Your Foundation for Life!

AOTF Events at the AOTA Annual Conference

Breakfast with a Scholar

AOTF's signature event, Breakfast with a Scholar provides a forum for sharing the ideas of pre-eminent scholars (usually from other disciplines) that resonate with occupational therapy.

  • 2015  Florence Clark and Carolyn Baum, occupational therapy scientists and leaders.
  • 2014  Kenneth Feinberg, Esquire, ‘Compensation Czar’, Feinberg Rozen LLP.
  • 2013  Rear Admiral Marty Evans, US Navy (Retired) "How Will the Future Be Different?"
  • 2012  Lex Frieden, Evaluating the Americans with Disabilities Act:  An Accounting of Progress.
  • 2011  Brian R. Little, psychologist, pioneer of Personal Projects Analysis as an approach to the study of human personality.
  • 2010  Jan Epton Seale, poet, author of Airlift: The Nuts-and-Bolts Guide to Writing Your Life Story.
  • 2009  Suzanne Farrell, legendary ballerina, founder and artistic director of the Suzanne Farrell Ballet company.
  • 2008  Brenda Smith Myles, authority on behavior, learning, and autism spectrum disorders.
  • 2007  Rae Linda Brown, music scholar specializing in the lives and works of African-American women composers.
  • 2006  Elizabeth Yerxa, occupational therapist, scientist, Professor Emerita at the University of Southern California.
  • 2005  Uffe Ulle Jensen, scholar in philosophy and medical ethics.
  • 2004  Steve Zeitlin, folklorist, Director of City Lore in New York City, studies rituals and symbols in dealing with stressful situations.
  • 2003  William Least-Heat Moon, professor of English, author of Blue Highways.
  • 2002  John Hockenberry, former AOTF Board member, noted NBC correspondent who covered the Gulf War from his wheelchair.
  • 2001  Juliet Schor, Harvard economist, author of The Overspent American.
  • 2000  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, psychologist, architect of the “flow” theory.
  • 1999  Graham Rowles, social geographer, studies aging in place in Appalachia.
  • 1998  Mary Catherine Bateson, sociologist, author of Composing a Life;
  • 1997  J. Seward Johnson, acclaimed bronze sculptor.
  • 1996  Jane Goodall, noted primatologist.


State of the Science Symposium


Each year, AOTF selects a topic to explore and invites respected researchers to summarize scientifically validated evidence that guides best practice and identify gaps in the evidence and research priorities that must be addressed to support future practice. This integrated review of the state of the science includes a discussion of the implications for practice, education, research, and policy. 


  • 2015  Sensory factors and their impact on daily life across the lifespan.  Leanne Carey, BAppSc(OT), PhD, Winifred Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA with Grace Baranek, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA and Scott Frey, PhD. 


Research Colloquium

An AOTF tradition from 1982 to 2014, the Research Colloquium provided a forum where scientists can engage in the important process of constructive critique and dialogue. 


