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Academy of Research In Occupational Therapy

Established in 1983, the AOTF Academy of Research in Occupational Therapy recognizes individuals who have made exemplary, distinguished, and sustained contributions toward the science of occupational therapy. Every year, the Academy of Research invites nominations for membership. After consideration of the nominations and supporting materials, the Academy selects individuals to be inducted into this distinguished body of researchers. Normally, inductions occur at the next AOTA Annual Conference and Exposition.  

Congratulations to the 2019 inductees to the Academy: Drs. Yael Goverover, Hui-Ing Ma, Timothy Reistetter, Robert Sainburg, and Susan Stark.

Click for Printable List View of the Members of the Academy of Research

Click here to view the Nomination Procedures.

* indicates a deceased member.

2019 Inductees to the Academy
Susan Stark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Susan Stark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2019

Dr. Stark is Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, Neurology and Social Work at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Dr. Stark has built an impressive research program examining environmental modifications and adaptation to support aging-in-place for community-dwelling older adults. She has focused her efforts on older adults vulnerable for institutional placement, particularly those with impairments due to chronic and degenerative conditions such as stroke and dementia. Dr. Stark’s thematically linked research program has direct implications for occupational therapy research and practice. What sets Dr. Stark’s research apart from most aging research is her study of the lived environment. Perhaps this is not innovative in the mind of an occupational therapy scientist; however, it is very innovative to scientists outside our discipline. In addition, Dr. Stark’s studies address a complex range of personal, environmental, and functional factors that contribute to falls in the home. Her more recent research examines the timing of falls in the progression of preclinical Alzheimer’s disease, and the association between this timing and pre-identified neuroimaging correlates. Findings from this study are likely to improve early identification of candidates likely to benefit from intervention, with the intent that such intervention may contribute to slowed trajectories of decline.

 

Q & A


Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
My three favorite are: open-minded, gritty, altruistic.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
The informal motto of our lab has always been to “make the world a little better place.” Our motto is the touchstone we use to make decisions about new opportunities. It is my hope that through our research we will influence OT practice and health policy. We hope to provide environmental support for adults and older adults with disabilities so they can live safe and fulfilling lives with their families at home and in their communities. My approach is to develop home modification interventions, demonstrate their efficacy, demonstrate their implementation and effectiveness, and disseminate the information to occupational therapy practitioners. 

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Study something you are passionate about, find good and kind mentors (really listen to them), be tenacious

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?
Participation, as defined by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health is “involvement in a life situation.”  Understanding the participation restrictions people experience (functioning of a person as a member of society) is a fundamental core question of occupational therapy.  The most important research priority for OT is operationalizing and measuring participation, intervening to improve participation outcomes and preventing participation restrictions (disability). 

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.  
In addition to being my strong advocates, my kind and generous mentors have given me a roadmap to success in my research.  They have provided me with clear goals and expectations, explicit directions to achieve the goals, and access to resources.  These are the important (often unwritten) “how-to’s” for a successful research career.  Having that roadmap available helped me set my course and stay true. Their “map” showed me where to find resources, where I should detour, what rocky roads lay ahead, and were I could rest.  My mentors have given me a clear picture of where I could go and the costs and benefits of the journey. 

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work. 
Time with my family, especially travel.    

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most rewarding aspect of my career are the relationships I have as a result of my work.  I treasure the relationships I have forged with colleagues, research participants and trainees. 

 

 

Selected References

Stark, S, Keglovits, M, Arbesman, M, & Lieberman, D. (2017). Effect of home modification interventions on the participation of community-dwelling adults with health conditions: A systematic review. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 71, 7102290010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2017.018887

Stark, SL, Somerville, E, Keglovits, M, Smason, A, & Bigham, K. (2015). Clinical reasoning guideline for home modification interventions. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 6902290030. http://dx.doi.org/ 10.5014/ajot.2015.014266

Stark, S, Keglovits, M, Somerville, E, Hu, YL, Conte, J, Yan, Y. Feasibility of a novel intervention to improve participation after stroke. (2017) British Journal of Occupational Therapy 1, 1–9

Stark, S. L, Somerville, EK, & Morris, JC. (2010). In-Home Occupational Performance Evaluation (I–HOPE). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 580–589. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2010.08065

Stark, SL, Roe, CM, Grant, EA, Hollingsworth, H, Benzinger, TL, Buckles, VD, Morris, JC. (2013) Preclinical Alzheimer disease and risk of falls.  Neurology 81.

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Members of the Academy of Research

Mary Jane Mulcahey, PhD, OTR/L

2015

Mary Jane Mulcahey, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Mulcahey is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health Professions, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Dr . Mulcahey's research focuses on the long-term outcomes of children with spinal injuries; developing computer adaptive testing platforms of activity performance and participation and; developing trajectories of typical participation patterns of children and adolescence living in the United States as way to better understand the similarities and disparities of participation in children with health conditions compared to peers without health conditions. She believes building knowledge on similarities and disparities will catalyze work involving the development of occupationally based methods to enhance participation. (Retrieved on February 25, 2015 from http://www.jefferson.edu/university/health_professions/departments/occupational_therapy/faculty/faculty/mulcahey.html.)

