Derek Debassige is a member of the M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island, and is a graduate of McMaster University in both Kinesiology (’98) and Physiotherapy (’00). The development of his career has taken him to Curtin University (Perth, Australia) to study with the world-class leaders where he obtained a Graduate Certificate in Orthopedic Manual Therapy, then back to McMaster to earn a Contemporary Medical Acupuncture certificate (adding to training from the Acupuncture Foundation of Canada Institute). Derek is also credentialed in areas of concussion management, Assistive Devices Program (ADP) mobility equipment authorization, Selective Functional Movement Assessment (SFMA), vestibular rehabilitation and has a long standing special interest in persistent pain management.
Derek served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine from 2009-13, and is still affiliated with NOSM hosting physiotherapy and medical learners. He is also a former board member and Chair of the National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO), and has served locally as an elected councillor of the M'Chigeeng First Nation, Chairing MFN's Health Services committee ('13-'15).
As a lifetime member of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association (and Ontario Physiotherapy Association), Derek has been called upon to formally contribute to leadership projects, strategic plans and the development of the CPA's position statement on the Role of Physiotherapy in Aboriginal Health. Having spent his entire career working with First Nations in some capacity, Derek continues to advocate and contribute to local, provincial and national health advocacy efforts.
As a varsity volleyball alumnus from McMaster, he continues contributing to sport on Manitoulin through volunteer training/coaching at the highschool, and participation in multiple North American Indigenous Games. Derek has a particular passion for motocross - both racing and coaching and supports a number of youth racers each year under the Thunderbird Racing banner.
In his spare time, he can be found on the water (frozen or not) - boating, fishing, wakeboarding, and swimming in summer; playing hockey, snowmobiling and snowboarding in winter.
2016 McMaster University Distinguished Rehabilitation Science Alumni Award
2010 Northern Ontario Business Awards (NOBA): First Nations Business Award of Excellence
2009 Waubetek Youth Entrepreneur of the Year
2008 Health Recognition Award, Aboriginal Health Resources Initiative, Union of Ontario Indians
2005 North Shore Tribal Council - Outstanding Staff Appreciation award.