Research Scientist, Rehabilitation

Professor, Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy
University of British Columbia
Affiliated Researcher, Vancouver Coastal Research Institute
Investigator, Canadian Arthritis Network







Dr. Catherine Backman is an occupational therapist, educator and researcher interested in reducing the impact of arthritis on everyday activities. Her research explores participation in valued life roles like parenting and employment, and evaluates the outcome of occupational therapy and rehabilitation interventions. Catherine is interested in the psychosocial impact of chronic illness and strategies people use to live well while living with arthritis. She has published over 150 papers, abstracts and book chapters.

Dr. Backman earned her Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation degree at the University of British Columbia, Master of Science at the University of Washington, and PhD in Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia. Her professional career began in 1981 as an occupational therapist at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax, NS. She has been clinical instructor and a visiting lecturer in the School of Occupational Therapy at Dalhousie University, visiting assistant professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and scholar in residence at the School of Occupational Therapy, University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Backman is recognized as an exceptional mentor and leader. In 2004, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists awarded Catherine the Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship and named her a Fellow (FCAOT). She was the 2009 recipient of the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals, a Division of the American College of Rheumatology. Her research engages consumer collaborators as members of the research team, work recognized by the Arthritis Patient Advisory Board of Arthritis Research Canada.

Dr. Backman was Head, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy from January 1, 2012 to December 30, 2015. Currently a professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Dr. Backman led the development of the Master of Occupational Therapy program when it was introduced in 2004. She supervises MSc and PhD students in rehabilitation and interdisciplinary studies. In 2002, she received the prestigious Killam University Teaching Prize. Dr. Backm


  1. Backman, C.L. (2006). Psychosocial aspects in the management of arthritis pain. Arthritis Research & Therapy, 8:221. DOI:10.1186/ar2083.
  2. Backman, C.L., Del Fabro Smith, L., Smith, S., Montie, P.L., & Suto, M. (2007). The experiences of mothers living with inflammatory arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 57, 381-388.
  3. Backman, C.L., Village, J., Lacaille, D. (2008). The ergonomic assessment tool for arthritis (EATA): Development and pilot testing. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 59, 1495-1503.
  4. Gignac, M.A.M., Backman, C.L., Davis, A.M., Lacaille, D., Mattison, C.A., Montie, P. & Badley, E.M. (2008). Social role participation: What matters to people with arthritis? Journal of Rheumatology, 35, 1655–1663.
  5. Westby, M.D., Backman, C.L. & the North American Guidelines for Joint Replacement Rehabilitation Working Group. (2010). Patient and health professional views on rehabilitation practices and outcomes following total hip and knee arthroplasty for osteoarthritis: A focus group study. BMC Health Services Research, 10:119. DOI:10.1186/1472-6963-10-119.
  6. Del Fabro Smith, L., Suto, M., Chalmers, A. & Backman, C.L. (2011). Belief in doing and knowledge in being mothers with arthritis. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 31, 40-48.

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