 

Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Collaborative; Passionate; Optimistic.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I hope my work will lead to the outcomes that are most meaningful to the people living with chronic conditions; I hope that through my work, people with chronic conditions have more opportunities for participation in the activities the are most relevant for them.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Seek out and develop strong relationships with several mentors and remain open to the possibilities they present to you. Focus on your vision.

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?
One of the most significant research priorities in occupational therapy and occupational science is to study, understand and test  "interventions" that are most effective in altering the environment so that persons with differences can participate in everyday living unencumbered by physical, social and cultural environments. Our research must focus on system level interventions that promote everyday living as opposed to intervention focused on changing individuals to a "norm."

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
My mentors taught me how to be systematic, reflective, collaborative and humble. They modeled high ethical standards. They affirmed me; pushed me beyond my comfort zone; celebrated my accomplishments and; showed me how to succeed in failure.

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

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most rewarding aspect of a career in research are the relationships you establish with other people  -- people from such diverse perspectives; the diversity and their influence have made me a better scientist, clinician and person.


REFERENCES

Mulcahey MJ, Merenda, L, Tian, F, Kozin, S, James, M, Gogola, G, & Ni, P.  (2013). Computer adaptive test approach to the assessment of children and youth with brachial plexus birth palsy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67, 524-533.

Muller, M, Toth-Cohen, S & Mulcahey, MJ.  (2014). Development and evaluation of a hospital-based peer support group for younger individuals with stroke. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 28, 277-295.

Russell, HF, January, AM, Kelly, EH, Mulcahey, MJ, Betz, RR & Vogel, LC. (2015). Patterns of coping strategy use and relationships with psychosocial health in adolescents with spinal cord injury.  Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 40(5):535-43. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsu159.

Tian, F, Ni, P, Mulcahey, MJ, Hambleton, RK, Tulsky, D, Haley, SM & Jette, AM.  (2014). Tracking functional status across the spinal cord injury lifespan: linking pediatric and adult patient-reported outcome scores. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 95, 2078-2085. 

Susan L. Murphy, ScD, OTR/L

2011

Susan L. Murphy, ScD, OTR/L

Dr. Murphy is an Assistant Professor in the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Department, a Research Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan's Institute of Gerontology, and a Research Health Science Specialist at the VA Ann Arbor Health Care System, GRECC. Her primary research interest is to create and test interventions to manage chronic pain symptoms and promote physical activity in adults . . .  Her use of mobile technology over the last several years has served to examine how symptoms are associated with physical activity levels in samples with osteoarthritis and low back pain and how mobile technology can be used as a tool in interventions."  (Retrieved on July 14, 2015 from https://community.isr.umich.edu/public/Portals/11/Docs/Bios/murphysl.pdf.)


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Dedicated, generous, thoughtful.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I hope to contribute to improvements in the quality of non-pharmacological chronic disease management in clinical care settings. For example, there is a large body of research supporting physical activity as a successful strategy to lessen the impact and prevent chronic disease, however physical activity programs are often disconnected from the health care system. Rehabilitation can play a big role in these types of programs since patients with chronic diseases often have multiple health issues that make sustaining a health behavior difficult.     

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Make sure you are passionate about research and the potential career path. The passion and drive to find out an answer or reach a goal is a key to success in this career.

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?
A few years ago I would have said effectiveness research, but now I think one fundamental element that would advance our field is theory development. I am struck by limitations in theories I draw from in my own work and think we have much to contribute for our own research as well as to other disciplines.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.  
Mentors provide support and it is ideal to have different mentors for different needs. Early on, it was important to have strong research mentors who could advise me on research design or teach me skills. I also had mentors who were great at providing guidance on career development and ones that were great at providing encouragement. I still have mentors, but these aren't always senior people, these are colleagues and even students. Anyone that teaches me something or makes me see something in a way I hadn't before is a mentor. The most important role all mentors have played is being invested in me and caring about my career path.  

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
I love to exercise, particularly I am addicted to Zumba.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The people I get to meet and work with in the US and around the world has been a wonderful aspect of this job. There are many smart, talented people out there who want to improve the lives of others. It has been great to meet so many different people and to be connected by this bigger cause.


REFERENCES

Murphy, SL & Kratz, AL.  (2014). Activity pacing in daily life: A within-day analysis.  Pain. 155, 2630-2637.

Murphy, SL, Alexander, NB, Levoska, M & Smith, DM.  (2013). Relationship between fatigue and subsequent physical activity among older adults with symptomatic osteoarthritis. Arthritis Care and Research (Hoboken), 65, 1617-1624.

Murphy, SL, Kratz, AL, Williams, DA & Geisse, ME.  (2012 Sep 3). The association between symptoms, pain coping strategies, and physical activity among people with symptomatic knee and hip osteoarthritis. Frontiers in Psychology, 3:326. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00326. eCollection 2012

 

Bernadette Nedelec, PhD, BScOT(C),

2018

Bernadette Nedelec, PhD, BScOT(C),

Dr. Nedelec is an Associate Professor and the former Director of the Occupational Therapy Program, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Her research interests focus on the rehabilitation of people who have sustained a major burn injury with a particular interest in the evaluation and treatment of hypertrophic scar. The formation of hypertrophic scar is considered one of the most important long-term consequences of a major burn injury leading to impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Research projects have evaluated the clinical instruments used to quantify hypertrophic scar and its associated symptoms, the efficacy of treatment interventions employed to minimize hypertrophic scar and its associated sequelae, practice issues related to evidence-informed practice, ensuring burn therapist competency, and the delivery of best practice rehabilitation, as well as the comprehensive evaluation of the short- and long-term outcomes associated with burn injuries.


