Sharon Brintnell, MSc, OT(C), FCAOT

Pronouns: She,Her,Hers


Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine - Occupational Therapy


Area of Study / Keywords

Occupational Performance Profiles Special Populations and Meaningful Activity


Background Information

As an occupational therapist, Professor Brintnell worked primarily with adults with mental illness and individuals with neurological disorders. Educated as both a physical and occupational therapist, Professor Brintnell's interests focused on the biopsychosocial perspective of a person’s everyday functioning. Her graduate work was in family studies (Human Ecology), counselling and exploring the marital relationships of couples where the husband sustained a spinal cord injury after marriage. She joined the University of Alberta in 1971 and was chairman of the department for 13 years and acting dean for one year. Professor Brintnell is past president of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT),2008-2014 following ten years as their VP Finance and of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT), 1978-79. She is the recipient of many awards and has fellowships from both organizations to recognize her outstanding leadership and development of the profession nationally and internationally. On her retirement in 2018, the Department of Occupational therapy established the Sharon Brintnell Lectureship.

Professional Interests

Professor Brintnell’s research focuses on the functional impact of disorders on everyday living. As the developer and past director of the Occupational Performance Analysis Unit (OPAU), Professor Brintnell pioneered a fee-for-service not-for-profit private practice model. It demonstrated increased access to community occupational therapy services and the capacity of occupational therapists to respond to service needs outside the formal health care funding system. The model focuses on functional assessments and occupational profiles for special populations such as medicolegal clients and those with developmental disabilities using an interdisciplinary model of community-based rehabilitation services to veterans and First Nations Communities. Areas of interest are the functioning of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) adults in the community with connections to the Justice System (Corrections to Community Connections project,3C, (Brintnell et al.2019)), capacity building of the international profession in education and leadership, and furthering the use and application of the Evaluation of Meaningful Activity Survey (EMAS) which she co-developed (Goldberg, Brintnell & Goldberg, 2002).


Current Research

Professor Brintnell continues to advance occupational performance findings of the 3C project through research with the Northwest Central Alberta (NWCA) FASD network (Just published results of Justice Project, 2021). This activity includes supporting members of two Indigenous communities in contact with the justice system. Dr. Ada Leung of the Department and the NWCA FASD network make up part of the research collaboration to expand the impact of earlier research on community service planning by adding a fMRI evaluation to the FASD assessment and diagnostic protocol data. 


Retired but provides seminars on private practice models in occupational therapy and group facilitation in population-based psychoeducational sessions for a variety of clients.