Ben Mortenson, PhD, MSc, BScOT, OT, FCAOT

Profile portrait of Ben Mortenson

Professor & Department Head

phone: 604–675–8870



After graduating from the University of Alberta in 1991, I worked as a clinician in acute and residential care before starting graduate studies at UBC in 1998. I am an emerging leader in the field of aging and assistive technology; in 2016 I received the CIHR New Investigator Award. Outside of work, I am a father of three busy, young children and a dedicated bicyclist, recreational chorister and backcountry enthusiast.




SCI Community Forum


My research focuses on four overlapping areas: assistive technology, social participation, caregiving and outcome measurement. My work is centered on four main populations: assistive technology users, informal and formal caregivers, individuals with spinal cord injury and residents in long-term care.


Here is a link to the standardized instructions for administering the ScanCourse, dual task measure of visual scanning during ambulation/while wheeling.

ScanCourse Manual

Here is a link to the power mobility assessment safety and training guidelines we previously developed.

Safety & Training Guidelines


My teaching philosophy has its roots in the tenets of student-centred learning and the principles of adult learning. I am currently an instructor with the UBC MOT program and the on-line MRSC program.

Graduate and Postdoctoral Research Opportunities

I am currently supervising two doctoral candidates, four MSc students, one MRSc student, and co-supervising two post-doctoral students. I also supervise a variety of MOT student research projects and have four research staff (two full-time). I have funding available for graduate students on a number of projects. If you would like to discuss graduate level training opportunities, please contact me.



  • BMJ Open
  • Disability and Rehabilitation
  • Social Science and Medicine
  • Physical Therapy (PTJ)
  • Canadian Medical Association Journal
  • Canadian Journal on Aging
  • Ageing and Society
  • BMJ: Clinical Trials
  • Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy
  • Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • Reviewer, AGE-WELL Highly Qualified Personnel Competition
  • Reviewer for CIHR Project Grant Competition
  • Reviewer for Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation Spinal Cord Injury Grants Review Committee


  • Chair, Clinical Faculty Committee, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia
  • Canadian Association on Gerontology
  • Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists
  • Assistive Technology Journal Editorial Board Member

Select Publications

*link to articles provided when possible*

Alfiya Battalova, Sheemouna Gurung, Hailey-Thomas Ford, Gurkaran Singh, W. Ben Mortenson, Habib Chaudhury (2024) Exploring the social determinants of health from the perspectives of people with spinal cord injuries: A disability studies approach, SSM – Qualitative Research in Health, 5, DOI: 10.1016/j.ssmqr.2024.100408

Delphine Labbé, Daryl G. Yao, William C. Miller, François Routhier, Paula W. Rushton, Louise Demers & W. Ben Mortenson (2024) Positive and negative experiences of caregivers helping power wheelchair users: a mixed-method study, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2024.2313080

Kishore Seetharaman, Atiya Mahmood, Farinaz Rikhtehgaran, Ghazaleh Akbarnejad, Farrukh Chishtie, Mike Prescott, Alison Chung & W. Ben Mortenson (2024) Influence of the built environment on community mobility of people living with visual disabilities: a scoping review, Urban, Planning and Transport Research, 12:1, DOI: 10.1080/21650020.2023.2296891

Pegah Derakhshan, William C. Miller, Andrea Bundon, Delphine Labbé, Tanelle Bolt, W. Ben Mortenson (2023) Adaptive outdoor physical activities for adults with mobility disability: a scoping review, Frontiers in Rehabilitation Science, DOI: 10.3389/fresc.2023.1331971

Jeawon, Murveena, Bethany Hase, Susanna Miller, Janice Eng, Andrea Bundon, Habib Chaudhury, Jocelyn Maffin, Ryan Clarkson, Jenna Wright, and Ben Mortenson (2023) Exploring the Quality of Life of People with Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury Who Can Ambulate, Disabilities, DOI: 10.3390/disabilities3040029

Sharon Jang, R. Lee Kirby, Laura Hurd, Sandra Hobson, Richelle Emery & W. Ben Mortenson (2023) Wheelchair Skills Test in simulated versus community settings: a mixed-methods crossover study of experienced motorized mobility scooter users, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2023.2252004 (Free e-print)

Mahsa Khalili, Angela Eugenio, Allison Wood, Machiel Van der Loos, W. Ben Mortenson & Jaimie Borisoff (2023) Perceptions of power-assist devices: interviews with manual wheelchair users, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2021.1906963 (Free e-print)

W. Ben Mortenson, Alfiya Battalova, Laura Hurd, Sandra Hobson, Richelle Emery and R. Lee Kirby (2023) Correlates of self-reported Wheelchair Skills Test Questionnaire scores of new users of mobility scooters: a cross-sectional study, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2021.1874065 (Free e-print)

Emma M. Smith, William C. Miller, Ian Mitchell, W. Ben Mortenson, Alex Mihailidis (2023) Evaluation of the feasibility of an error-minimized approach to powered wheelchair skills training using shared control, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2020.1849434 (Free e-print)

Dennis R. Louie, W. Ben Mortenson, Michelle Lui, Melanie Durocher, Robert Teasell, Jennifer Yao & Janice J. Eng (2021) Patients’ and therapists’ experience and perception of exoskeleton-based physiotherapy during subacute stroke rehabilitation: a qualitative analysis, Disability and Rehabilitation, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2021.1989503 (Free e-print)

Jaquelyn Webber, Jennifer Wuschke, Bonita Sawatzky & W. Ben Mortenson (2021) Evaluating common approaches to improve visibility of wheelchair users, Assistive Technology, 33:4, 201-205, DOI: 10.1080/10400435.2019.1608478 (Free e-print)

Kristine A. Theurer, Robyn I. Stone, Melinda J. Suto, Virpi Timonen, Susan G. Brown & W. Ben Mortenson (2021) ‘It makes life worthwhile!’ Peer mentoring in long-term care—a feasibility study, Aging & Mental Health, 25:10, 1887-1896, DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2020.1849023 (Free e-print)

Darien Merrick, Kyle Hillman, Alice Wilson, Delphine Labbé, Alex Thompson & W. Ben Mortenson (2021) All aboard: users’ experiences of adapted paddling programs, Disability and Rehabilitation, 43:20, 2945-2951, DOI: 10.1080/09638288.2020.1725153 (Free e-print)

Mahsa Khalili, Chelsea Jonathan, Nicole Hocking, Machiel Van der Loos, W. Ben Mortenson & Jaimie Borisoff (2021) Perception of autonomy among people who use wheeled mobility assistive devices: dependence on environment and contextual factors, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2021.1978565 (Free e-print)

Rushton, P. W., Mortenson, W. B., Viswanathan, P., Wang, R. H., Miller, W. C., Hurd Clarke, L., & CanWheel Research Team. (2017). Intelligent power wheelchair use in long-term care: Potential users’ experiences and perceptions. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12(7), 740-746. doi:10.1080/17483107.2016.1260653.

Mortenson, W. B., Demers, L., Rushton, P., Auger, C., Routhier, F., & Miller, W. C. (2017). Psychometric properties of a power mobility caregiver assistive technology outcome measure. PLOS ONE, 12(6): e0178554.

Mortenson, W. B., Jang, S., Goldsmith, C. H., Hurd Clarke, L., Hobson, S., & Emery, R. (2017). Feasibility of a systematic, comprehensive, one to one training (SCOOT) program for new scooter users: Study protocol for a randomized control trial. BioMed Central Trials, 18(1), 235-243.

Rushton, P. W., Labbé, D.,Demers, L., Miller, W. C., Mortenson, W. B., & Kirby, R. L. (2017). Understanding the burden experienced by caregivers of older adults who use a powered wheelchair: A cross-sectional study. Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, 3(0), 1-8. doi:10.1177/2333721417703736

Shing, J., James, L., Mortenson, W. B., Mattie. J., & Borisoff, J. (2017). Experiences with and perceptions of an adaptive hiking program. Disability and Rehabilitation, 0(0): 17. doi:

Mahmoud, H., Qannam, H., Zbogar, D., & Mortenson, W. B. (2017). Spinal cord injury rehabilitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Time to rehabilitation admission, length of stay, and functional independence. Spinal Cord, 1-6. doi:10.1038/sc.2016.165.