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Perseverant, hard-working, erudite

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
Burn survivor rehabilitation specific research is scarce. Recent medical and surgical research advances make it possible for virtually all patients, even those with massive burn injuries, to survive. We need to provide evidence for rehabilitation interventions that will optimize function so burn survivors can participate in meaningful occupations and enjoy good quality of life.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Surround yourself with a like-minded, but diverse team who have expertise in areas that will complement your research program. Working with people who will support you, and at the same time challenge and stimulate your thinking, is essential to optimizing your research program.

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?
Expert occupational therapist working in physical medicine seamlessly incorporate the evaluation and treatment of psychosocial issues into their practice. This often times goes undocumented and is undervalued. Making this treatment explicit, researching it value and improving current practice needs to be a research priority. There are also long-term health benefits associated with enabling people’s ability to engage in meaningful occupations. Occupational therapy researchers need to quantify these benefits, particularly from an economic perspective, so that the value of what we do is unquestionable.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
Mentors have played an enormous role in my academic career. They have come in many forms including colleagues, family, friends, patients, and students. They taught me the value and the sustaining power of the love of learning, to strive for excellence in all we do, to never compromise my integrity, and to always prioritize the overall goal of improving the outcome of the patients that we serve. They also modeled our responsibility to give back to the systems that support us, including supporting the development of students and junior researchers.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Spending time with family, my children in particular, rejuvenates me and helps me to put things into perspective. Staying connected with nature is a nurturing force in my life.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The thing that has been most surprising for me is the never-ending excitement of learning, and the thrill of working with, and learning from, the amazingly talented, crazy smart people I have had the privilege to work with.


REFERENCES

Nedelec, B., Correa, J.A., Rachelska, G., & Armour, A. (2008). Quantitative Measurement of Hypertrophic Scar: Intrarater Reliability, Sensitivity, and Specificity, Journal of Burn Care & Research, 29, 489-500. doe: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181710869

Nedelec, B., Correa, J.A., Rachelska, G., Armour, A., & LaSalle, L. (2008) Measurement of Hypertrophic Scar: Interrater Reliability and Concurrent Validity. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 29, 501-511. doe: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181710881

Nedelec, B., Correa, J.A., de Oliveira, A., LaSalle, L., Perrault, I. (2014) Longitudinal burn scar quantification. Burns, 40,1504-1512. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2014.03.002

Nedelec, B., Calva, V., Chouinard, A., Couture, M., Godbout, E., de Oliveira, A., & LaSalle, L. (2016) Somatosensory Rehabilitation for Neuropathic Pain in Burn Survivors: A Case Series. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 37, e37–e46. doi:10.1097/BCR.0000000000000321

Nguyen, N.T., Lorrain, M., Pognon-Hanna, J.N., Elfassy, C., Calva, V., de Oliveira, A., & Nedelec, B. (2016) Barriers and facilitators to work reintegration and burn survivors’ perspectives on educating work colleagues. Burns, 42, 1477–1486 doi:10.1016/j.burns.2016.05.014

David L. Nelson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

1991

David L. Nelson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Nelson is Professor Emeritus (retired), Occupational Therapy Program, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Toledo, Toledo, Ohio.  Retrieved on August 7, 2015 from https://www.utoledo.edu/healthsciences/depts/rehab_sciences/ot/davidpage.html.

 

Dr. Nelson devoted much of his career to theoretical work involving definitions of key concepts in occupational therapy.  He is a leader in experimental research demonstrating how different occupational forms affect various populations. His current research addresses the problems that older persons often experience when living at home while at risk for disabilities. Retrieved on August 7, 2015 from http://www.utoledo.edu/healthsciences/saved_files/rehabsci/ot/faclty.html.

 

In 1995, Dr, Nelson was the recipient of the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship.

 

References 

Nelson, DL. Why the profession of occupational therapy will flourish in the 21st century.  The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 51, 11-24. 

 

Bauerschmidt, B & Nelson, DL. (2011). The terms occupation and activity over the history of Official occupational therapy publications. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, (3), 338-345.

 

Korp, KE, Taylor, J.M, & Nelson, DL. (2012). Bathing area safety and lower extremity function in community-dwelling older adults. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 32, (2), 22-29.

 

Misko, AN, Nelson, DL & Duggan, JM.  (2015). Three case studies of community occupational therapy for individuals with human immunodeficiency virus. Occupational Therapy in Health Care. 29(1):11-26.   

 

Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

1984

Kenneth Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Dr. Ottenbacher is the Russell Shearn Moody Distinguished Chair in Neurological Rehabilitation; Professor & Director, Division of Rehabilitation Science; Director, Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition; Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Education and Research, School of Health Professions, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas.  His research interests include rehabilitation outcomes with a focus on functional assessment, outcomes measures, frailty in older adults, and disability. Retrieved on August 7, 2015 from http://rehabsciences.utmb.edu/ottenbacher.asp.)

