As an occupational therapist, Professor Brintnell worked primarily with adults with mental illness but also individuals with neurological disorders. Educated as both a physical and occupational therapist, her interests have focused on the biopsychosocial perspective of a person’s everyday functioning. Her graduate work was in family studies (Human Ecology) 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 was the president of World Federation of Occupational Therapists (2008-2014) following 10 years as their VP Finance.
Professor Brintnell’s research focus is on the functional impact of disorders on everyday living. As 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 focus is on functional assessments and occupational profiles for special populations such as medicolegal clients and developmental disabilities and on an interdisciplinary model of community based rehabilitation services to veterans and First Nations Communities. Two other areas of interest are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders to address the needs of adults in the community and in connection with the Justice System and capacity building of the international profession in education and leadership.