Jan Haffner Receives Unique Initiative Award

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Jan Haffner Receives Unique Initiative Award

April 28, 2007 - This award is presented at the discretion of the Awards Committee to a Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association member or group of physical therapists who have shown initiative to contribute to health care in an innovative or unique way. The award was established in 2003 and is only awarded when an opportunity to recognize an extraordinary effort has presented itself, not necessarily on an annual basis. Jan is the third recipient of this award.

Jan Haffner (left) receives the Unique Initiative Award from Dr. Suzanne Sheppard (right)


Jan Haffner (left) receives the Unique Initiative Award from Dr. Suzanne Sheppard (right)


Jan Haffner is a physical therapist who has made a unique and outstanding contribution to the care of pulmonary patients in the province of Saskatchewan and in Canada. Jan graduated from the University of Saskatchewan, earning her Diploma in Physical Therapy in 1978 and her Bachelor in Physical Therapy in 1981. Jan worked at Saskatoon City Hospital until 1988, and for many of those years was the Senior Physical Therapist working in Respiratory care. In 1989 she became the Director of Community Programs for the Saskatchewan Lung Association, while continuing to do casual work at City Hospital until 1996. In 1999, she received her Certified Asthma Educator designation and 2006 brought her Certified Respiratory Educator designation. During her career, Jan has volunteered for both the Saskatchewan Physiotherapy Association and the Saskatchewan College of Physical Therapists, and continues to serve as a Clinical Lecturer for the School of Physical Therapy. She has participated on numerous committees and organizations related to lung disease and respiratory care and made presentations at national and international conferences. Jan is currently the Vice-President of Health Initiatives for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan (LAS).

Jan's professional portfolio demonstrates an exceptional contribution to the management and care of lung disease for people in Saskatchewan and in Canada and her ability to establish partnerships in industry, health regions, and government has been instrumental in the provincial and national management plan for lung disease. Trent Litzenberger comments that Jan has contributed to the Canadian Thoracic Society's Best Practice Guidelines for the Management of COPD and has led the Lung Association's development, marketing, and implementation of RESPtrec© (Respiratory Education and Training Courses) for health care providers nationwide. These professional training courses, including AsthmaTrec and COPDTrec are now the leading such courses in Canada, and have allowed health care providers the ability to provide gold standard patient education and care with confidence. Brian Graham of the Lung Association of Saskatchewan notes that one of the unique features of AsthmaTrec is that it was the first program to be community-based. Participants can attend a course in their local area. The course has a distance-learning module combined with a workshop that can be run over weekends to minimize the time needed away from work to complete the course. He goes on to report that in the past few national certification examinations for asthma educators, the majority of candidates were AsthmaTrec graduates and that they had the highest pass-rates.

Jan is the also director of the yearly summer camp for children with asthma, a camp in which numerous physical therapy students have learned how to deal in practical terms with children who have asthma.  This novel approach to physical therapy student education has had exciting results as students become more aware of this aspect of our profession. A clinical practicum at Asthma Camp is much sought after by our physiotherapy students.

Jan also acts as spokesperson for the LAS on various respiratory issues, provides consultation to the general public and lung disease patients and participates in health education and other awareness strategies. Suzanne Sheppard writes, As Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Lung Association of Saskatchewan, she oversees the development, resourcing and staffing of all community programs. She has been very supportive of Saskatoon Health Region's Pulmonary Rehab Program, a support which has been important in the development of permanent status for this important initiative.

Jan has in many ways worked outside the traditional role for a physical therapist, yet in doing so has expanded the horizons for her profession and enhanced the direction the profession is moving. Excellence in health care comes from a variety of roles and initiatives and the work that Jan has done certainly qualifies her for the Unique Initiative Award of Merit.


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