 

From 1987 through 1990, Dr. Ottenbacher served as editor of the Occupational Therapy Journal of Research.   In 2003, he received The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Award of Merit and in 2013 was awarded the AOTA-AOTF Presidents' Commendation Award in Honor of Wilma L. West which honors a respected leader of the profession who has made sustained contributions to occupational therapy over a lifetime of service.  Dr. Ottenbacher received the 2016 Gold Key Lifetime Service Award from ACRM and was named one of the 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy by AOTA.

 

 

References

Ciro, CA, Ottenbacher, KJ, Graham, JE, Fisher, S, Berges, I & Ostir, GV.  (2012). Patterns and correlates of depression in hospitalized older adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 54, 202-205.  \

 

Ottenbacher, KJ, Karmarkar, A, Graham, JE, Kuo, YF, Deutsch, A, Reistetter, TA, Al Snih, S & Granger, CV.  (2014 Feb 12). Thirty-day hospital readmission following discharge from postacute rehabilitation in fee-for-service Medicare patients. JAMA. 311, 604-614. 

 

Runzer-Colmenares, FM, Samper-Ternent, R, Al Snih, S, Ottenbacher, KJ, Parodi, JF & Wong, R.  (2014). Prevalence and factors associated with frailty among Peruvian older adults. Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics, 58, 69-73.

Stephen J. Page, PhD, MS, MOT, OTR/L, FAHA

2013

Stephen J. Page, PhD, MS, MOT, OTR/L, FAHA

Dr. Page is Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, Department of Occupational Therapy, Columbus, Ohio and Director, Better Rehabilitation and Assessment for Improved Neuro-recovery (B.R.A.I.N.) Laboratory.

Dr. Page develops and tests therapies to increase function and independence after stroke and other neurologic diseases. He also applies various neuroimaging and molecular techniques to understand how, why, and in whom these approaches are most effective. He has held uninterrupted extramural funding to support this work for over a decade, and has produced many "firsts" in neurorehabilitation, developing and showing efficacy of mental practice, portable robotics, modified constraint-induced therapy, functional electrical stimulation, and several other innovative strategies in stroke." (Retrieved on August 6, 2015 from http://medicine.osu.edu/hrs/ot/faculty/stephen-page/pages/index.aspx.)

 

Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.  
Eclectic, hardworking, funny.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
Stroke remains the country’s leading cause of disability and its prevalence is rapidly expanding.  For over a decade, my team has developed and tested therapies to restore function and independence in this growing population. My hope is that, through this research, we are able to increase the evidence base for the OT profession, improve lives, improve systems of care delivery, and advocate for both the profession and the recipients of our services.  

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Dedicate time to write daily.

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?
Establishing a more substantive evidence base supporting the efficacy and cost effectiveness of mental health services that OTs provide. When I was on my fieldwork we actually tried to find such research and were unsuccessful…we know it works but need to better substantiate its high value.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
The most important mentoring “role” was that of facilitator; my mentors showed great restraint and trust to step back and let me lead.

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

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
Collaborating closely with clients and their families. While we spend a considerable amount of time with individuals who are enrolled in our studies, it is also common for me and my team to spend an hour or two with individuals who do not  qualify for our studies, as many are so in need of basic information (e.g., What is a stroke? What can I do to prevent a future stroke? Even though I don’t qualify for the study what are some things that I might try at home or community that might impact my recovery?). This is extremely rewarding.


REFERENCES

Fleet, A, Page, SJ, MacKay-Lyons, M & Boe SG.  (2014). Modified constraint-induced movement therapy for upper extremity recovery post stroke: what is the evidence? Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation. 21, 319-331.

Page, SJ, Levine, P & Hill V.  (2015). Mental practice-triggered electrical stimulation in chronic, moderate, upper-extremity hemiparesis after stroke. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1):6901290050p1-8. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.014902.

Page, SJ, Hade, E & Persch, A.  (2015). Psychometrics of the wrist stability and hand mobility subscales of the Fugl-Meyer assessment in moderately impaired stroke.  Physical Therapy, 95, 103-108.

Shula Parush, PhD, OTR

2008

Shula Parush, PhD, OTR

Dr. Parush is Senior Lecturer and Chairperson, Graduate Program, School of Occupational Therapy, Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.  Her research interests are in developmental delays in pediatrics; early detection of children with developmental delays and preventive intervention. Sensory processing/modulation disorder, school function of children with special needs; developmental coordination disorder (DCD); and dyspraxia.  (Retrieved on August 7, 2015 from http://www.huji.ac.il/dataj/controller/ihoker/MOP-DEPARTMENT_DESCRIPTION_LINK?department_no=000486.)


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Dedicated, out-of-the-box thinker, leader.

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

  • Executing quality research.
  • Educating professionals to consume and integrate research in their work to further evidence-based practice.
  • Publish, publish, publish!!!   

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
If you decide on a career in research, never compromise on the research methodology and conduct only the highest quality research to enable the research to be published in high impact scientific journals.