  • 2014  Health Services Research:  A Priority for Occupational Therapy in Healthcare Reform.  Keynote and Moderator: Barbara Gage, PhD, The Brookings Institution.  Presenters: Trudy Mallinson, PhD, OTR/L, NZROT, Nancy Flinn, PhD, OTR/L, St. Catherine University, Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, BCG, University of Southern California.
  • 2013  A New Era of Rehabilitation Research in Occupational Therapy: Science and Scientists. Moderators:  Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FAOTA and Wendy Coster, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA and featured the research in progress and professional journeys of early stage scientists who have received funding from Rehabilitation Research Career Development Training Grants: Barbara Doucet, PhD, OTR, (Neuromechanical Interventions for upper extremity motor recovery in chronic stroke); Timothy Reistetter, PhD, OTR, (Regional variation in patient-centered outcomes for inpatient stroke rehabilitation); and Timothy Wolf, OTD, MSCI, OTR/L, (Strategy training interventions to approve participation in home, work, and community activities following mild stroke).  
  • 2012  Translating Cognitive Research Into Clinical Practice. Moderator: Lisa Tabor Connor, PhD, (Challenges in the development of EEG-guided rehabilitation). Panel: Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, (Challenges and lessons learned in assessments of executive abilities in people with stroke); Naomi Josman, PhD, OTR, (Challenges and lessons learned using the virtual action planning-supermarket to investigate executive functions and instrumental activities of daily living); Becky Russell, OTR/L, (Strengths and the challenges of bringing lab to life: a clinician's perspective); and Joan Toglia, PhD, Challenges and lessons learned in intervention of awareness deficits in people with TBI).  Click here to view photos of the 2012 Research Colloquium. 
  • 2011  Sensory Processing Disorders in Occupational Therapy:  Mapping Pathways of Understanding from Cages to Clinics to Communities. Moderator: Shelly Lane, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Speakers: Grace Baranek, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, (The sensory experiences project: Translational research with children with autism); Stacey E. Reynolds, PhD, OTR/L, (Use of rodent models in the study of sensory processing disorders); Mary Schneider, PhD, OTR, A non-human primate model of atypical sensory processing: brain, behavior, stress reactivity and genes). 
  • 2010  Research on the Role of Environments in Promoting Occupation, Participation, and Health. Moderator: Winifred Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA. Speakers: Wendy J. Coster, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, (Capturing the influence of environment on children's participation); Joy Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, (Evaluating how environmental barriers and supports affect home and community participation of people with disabilities); Dory Sabata, OTD, OTR/L, SCEM, (Creating a virtual home modification experience based on evidence of a real world); Jon Sanford, MArch (We built it and no one came: So now what?). 
  • 2009  Life in Space: Research on Occupational Performance and Reflections of a NASA astronaut. Moderator: Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Speakers: Leroy Chiao, PhD, astronaut, (Occupational Performance: perspectives of a space station commander); Jacob J. Bloomberg, PhD, (Improving astronaut functional mobility after space flight using adaptability training); Helen S. Cohen, EdD, OTR, FAOTA, (Space research, adaptive behavior, and functional performance); Lauren Leveton, PhD, (Behavioral health and performance tools and technologies to prevent and mitigate risks in space and after reentry); Jeffrey P. Sutton, MD, (Overview of the research portfolio of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute). 
  • 2008  Charting the past, present, and turtle of research in occupational therapy. Moderator: Mary Law, PhD, OT Reg (Ont), FCAOT, FCAHS. (Participation in occupations: what we know and need to know). Speakers: Winifred Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, (Neuroscience and occupational therapy: linking the brain to everyday life); Laura Gitlin, PhD, (In search of a new paradigm of care for older adults with chronic illness); Ken Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, (From technique to translation: what have we learned in 25 years?).
  • 2007  The significance of population research for occupational therapy.  Moderator: Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA. Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, (Population-based health promotion perspective for older driver safety: conceptual framework to intervention plan); Sun Wook Lee, MS, OTR/L, Diane Smith, PhD, OTR/L, (Disability, gender and unemployment relationships in the United States from the behavioral risk factor surveillance system); Renee Taylor, PhD, (A population-based study of chronic fatigue syndrome). 
  • 2006  Moderator: Terry K. Crowe, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Presenters: Brenda Beagan, PhD, (Strong Black women: everyday racism and the daily occupations of Black Nova Scotian women); Anne Blakeney, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, and Amy Marshall, MS, OTR/L, (Occupational justice in the Appalachian coal fields); Bonnie Kennedy, PhD, OTR, (Participation, occupation, stress, and symptoms of women with HIV);  Reg Urbanowski, EdD, OT(C), Reg. (NS), (The use of mediated empowerment and community-based research in the development of living space).

Qualitative Research Exchange

The Qualitative Research Exchange provided a forum for sharing new ideas related to current and emerging theoretical and practical issues in qualitative research. 

  • 2008  New Frontiers in Qualitative Research.  Moderator: Cathy Lysack, PhD, OT(C). Speakers: Donald Fogelberg, PhD candidate, OT/L, (Exploring pressure ulcer risk through complex systems theory and the concept of habit); Jessica M. Kramer, PhD candidate, OTR/L, (A picture is worth a thousand words: empowering individuals with development/intellectual disabilities to access research production using visual strategies); Debbie Laliberte Rudman, PhD, OT Reg (Not), (Why deconstruct? Considering the potential contribution of critical discourse analysis to occupational science). 
  • 2007  Emergence in a structured world.  Moderator: Virginia Dickie, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Speakers: Ruth Humphry, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, (Balancing: informed consent and the "I never anticipated" research process); Melissa Park, PhD, OTR/L, (Narrative trouble and ethical dilemmas: "Tussling" and "a kiss" in an ethnography of a pediatric occupational therapy practice); Melinda Suto, PhD, OTR, OT(C), (Working with ethical issues that arise during fieldwork); Jennifer Womack, MS, OTR/L, SCDCM, (Dynamics of community access and participant status in an ethnographic project). 
  • 2006  The contributions of qualitative research to evidence-based practice.  Moderator: Virginia Dickie, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. Speakers: Gary Bedell, PhD, OTR, (Appraising research evidence to inform intervention decisions: A heterarchical perspective); Janice Burke, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, (How therapists collect evidence during the assessment experience); Ellen Cohn, ScD, OTR, (How we use qualitative research evidence to inform our practice); Kathleen Lyons, ScD, OTR/L, (Using qualitative research to design and modify interventions for persons with cancer). 


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Gala -- Express Yourself! at the American Visionary Art Museum
AOTF and friends celebrated creativity at this one-of-a-kind museum.  Click here to view photos.  



Click here to view photos of the San Diego Air and Space Museum 2013 Gala. 


Click here to view photos of the 2012 Research Colloquium.  

The AOTF Annual Gala 

Dancing teams competed for bragging rights in Dancing With the Stars (Indy-Style). Participants danced while atendees enjoyed food and connecting with friends and colleagues.

Click here to view photos of the 2012 Gala.