Academy of Research

Betty R. Hasselkus, PhD, OTR, FAOTA


Dr. Hasselkus "is an Emeritus Professor of Kinesiology/Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she served as Program Director for ten years. . . . Dr. Hasselkus has focused her research, teaching and practice on the everyday occupational experience of people in the community, with a special emphasis on family care giving for older family members, physician-family caregiver relationships, meanings of everyday occupation to dementia day care staff, and the meaning of doing occupational therapy. . . . 

In 2005, she was awarded the AOTA Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award and subsequently gave the award lecture in 2006. Dr. Hasselkus was editor of The American Journal of Occupational Therapy from 1998-2003."  (Retrieved on April 29, 2015 from  Dr. Hasselkus was named one of the 100 Influential People in occupational therapy by AOTA. 

Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.   

Well Organized; Smart; Down to Earth 

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?   

To expand therapists' understandings about the experience of working together with people within their social contexts, and to increase our appreciation of the everyday lives of our clients.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?  

Have a love of learning.

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?   

Link our areas of research to research in other professions; strengthen our place in the therapeutic research world.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.  

Most important early on (Master's level);  mentors kept me from feeling separated from the profession when I had little kids, brought part-time opportunities to my attention.  Later I was much more on my own and I guess more or less "mentored" myself.  

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.   

Piano, piano, piano -- I love it.  

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?   

For me, I think the fact that being a published researcher in a world-class university opened up doors for me around the world.  I had never thought in those terms as I was working on the doctorate, but it happened for me and definitely changed my life.  



Hasselkus, BR.  (2006). The 2006 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture: The world of everyday occupation: real people, real lives. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 60, 627-640. 

Hasselkus, BR. (2011). (2nd Ed.) The meaning of everyday occupation. Thorofare, NJ : SLACK.

Hasselkus, BR & Murray, BJ.  (2007). Everyday occupation, well-being, and identity: the experience of caregivers in families with dementia. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 61, 9-20.  

Rosa, SA & Hasselkus, BR.  (2005).  Finding common ground with patients: the centrality of compatibility.  The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 198-208.


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