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?
Technology.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
The use of valid and reliable measures in addition to the traditional tools of occupational therapy.

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

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
When analyzing the research data discovering that you are not always "proving the obvious" which makes it a real learning experience!!!

 

REFERENCES

Mazor-Karsenty, T, Parush, S, Bonneh, Y & Shalev L.  (2015). Comparing the executive attention of adult females with ADHD to that of females with sensory modulation disorder (SMD) under aversive and non-aversive auditory conditions. Research in Developmental Disability, 37, 17-30.

Rihtman, T & Parush, S.  (2014). Suitability of the Miller Function and Participation Scales (M-FUN) for use with Israeli children. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, e1-e12. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2014.008573.

Tal-Saban, M, Ornoy, A & Parush S.  (2014). Young adults with developmental coordination disorder: a longitudinal study. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 307-316.

 

Helene J. Polatajko, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), FCA

1996

Helene J. Polatajko, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), FCA

Dr. Polatajko is Professor, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy,  University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, as well as cross appointments in the Graduate Department of Rehabilitation Science,  the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program (UTNP). Her research interests are focused on occupation and its enablement. Her specific emphasis on the enablement of children with Developmental Coordination Disorder has led to the development of a new approach to enhancing performance, the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP), a cognitive-based treatment approach that enables clients with performance problems to reach their occupational goals.  (Retrieved on August 10, 2015 from http://www.ot.utoronto.ca/faculty/faculty_directory/polatajko_h.asp.)

Dr. Polatajko was the recipient of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, 1992 Muriel Driver Memorial lectureship Award.  From 2004 - 2007, she was the editor of AOTF's research journal, OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health and is now serving on the AOTF Scientific Advisory Council (SAC).  In addition, Dr. Polatajko is currently the editor-in chief of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy.


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.  
Scholar, generous, visionary.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
Dare to ask the important questions, be rigorous in the scholarship and be opened to the data--whether  the findings are popular or not! – Pursue questions that will push forward out understanding - open new doors to improving occupational performance and engagement for all

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Have a passion for your questions – and be open to ANY answer – as long as it is found through solid scholarship – know that the best outcome of any study is the elucidation of the next important question

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?
The neuroscience of meaningful occupational engagement – explicit evidence that occupational engagement is a protective factor!

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
Helping me stay focused and understand the progression of a truly scholarly career.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
I don’t really have one – my work (teaching and research) is my favorite occupation.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most surprising is the impact my work has had – the most rewarding is seeing my work improve the lives of children


REFERENCES

Polatajko, HJ. (1992). 1992 Muriel Driver Lecture: Naming and framing occupational therapy: a lecture dedicated to the life of Nancy B. The Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 59, 189-200.

Cantin, N, Ryan, J & Polatajko, HJ.  (2014). Impact of task difficulty and motor ability on visual-motor task performance of children with and without developmental coordination disorder. Human Movement Science, 34, 217-232.

Dawson, DR, Binns, MA, Hunt, A, Lemsky, C & Polatajko, HJ.  (12013). Occupation-based strategy training for adults with traumatic brain injury: a pilot study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94, 1959-1963.

Ng, EM, Polatajko, HJ, Marziali, E, Hunt, A & Dawson DR.  (2013). Telerehabilitation for addressing executive dysfunction after traumatic brain injury. Brain Injury, 27, 548-564.

Janet L. Poole, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2008

Janet L. Poole, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Poole is Professor, Occupational Therapy Graduate Program, School of Medicine, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Dr. Poole's research interest is in scleroderma and the functional impact of the disease on tasks of daily living, oral hygiene, parenting and employment.  She has conducted a number of studies examining rehabilitation interventions with people with scleroderma and, with a colleague, is developed a self-management program for persons with scleroderma.  She has also authored several textbook chapters on rehabilitation for persons with scleroderma.  (Retrieved on August 11, 2015 from http://www.occupationaltherapy.com/articles/occupational-therapy-and-scleroderma-systemic-2321.)

 

Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Astute, generous, adaptable.
 
How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I hope my research will stand the test of time, and become absorbed in the literature  to provide evidence that occupational therapy is a necessary and effective intervention.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Find an experienced and accomplished mentor.

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?
Studies on the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions and dissemination beyond occupational therapy literature.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.  
I think the most important thing I learned from my mentor is that the mentoring relationship is two-sided.  While I expected her to share her wealth of knowledge and experience with me, provide advice, timely feedback and support, I had to hold myself accountable and do my part to meet timelines, be open to feedback and suggestions, and follow through with goals we established.  She also provided me with useful contacts and recommended me for different volunteer positions and committees.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
I love to swim laps in an outdoor pool.  Luckily in New Mexico, I can swim outside about 5 months out of the year.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
I very surprised to find so many wonderful people who were willing to participate and help me in my research and that they thanked me for caring about how the condition affects their lives.  Since I work with people with a rare disease, my research is often done online, or through phone interview and surveys.  It is very rewarding to actually meet them at a local or national conferences.  


REFERENCES

Poole, JL, Gashytewa, C & Sullivan AT.  (2015). Activity limitations, participation, and quality of life in American Indians with and without diabetes. Occupational Therapy in Health Care. 2015 May 28. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 26020568.

