Photo of HeatherHeather Carnahan Professor

Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Cross Appointments

  • Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
  • Professor, Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science
  • Director of Centre for Ambulatory Care Education (CACE) at Women's College Hospital
  • Adjunct Scientist, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • BMO Chair in Health Professions Education Reserach, The Wilson Centre

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Prior to joining the University of Toronto Dr. Carnahan was a Professor in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Waterloo where she established an international reputation in the field of motor control and learning. She was also formerly a faculty member in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Western Ontario. Her current interests involve studying the role of sensory inputs such as touch and vision in the performance of skilled hand movements. Her clinical research is directed at applying current motor control and learning theory to studying the acquisition of technical clinical skills.

Selected Recent Publications

  1. Brydges, R., Carnahan, H., Rose, D., Rose, L., & Dubrowski, A. (2010). Coordinating progressive levels of simulation fidelity to maximize educational benefit. Academic Medicine, 85, 806-812.
  2. Green, S., Grierson, L., Dubrowski, A., & Carnahan, H. (2010). Transfer effects on grasping force control. Brain and Cognition, 72, 385-393.
  3. Carnahan, H., Dubrowski, A., & Walsh, C. (2010). Medical Education Research: The Importance of Research Design and a Programmatic Approach. Medical Education, 44, 1161-1163.
  4. Schneider, S., Brümmer, V., Carnahan, H., Kleinert, J., Piacentini, M.F., Meeussen, R., Strüder, H.K. (2010). Exercise as a countermeasure to psycho-physiological deconditioning during long-term confinement. Behavioural Brain Research, 211, 208-214

Recent Thesis/Projects Supervised

  1. Ryan Brydges (co-advised with A. Dubrowski), 2009. Self assessment and learning of technical surgical skills Institute for Medical Science. Wilson Centre Fellow, University of Toronto.
  2. Eric Hagemann, M.Sc. Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Motor learning principles applied to training rehabilitation specialists, 2009, University of Toronto.
  1. Camille Williams, MHSC. Clinical Engineering. The influence of computer simulation on the retention of gowning and gloving skills. 2010, University of Toronto

Research Interests

Motor control and learning; Technical/clinical skills education.

Current Courses

OCT 1121H: Research Issues and Approaches in Occupational Therapy

Special Lectures / Keynote Speeches

  1. Carnahan, H. The other half of the learning curve: Forgetting and remediation. Bayfield Meeting for Health Professions Education. Bayfield, ON, June 2010.
  2. Carnahan, H. Technical skill remediation. Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons, Meeting of the Coalition for Physician Enhancement, Toronto, ON, June, 2009.
  3. Carnahan, H. From young scientist award to health professions education: A 20 year journey. SCAPPS, Banff, AB, November, 2008.


Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy