Dr., Major (Retired) Luc J. Hébert first graduated as a physiotherapist from the University of Montreal in 1982. He obtained a master’s degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montreal in 1989 and a PhD in Experimental Medicine at l’Université Laval in 2001. He also trained in orthopedic medicine and became a Fellow of the Society of Orthopaedic Medicine of London, England, in 1994. Currently, Dr. Hébert is a very active and prolific researcher at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS) in addition to being the director of research at the Radiology and Nuclear Medicine department and a full professor within the Department of Rehabilitation at l’Universté Laval. He is also actively teaching at UQAC and Sherbrooke Universities and has been working as adjunct professor at the graduate Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Toronto.
Dr. Hébert’s contribution to military and Veterans’ health began soon after obtaining his physiotherapy degree when he completed his basic training as Medical Associate Officer at the Canadian Forces Officer Candidate School in B.C. He then served with the Regular Forces for 14 years and was appointed to different units within Canada and overseas. To name a few, these include: the National Defense Medical Center in Ottawa; four Field Ambulance CFB Lahr in Germany; the CAF Hospitals of the Royal Military College Saint-Jean; the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School at the Saint-Jean Garrison; and the Centre de Santé Valcartier at the Valcartier Garrison.
While attached with the 1st Canadian Field Hospital Detachment Ottawa as an active reserve member, Dr. Hébert worked from 2000 to 2014 as the National Physiotherapy Training Director for the CF Health services Group, Headquarter, Directorate Medical Policy. In that capacity, he implemented the first comprehensive research program in physiotherapy and Physical Rehabilitation for the CAF and established a standardized model of PT practice embedded in the CF Primary Care Renewal Initiative Model, which is a patient-centered model focusing on collaborative practice. This work led to the implementation of an extended PT scope of practice and a specific preceptorship training for both in Garrison and deployed PTs confirming the role of CAF Physiotherapists as primary care practitioners.
His 30 years of research, since 1989, has focused on the health of military and Veterans on a variety of topics such as: the use of a systematic process to reduce MSK injuries in the CAF, the quantification of muscle and joint requirements during the weight load march, the biomechanical analysis of ship ladder descent in the NAVY, pain, impairments and functional limitations profiles in RCAF helicopter aircrew, the development of specific assessment and treatment protocols for CAF members suffering from a painful patella-femoral syndrome, ankle sprains, rotator cuff tendinopathies, and low back pain, to name only a few. His current research focuses on the variables that best explain and predict neuromusculoskeletal injuries(NMSK) as well as factors limiting the functional performance of persons with a strong interest for muscular function and motor control. He also developed an expertise in the assessment of NMSK pathologies using novel imaging techniques such as interventional magnetic resonance, and virtual reality. Dr. Hébert is also recognized as an international leader on the outcome measures initiatives in type 1 Myotonic Dystrophy (DM1) for the Muscle testing and training Special Interest Group. This work led to a SOP to assess muscle function in therapeutic trials for neuromuscular diseases (Ataxia, DM1 and Oculopharyngeal muscular dystrophy OPMD)) notably with pharmaceutical industries (BIOGEN MA Inc. (DM1) and Bioblast Pharma (OPMD).
As PI and Co-PI of many studies on the assessment of physical activity limitations and muscle impairments including biomechanical, motor control, and imaging variables, he has obtained nearly six million dollars in research funding involving more than 346 scientific communications (including thesis, book chapters, abstracts) as well as 64 research papers in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Hébert also contributed to the training of 28 graduate students, many who have gone onto clinical and academic careers as well.
Dr Hébert contributed to a book chapter on functional MRI and wrote two books on muscle function. He established international standards for the assessment of muscle impairments with several populations with the publication of the biggest database of muscle strength reference values. This work has led to the implementation of a SOP including an ISO certification process (Hébert LJ, 2011 (rev 2019), ISBN2-9809219-2-0) allowing him to train more than a thousand clinicians in Canada, United States, Belgium and France. He also published research work on the use of novel imaging techniques, and more recently on the development of a versatile VR platform using interactive virtual environments to promote innovative and effective rehabilitation for CAF soldiers. As an active member of the Interallied confederation of medical reserve officers, he was invited as keynote speaker for scientific conferences in several countries such as Vienna, Ghent, Brussel, Paris, and Latvia, to name only a few. Further knowledge translation include a number of training sessions and conferences on the assessment of muscle strength impairments held in several institutions including 49 Hospitals, four Research centers, five Universities, and two professional Colleges.
Dr. Hébert has been a member of the Canadian Institute for Military and Veteran Health Research (CIMVHR) College of Peer Reviewers since 2011 and has been nominated Fellow of the CIMVHR in 2019. He is also a peer reviewer on several scientific international journals including Journal of Neuromuscular Diseases, Annals of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, Human Movement Science, The Journal of Military, Veteran, and Family Health, Physical Therapy, Advances in Physiotherapy, BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, and Measurement in Physical Education and Exercise Science. From 2000 to 2014, as a researcher and active military reserve member, he was involved in the International Helmet Fit Workshop, HFM-RTG 52 on Aircrew Neck Pain with other countries of the NATO.
Dr. Hébert received several awards and honors notably the Canadian Decoration (CD), the CFHS Surgeon General's Clinical Coin, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association Life Membership Award, the Carol-L.-Richards research award, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association's Centenary Medal of Distinction, and the tile of fellow from the Ordre professionnel de la physiothérapie du Québec.