Poole, JL, Chandrasekaran, A, Hildebrand, K & Skipper B.  (2015). Participation in life situations by persons with systemic sclerosis. Disability and Rehabilitation, 37, 842-845.

Poole, JL, Hare, KS, Turner-Montez, S, Mendelson, C & Skipper, B.  (2014). Mothers with chronic disease: a comparison of parenting in mothers with systemic sclerosis and systemic lupus erythematosus. OTJR; Occupation, participation and Health, 34, 12-19.

Mary Reilly*, EdD

1983

Mary Reilly*, EdD

1916-2012

Dr. Reilly was among the first three individuals inducted into the AOTF Academy of Research in 1983.  The other two were A. Jean Ayres, PhD, OTR, FAOTA and Elizabeth J. Yerxa, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, her California colleagues.  Dr. Reilly was on the faculty of the Occupational Therapy Department of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles California.  "In the 1960's, [she] redesigned the USC's master's program in occupational therapy around core theoretical and philosophical knowledge rather than merely technical skills," (Clark, 2012, p. 16).  She retired from USC in 1978 and was named Emeritus Professor.  

Many people are familiar with this quote from Dr. Reilly's 1962 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture:

  • Man through the use of his hands as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his own health. (Reilly, 1962, p. 2).

Florence Clark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA wrote:

  • The quote encapsulates what Dr. Reilly became internationally renowned for in the 1960's and 1970"s: developing a frame of reference for occupational behavior that described the biopsychosocial nature of man through the occupations of work, play, and self-care. (Clark, 2012, p. 16).

Linda Florey, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA wrote:

  • Dr. Reilly is responsible for the rich resources occupational therapy now possesses in the areas of play, occupation, work, and the work-play continuum otherwise known as "occupational behavior". She did not do all of the work herself but skillfully directed and influenced a cadre of over 90 occupational therapy students pursuing graduate degrees at the University of Southern California. These students moved around the country and seeded practice, education, and organizational leadership in their areas. (Florey, 2012).

Dr. Reilly read in many disciplines and some books from her remaining library are part of the "Mary Reilly Collection" in the Wilma L. West Library.


REFERENCES

Clark, F.  (2012 Spring). Remembering Mary Reilly: an iconoclast, visionary and friend.  USC Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Newsletter, 14-16.

Florey, L.  (2012), In memoriam: Mary Reilly.  California Foundation for Occupational Therapy Yearly Newsletter.     

Reilly, M.  (1962). Occupational therapy can be one of the greatest ideas of 20th century medicine.  1961 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 16, 1-9.

Reilly, M.  (1969). The Educational Process. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 23, 299-307.

Reilly, M (Ed.). (1974). Play as exploratory learning: Studies of curiosity behavior. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publications.

Reilly, M.  (1977). A response to: Defining Occupational Therapy: The meaning of therapy and the virtues of occupation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 31, 673-674.

Timothy Reistetter, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

2019

Timothy Reistetter, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Dr. Reistetter is Professor and Associate Dean for Research in the School of Health Professions at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in San Antonio (as of January 2019). He is widely recognized for his leadership in health services research within rehabilitation in general, and in occupational therapy specifically. Through Dr. Reistetter’s K12, K01, and subsequently his currently funded Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality R01, he has brought the discussion of how to measure rehabilitation geographic regions to the forefront. Specifically, he is translating methodology from the hospital-centric research conducted at Dartmouth College and implementing these approaches to a rehabilitation context to define rehabilitation geographic services areas. Prior to Dr. Reistetter’s seminal work, any researchers examining geographic variations in rehabilitation quality of care were limited to the hospital-based regions, called Hospital Service Areas, even if they did not adequately reflect the context and environment in which rehabilitation was provided across the country, as this was the accepted approach. Thus, it has been Tim’s work, which has focused on developing and evaluating Rehabilitation Service Areas that has provided health services researchers with the necessary tools to effectively measure variations in service delivery, access, and quality. 


Selected References

Reistetter, TA, Chang, PJ, & Abreu, BC (2009) Showering habits: Time, steps, and products used after brain injury. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 5, 641-645.

Reistetter, TA, Graham, JE, Deutsch, A, Markello, S, Granger, CV, & Ottenbacher, KJ (2010) Utility of functional status for classifying community versus institutional discharges following inpatient rehabilitation for stroke. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 345-350.

Reistetter, TA, Graham, JE, Deutsch, A, Markello, S, Granger, CV, & Ottenbacher, KJ (2011) Age and diabetes comorbidity tier groups influence length of stay, functional status and discharge setting in persons with hip fracture receiving inpatient medical rehabilitation. Diabetes Care, 34, 137-139. 

Ottenbacher, KJ, Karmarkar, A, Graham, JE, Kuo, YF, Deutsch, A, Reistetter, TA, Al Snih, S, Granger, CV (2014) Thirty-Day hospital readmission following discharge from post-acute inpatient rehabilitation in fee-for-service Medicare patients. JAMA, 31, 6, 604-614. 

Reistetter ,TA, Kuo, YF, Karmarkar, A, Eschbach, K, Srinivas, T, Freeman, J, Ottenbacher, KJ (2015) Geographic and facility variation in inpatient stroke rehabilitation: multilevel analysis of functional status. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 96, 1248-54. 

