Hilary’s work experience involves diverse client populations and practice settings, ranging from adult acute care to paediatric outreach. Throughout her early years of practice, Hilary came to notice the lack of resources in the surrounding rural areas near Prince George, BC. She addressed these issues by travelling into remote regions and providing services that would have otherwise been neglected. This experience in rural Canada would contribute greatly to her future work in international health.

Hilary has spent countless hours donating time and expertise to the development of international health in South Africa, Zimbabwe, India, Bhutan and Mexico. She acts as both an advocate for the profession while also delivering a much-needed service in remote areas of these countries.

Hilary began working extensively with a group in India called SAMUHA in 1994. SAMUHA operates in more than 150 villages in India, reaching over 6000 people, most of whom are children. Hilary later established the SAMUHA Overseas Development Association (SODA), which is a not-for-profit organization that supports the SAMUHA mandate. Hilary was also instrumental in implementing a community based practice model with the 20 rehabilitation workers that SODA is able to help finance.

Her strong dedication to international health led her to supervise 23 physical and occupational therapy students during their clinical placements between 2002 and 2012. Hilary’s students and colleagues agree that she is a “naturally engaging teacher who encourages those working with her to reflect upon their international experiences and to place much importance upon the needs and wants of the local community.” Hilary’s passion has been so influential that she has inspired her students to pursue their own international work. Hana Alazem was one such student: “Hilary has been motivating students like me to go for our passions and reap the benefits. I have now personally furthered my travels and passion and have taught my own paediatric rehab program for students in rural Nepal.”

Those who have had the opportunity to work with Hilary maintain that her “impact factor” is not measured in peer-reviewed publications or invited presentations, but rather in the “quality of her work and the number of individuals whose lives she has improved through her quiet, innovative and sustainable contributions”. Lesley Schwab, Hilary’s supporting nominator, considers her “outstanding contributions, to both her profession and patients, as speaking to the very spirit of this award.”