Your Foundation for Life!
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Dr. Charles H. Christiansen, 
Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Charles Christiansen assumed duties as Chief Executive Officer (Executive Director) of the Foundation in March 2008. Prior to that, he served as Vice Provost for Health Sciences at the University of Minnesota Rochester and Founding Director, Center for Allied Health Programs. From 1993-2006, Dr. Christiansen served as Dean and George T. Bryan Distinguished Professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch and earlier as Professor and Director, School of Rehabilitation Sciences at The University of British Columbia. His academic career has spanned over three decades.

Chuck earned his doctorate from The University of Houston and completed a post-doctoral residency through Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He holds master's and professional undergraduate degrees from Ball State University and the University of North Dakota. He is the co-editor and author of 10 textbooks and has written or published over 100 chapters, articles and monographs. Chuck is married to Beth Jones, PhD and has three adult children. He resides in Rockville, Maryland and Rochester, Minnesota.

If your organization is interested in having Dr. Christiansen speak at an event, feel free to download an information sheet or contact Jeanne Cooper at
Cara F. Archer
Development Associate and Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE) Coordinator

Cara Archer joined the Foundation as Development Associate and Pi Theta Epsilon (PTE) Coordinator in August 2012.  Previously, Cara served as Development Associate and Events Coordinator with The Prevention of Blindness Society, where she coordinated the society's annual Gala, American Girl Fashion Show and other fundraisers.  Cara has more than 10 years of experience as a fundraising and event management professional.  Cara has also served as Customer Service Coordinator at the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

Cara is a Certified Massage Therapist and is accredited by the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB).  Cara is currently enrolled in Montgomery College.  She is a volunteer with the Georgetown Business District and CAUSE and resides in Rockville, Maryland.


 Julie D. Bass,
Associate Director, Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health

Julie D. Bass, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA began her appointment as the Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health in April 2012.  The Associate Director is a newly established position which will further AOTF's mission of research, education, and public awareness for occupational therapy.  The Associate Director will establish innovative programs, engage researchers, educators, and practitioners in AOTF initiatives, and work with key organizational partners such as the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), to further develop reserach capacity in the field.

Julie has been Professor and Program Director of Occupational Therapy and more recently Director of the Program in Public Health in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Catherine University.  She is an established and well-published scholar who has been a frequent presenter at AOTF sponsored events.  Julie earned her undergraduate degree in occupational therapy at the University of Minnesota, and completed graduate study in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota, earning an MA in 1989 and a PhD in 1990.  She is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association.
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Jeanne Y. Cooper,
Executive Assistant and Scholarship Coordinator

Jeanne Cooper joined the Foundation in July 2008 and serves as Dr. Christiansen’s Executive Assistant. In addition to that role, Jeanne is the scholarship coordinator for AOTF’s Scholarship Program and supports her colleagues in a number of the Foundation’s programs.

Jeanne came to the Foundation with over 10 years experience in the not-for-profit arena. She began at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) working in the Education Standards Division coordinating educational seminars and managing the society’s certification programs. She continued in a variety of roles for other professional societies and trade associations managing membership recruitment & retention activities; managing professional & student chapters and planning & execution of annual conferences. Most recently Jeanne was the Director of Federation Relations at a trade association where she worked with local and state chapters in the area of chapter and leadership development.

Jeanne majored in psychology at the George Washington University.

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Mindy A. Hecker, MBA, MLS,
Associate Executive Director for Administration and Director of Information Resources and the Wilma L. West Library

Mindy Hecker currently serves as the Director of Information Resources and the Wilma L. West Library. She holds a Bachelor's of Science in Human Ecology from Cornell University, a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Miami and a Master's in Library Science from the Catholic University of America.

Mindy began her employment at the AOTF in September 2004 as a reference librarian and became the Director in 2006. In addition to her responsibilities with the library she also works with the Fellowships in Leadership Development, Pi Theta Epsilon, DocNet, Scholarships, and Awards.

Prior to becoming a librarian and beginning her work with the Foundation, Mindy served as the Director of Membership for the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences.

In addition to her work at AOTF, Mindy volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum archives.

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Helene Ross,
Communications Associate

Helene Ross has been an AOTF staff member since 1999. She is currently communications associate and edits the e-newsletters: Research Resources, Inside AOTF, and the Scroll & Pen, is the social media voice of AOTF, and provides support to many of AOTF's initiatives.

Prior to joining AOTF, Helene was a researcher for the health and anatomy book series of US News and World Report and for Science 82-86 of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She also served as a freelance researcher for the book division of the National Geographic Society, the American Chemical Society, and the Foundation for Biomedical Research.

Helene holds a BA in history from State University of New York (SUNY) at Stony Brook with a minor in secondary education. Additionally, she completed coursework in the MBA program of American University as well as many classes in social media, Adobe Creative Suite, editing, grant writing, and outcomes management. Helene enjoys spending her free time quilting and knitting and going on visits with her therapy dog, Happy.