Sylvia Anne Rodger*, BOcc Thy, MEd St, PhD

2013

Sylvia Anne Rodger*, BOcc Thy, MEd St, PhD

d. 2017

Dr. Rodger was Professor, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia and Director of Research and Education at Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC).

Her research interests were primarily in the areas of Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), top down interventions, Cognitive Orientation for daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), early intervention, family centred practice and parent education.(http://researchers.uq.edu.au/researcher/133)

Dr. Rodger was the 2011 recipient of the Sylvia Docker Lecture, established in 1964 by Occupational Therapy Australia, to honor Miss Sylvia Docker who established the first training school for Occupational Therapists in Sydney in 1941. The purpose of the lecture is to encourage occupational therapists in their professional careers and to honor those who have outstanding contributions to occupational therapy. (Retrieved on September 20, 2015 from http://www.otaus.com.au/about/association-awards/award-winners.)  

Dr. Rodger received Australia's Freda Jacob Award in 2014 which acknowledges occupational therapists who contribute significantly to the profession with their vision, advocacy, and innovation.
 

Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Visionary, persistent and determined, innovative.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
My research to date has focused on real world issues and real world solutions, such as through leadership in scholarship and capacity building our emerging academic leaders and researching effective mechanisms to address this challenge. My future clinical research will focus on making a difference to the lives of Australians with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) through the establishment of a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). As CEO I will have the capacity to shape the national research agenda of the CRC over the next 8 years to be coordinated, relevant, end user focused, and embedded into the health, education ,community service sectors. and to ensure that we tackle the real world issues that are important to our end users.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
You will be surprised what doors can be opened for you. In my experience by being open to opportunities, there are possibilities to make the most of situations. Mentors have provided me many opportunities and they have been astounding. You don't always know what the outcome will be but sometimes you have trust the journey (not just the destination). While it is good to be strategic and plan your future, there are times where serendipity and opportunities present themselves, so take risks and have a go! If someone opens a door for you and provides you an opportunity, seize it even if you don't know where it might lead you. What happens when you go through the door is up to you!

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?
Establishing how and why occupation makes such a difference in people's lives, how it is health giving and nurturing; how its absence or limitations impacts negatively on health and well-being. I have a sense that many people (outside of OT) are beginning to see that doing, activities and being engaged in life situations are health giving. This is the essence of OT and something we need to research and develop the evidence base for, namely the engagement in purposeful and meaningful occupation. Finding the right tools, methodologies and evaluation strategies remains critical to this agenda. Much has been done but so much more is still needed, so that we can provide solid evidence for the most crucial theoretical underpinnings of our profession.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
In my professional career I have been fortunate to have had access to and support from different mentors. At different stages of my career, I have needed different mentors - the right person for the right time. But some have hung in with me for a long time! Don't be afraid to ask someone really senior within the profession nationally or internationally for help or advice. My experience is that these people are extremely generous and they are keen to share their tips and mistakes with you and to assist with the development of the next generation of researchers. No one has ever turned a call for help down in my experience, so be brave and ask!

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Recently my husband and I have become dog owners thanks to our son who bought a Border Collie puppy two years ago. She has introduced us to dog parks, off-leash areas and the joys of talking to other dog owners as we walk. People stop and talk to you when you have a dog! It has been life changing! Dogs always love to see you no matter how bad your day has been, they just love to see you when you get home!

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
Probably what I have learned from research participants. Any time you think you have it together as a researcher, your participants have another view, that needs to be heard, considered, and often leads to new research directions that we would never have followed had we not listened to what is important to them and what their experiences are. This has often been the most humbling and inspiring of experiences. As researchers it is a privilege that participants trust us enough to engage in our research. We owe them a debt of gratitude and we owe them the respect to listen and learn. Their expertise in their lived experience when we really listen, makes our own pale into insignificance.


REFERENCES

Rodger, S. (2012). Leadership through an occupational lens: Celebrating our territory. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 59, 172-179.

Chien, CW, Rodger, S & Copley, J.  (2015). Development and psychometric evaluation of a new measure for children's participation in hand-use life situations. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96, 1045-1055.

Kennedy-Behr, A, Rodger, S & Mickan, S.  (2013). A comparison of the play skills of preschool children with and without developmental coordination disorder. OTJR: Occupation, participation and Health, 33, 198-208.  

Rodger, S, Coleman, A, Caine, AM, Chien, CW, Copley, J, Turpin, M & Brown, T.  (2014). Examining the inter-rater and test-retest reliability of the Student Practice Evaluation Form-Revised (SPEF-R) for occupational therapy students.  Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 61, 353-363.

More references.

Joan Rogers, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

1984

Joan Rogers, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Rogers is Professor Emeritus, Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Her research interests include functional assessment, the relationship between pathology, impairment, and disability (activity limitations and participation restrictions) in adults and older adults; and enabling dementia care.  (Retrieved on September 13, 2015 from https://www.shrs.pitt.edu/jcr/.)

