Gary Bedell, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Dr. Bedell is associate professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Tufts University. His research and scholarship involves development of measures and interventions focused on participation of children and youth with disabilities. He consults, writes and presents on conceptual and methodological considerations for measuring participation and the physical and social environment. His measures are used nationally and internationally.
He is author of the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP) and Child and Adolescent Scale of Environment (CASE) and co-author of the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY) and Young Children's Participation and Environment Measure (YC-PEM). Dr. Bedell was Measurement Core Co-director for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Interventions for Children and Youth with Traumatic Brain Injury and is Collaborating Researcher for the CanChild Centre for Childhood Disability Research, McMaster University. His currently funded research involves development and testing of an app-based coaching intervention for teenagers with traumatic brain injury: Social Participation And Navigation (SPAN).McCauley, S.R, Wilde, E.A., Anderson, V., Bedell, G., Beers, S., ... & Yeates, K.O. (2012).
Q and A
Identify three words that others have used to describe you.Pragmatic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary.
How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
My plan is to continue to collaborate with multiple stakeholders locally and globally to ensure best practices to measure and promote participation of individuals with disabilities across the lifespan in home, school and community life. My hope is that my work and the work of many of my esteemed colleagues will ensure that stakeholders are able to select measures that can address their information goals and select intervention approaches that acknowledge and leverage the expertise of clients and their loved ones.
What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
I would first say that there are many pathways to embark or re-embark on a career in science and research depending on your life situation, opportunities and level of commitment. These pathways could be in the form of post-doctoral fellowships, mentored research award, or developing your own self-directed collaborations with more experienced research mentors that are doing work in areas that resonate with you. Also, a committed work ethic, openness to feedback and development of a thick skin particularly in response to grant proposals that may not be funded or manuscripts that might be rejected or require extensive revisions will serve you well (I'm still working on the thicker skin).
Beside your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?
An important future priority is research that examines effective, efficient and safe uses of technology and tele- health to deliver occupational therapy or occupational therapy-informed interdisciplinary interventions to help individuals with disabilities or at risk of disability and their loved ones to manage or co-manage daily life activities. I also believe continued study into the health and societal benefits of meaningful occupation are critical for the future of occupational therapy and science.
Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
My mentors provided me with numerous opportunities that challenged me to step out of my comfort zone and provided me with constructive feedback along the way. This started in my doctoral program at NYU with Dr. Jim Hinojosa and continued during my post-doctoral fellowship at BU with Drs. Stephen Haley, Wendy Coster and Alan Jette. Key advice that has served me well was to collaborate and share resources with colleagues across disciplines and to seek out multiple funding sources especially when starting out whether this be through private foundations, professional associations, federal funding or internal funding.
Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Kayaking with my dogs in Provincetown, Massachusetts where I also dabble a little bit in painting (so hard to choose one occupation :) .
What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most rewarding aspect of my work is the acknowledgement that many interdisciplinary colleagues around the world are using my measures and citing my prior studies to inform their research. This would not have been possible without the strong collaborations and sharing of knowledge and expertise I have had along the way.
McCauley, S.R, Wilde, E.A., Anderson, V., Bedell, G., Beers, S., ... & Yeates, K.O. (2012). Recommendations for the use of common outcome measures on pediatric traumatic brain injury research. Journal of Neurotrauma, 29, 678-705. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.1838. PMID 21644810.
Bedell, G., Coster, W., Law, M., Liljenquist, K., Kao, YC, Teplicky, R., Anaby, D, & Khetani, MA (2013). Community participation, supports and barriers of school-age children with and without disabilities. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 94, 315-323. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2012.09.024. PMID 23044364.
Bedell, G., Khetani, M. Cousins, M., Coster, W., & Law, M. (2011). Parent perspectives to inform development of measures of children's participation and environment. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 9, 765- 773. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2010.12.029. PMID 21530724.
Bedell, G., & McDougall, J. (2013). The Child and Adolescent Scale of Environment (CASE): Further validation with youth who have chronic health conditions. Developmental Neurorehabilitation. Early online publication. doi: 10.3109/17518423.2103.855273. PMID 24304145.
McDougall, J., Bedell, G., & Wright, V. (2013). The youth report version of the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP): Assessment of psychometric properties and comparison with parent report. Child: Care, Health and Development, 39
, 512-522. doi: 10.1111/cch.12050. PMID 23763252.