Hazem Qannam, Husam Mahmoud & W. Ben Mortenson (2017) Traumatic brain injury rehabilitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Time to rehabilitation admission, length of stay and functional outcome, Brain Injury, 31:5, 702-708, DOI: 10.1080/02699052.2017.1286386

Martin Ginis, K. A., Evans, M. B., Mortenson, W. B., & Noreau, L. M. (2017). Broadening the conceptualization of ‘participation’ of persons with physical disabilities: A configurative review and recommendations. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 98(2), 395-402. doi:

Mortenson, W. B., Hurd Clarke, L, Goldsmith, C. H., Jang, S., & Kirby, R. L. (2017). Measurement properties of the Wheelchair Skills Test for scooters among experienced users. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 0(0), 1-6. doi:10.1080/17483107.2017.1280546. 

W. Ben Mortenson, Laura Hurd Clarke, Charlie H. Goldsmith, Sharon Jang & R. Lee Kirby (2018) Measurement properties of the Wheelchair Skills Test for scooters among experienced users, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 13:1, 60-65, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2017.1280546

Wada, M., Mortenson, W. B., & Hurd Clarke, L. (2017). Older adults’ online dating profiles and successful ageing. Canadian Journal on Ageing, 35(4). 479-490. doi:10.1017/S071114980816000507.

Mahmoud, H., Qannam, H., Zbogar, D., & Mortenson, W. B. (2017). Spinal cord injury rehabilitation in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Time to rehabilitation admission, length of stay, and functional independence. Spinal Cord, 1-6. doi:10.1038/sc.2016.165.

Giesbrecht, E. M., Smith, E. M., Mortenson, W. B., & Miller, W. C. (2016). Met and unmet needs for mobility device, home modification, and personal assistance among wheeled mobility device users in Canada. Health Reports, TBD. [accepted]

Paula W. Rushton, Ben W. Mortenson, Pooja Viswanathan, Rosalie H. Wang, William C. Miller, Laura Hurd Clarke & CanWheel Research Team (2017) Intelligent power wheelchair use in long-term care: potential users’ experiences and perceptions, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 12:7, 740-746, DOI: 10.1080/17483107.2016.1260653

Mortenson, W. B., Sixsmith, A., & Kaufman, D. (2016). Non-digital game playing in older adults. Canadian Journal on Aging, 36(3), TBD.

Demers, L., Mortenson, W. B., Fuhrer, M. J., Jutai, J. W., Plante, M., Mah, J., & DeRuyter, F. (2016). Effect of a tailored assistive technology intervention on older adults and their family caregivers: A pragmatic study protocol. BioMed Central Geriatrics, 16(103), 2-11. doi:10.1186/s12877-016-0269-3

Bishop, A. M., & Mortenson, W. B. (2016). Discharge criteria and follow-up support for dementia care units. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 35(3), 321-30. doi:10.1177/0733464815577140

Kaufman, D., Sauvé, L. Renaud, L., Sixsmith, A., & Mortenson, W. B. (2016). Older adults’ digital gameplay: patterns, benefits, and challenges. Simulation & Gaming, 1-25. doi:10.1177/1046878116645736

Mortenson, W. B., Sixsmith, A., & Beringer, R. (2016). No place like home? Surveillance technologies and the meaning of home in old age. Canadian Journal on Aging, 35(1), 103-114. doi:10.1017/S0714980815000549

Mortenson, W. B., Hoag, E., Higgins, R., Emery, R., & Joyce, L. (2016). Stakeholders’ perspectives related to the development of a scooter training program. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 11(4), 289-294. doi:10.3109/17483107.2014.1001449

Smith, E. M., Giesbrecht, E. M., Mortenson, W. B., & Miller, W. C. (2016). Prevalence of wheelchair and scooter use among community dwelling Canadians. Physical Therapy, 96(8), 1135–1142. doi:

Mortenson, W. B., & Kim, J. (2016). A scoping review of mobility scooter-related research studies. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 53(5), 531-540. doi: