A physiotherapist since 1967, Gloria’s interest in the management of the person with persistent pain really began in 1982.
Working in hospital and out-patient clinics for years, Gloria opened a private practice in London Ontario in 1982 (The Downtown Clinic, Physiotherapy & Health Counselling) because ‘she wanted to spend more time with her patients’.
However, it was also at that time that the Ontario Ministry of Health was cutting back on funded out-patient physiotherapy services.
Many of the patients who came to see Gloria had ‘no where else to go’ to get some type of treatment/ management for their longstanding pain problems or chronic medical conditions.
So, Gloria and her patients worked together. They listened to each other and began to understand that no two people experienced their pain problem the same way. And that no two people had exactly the same problem – even though many shared the ‘diagnosis’ of chronic pain.
The Downtown Clinic was a solo practice but a comprehensive program called Encompass was developed for people with persistent physical symptoms.
The program included a multidisciplinary team of providers, offering educational counselling, occupational therapy, massage therapy, aquatic exercises and ‘group work’ on site. In the mid-1980’s, Parkwood Hospital began an in-patient pain program co-ordinated by the late physiatrist Dr. Pamela Barton. The hospital patients were transported to The Downtown Clinic for the innovative Encompass half day program, 3 times a week.
In 2015, after 33 years of being a Clinic owner, Gloria closed The Downtown Clinic.
Gloria was in the first class at McGill University which offered a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physiotherapy in 1967.
In 2002, she earned her Master of Science degree from Western University (University of Western Ontario). Her research focused on the ‘other symptoms’ (spatial and perceptual problems), that often-accompanied people with chronic neck pain.
For the first 5 years after graduation, the Gilbert family lived in Cleveland,Ohio. Gloria worked at the Cleveland Metropolitan General (City) Hospital and at an outpatient paediatric facility called The Heman Centre.
Moving to London in 1972, Gloria worked at the Crippled Children’s Treatment Centre (currently The Thames Valley Children’s Centre) and then Victoria Hospital (currently London Health Sciences Centre, Victoria Campus).
For many years, Gloria and other like-minded colleagues in London – of different health care disciplines – worked together to learn more about the person ‘experiencing chronic pain’ and how to better treat and manage their problems.
In 2011, Gloria was honoured by the Canadian Physiotherapy Association with the Lifetime Membership Award for her commitment and outstanding service to her clients and the physiotherapy profession.
Throughout the years, and before Pain Sciences was a recognized sub- specialty area in physiotherapy, Gloria has continued to offer workshops and courses on assessment, treatment and management of the person presenting with chronic pain.
Delayed recovery from trauma is a topic she continues to develop- noting the possibility that a mild traumatic brain injury may have occurred at the same time as the ‘injury’ – trauma which may cause other problems like visual, vestibular (balance) and spatial problems.