concerns. Community-based exercise programs like the TIME program (developed by UHN physical therapists) are emerging across Canada, however many program providers report difficulties with registration in the first 1-2 years. I want to know who is being referred to these programs, by whom (for example, their physician, occupational therapist, friend or family member, etc.), and whether or not these referral patterns vary depending on the setting (urban or rural communities). This will also inform me as to who does not have access to these programs and perhaps shed some light on why this may be.

Q. What drew you to the field of rehabilitation sciences?

I've always been interested in a career where I could make a tangible difference in peoples lives, which is why I became a physical therapist. After working for 4 years in the community, although I felt that I was helping my patients day to day, I realized I wanted to have a broader impact through research. In the future, I hope to treat patients clinically, contribute to research, and teach the next generation of physical therapists.

Q. Why did you choose to pursue your studies in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto?

I chose to undertake my doctoral studies at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto for many reasons. My supervisor, Dr. Salbach, has a strong research program and extensive professional network, and I felt that she would be an invaluable mentor during my program. I am confident Dr. Salbach will help guide me in achieving my goals! I was also attracted to RSI for it's strong reputation of research excellence.

Q. What advice would you give to prospective RSI students?

I would recommend seeking out a supervisor whose research program matches your interest and who you feel would be a good fit for your work style.

Q. Do you pursue any extracurricular activities or hobbies?

I am a runner and a triathlete and recently completed a Half Ironman in 2018.

Q. Please share a recent accomplishment!

I have just been offered a spot at the Summer Program in Aging through the CIHR Institute of Aging for May 2019. I look forward to learning more about Geroscience in collaboration with fellow trainees from across Canada! 

I received an Interdisciplinary Fellowship through the Canadian Frailty Network from September 1, 2018 to August 31, 2019. I'm grateful to have participated in many different learning opportunities with my fellow trainees so far, with more to come!