In 1982, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) awarded Dr. Rogers the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship, its highest academic award and in 1990 AOTA’s Award of Merit.  From 2007 – 2010, Dr. Rogers chaired the newly created AOTA/AOTF Research Advisory Panel.  AOTA and AOTF recognized Dr. Rogers’ longstanding contributions to practice and research with the AOTA/AOTF Presidents' Commendation in Honor of Wilma L. West Award in 2010. Dr. Rogers was named one of the 100 People Who Influenced Occupational Therapy by AOTA.

 

REFERENCES

Rogers, JC. (1983). Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship, 1983: Clinical reasoning: The ethics, science, and art. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 37, 601-616.

Chisholm, D, Toto, P, Raina, K, Holm, M & Rogers, J.  (2014). Evaluating capacity to live independently and safely in the community: Performance Assessment of Self-care Skills.  British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77, 59-63.

Leibold, ML, Holm, MB, Raina, KD, Reynolds, CF 3rd & Rogers, JC.  (2014). Activities and adaptation in late-life depression: a qualitative study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 570-577.

Rodakowsk, J, Skidmore, ER, Rogers, JC & Schulz, R.  (2013). Does social support impact depression in caregivers of adults ageing with spinal cord injuries? Clinical Rehabilitation, 27, 565-575.

Robert Sainburg, PhD, OTR/L

2019

Robert Sainburg, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Sainburg is a Professor of Kinesiology and Neurology at Penn State University and Penn State College of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Movement Science and Technology (C-MOST) in the Huck Institute of Life Sciences. He manages two laboratories, the Movement Neuroscience laboratory at Penn State University, department of Kinesiology on the main (University Park) campus and the Neurorehabilitation Research Laboratory at Penn State College of Medicine (Hershey), department of Neurology. His research program is fundamentally translational, focusing on understanding basic neural mechanisms that underlie control, coordination, adaptation, and learning of voluntary movements in humans. A major theme of his research has been neural lateralization for motor control. His research in patient populations addresses the functional neuroanatomy underlying lateralized processes of motor control, and the deficits that occur due to neuronal damage to the associated structures. Dr. Sainburg’s research has led to a model of neural lateralization that attributes different aspects of control to each hemisphere, such that each hemisphere contributes unique control mechanisms to both sides of the body. This bi-hemispheric model of motor control has been able to predict hemisphere-specific deficits in both arms of unilaterally lesioned stroke patients. Most importantly, this work has led to a mechanistic understanding of non-paretic arm (ipsilesional) motor deficits in stroke patients. His current research along with Collaborator Carolee Winstein PT PhD at USC is exploring occupational therapy based clinical intervention that uses virtual reality and real-world training to ameliorate these deficits and improve functional independence in stroke patients. 

Q & A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Irreverent, Energetic, Gregarious 

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I think that in order to achieve the ideal of translational research in rehabilitation for neural diseases and stroke, it is incredibly important to understand the mechanisms that underlie the neurobehavioral functions that are affected by damage and disease. I have tried to follow a logical progression in delineating the lateralized mechanisms of neural control that underlie voluntary motor behavior through combining techniques of biomechanics, neural imaging, computational simulations, and empirical studies in individuals with and without neurological disease and stroke. This has led from basic mechanism to interventions, and has been tremendously satisfying. However, the greatest impact that I have is in mentoring early stage scientists, including students, post-docs, and faculty. 

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
As with all things in life, the best reason to pursue something is that you cannot not pursue it. That is, if you are so excited to engage in the experience, and you wake up every morning with that excitement about your interests, then the chances are that your choice is very well made. After all, the best work is play.

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?
I think that it is incredibly important to pursue a better understanding of the cognitive-perceptual-motor interface in humans. This very complex interplay between domains of function is the very basis of the occupational performance that OT’s confront every day. No other rehabilitation professional has taken on this interface as the basis of their professional focus. I believe that it is time for OT’s to claim this incredibly important aspect of human performance, and integrate more specific and detailed studies of these domains into professional training. 

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey. 
The role of mentors in my professional life has been so incredibly important, and continues to be so important, that answering this question is near impossible, except to say that I have been tremendously lucky to have had absolutely fantastic mentors at all stages of my career.
  
Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Hiking, biking, camping, and traveling with family and friends. This includes but is not limited to sampling the world’s best Belgian ales.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The great privilege of a life in academics and science is the people that you develop friendships with through research. I have some very strong and deep friendships with scientists over the many years of my career. For those young academicians who may be reading this, cherish your professional friendships. These are the people who you will see and interact with over many years, and who share many of your passions. 

Selected References

Mani S, Mutha PK, Przybyla A, Haaland KY, Good D, Sainburg RL. (2013) Contralesional motor deficits after unilateral stroke reflect hemisphere-specific control mechanisms. Brain 136(Pt 4):1288-303.

Sainburg RL. Convergent Models of Handedness and Brain Lateralization, (2014) Frontiers in Psychology, Movement Science and Sport Psychology 5, 1092-1108.

Schaefer SY, Mutha, PK, Haaland, KY, Sainburg, RL. (2012) Hemispheric specialization for movement control produces dissociable differences in online corrections after stroke. Cerebral Cortex 22, 6, 1407-1419.

Sainburg RL, Frey S, Liew SL, and Clark F. (2017) Promoting the translation between movement science and occupational therapy. J Mot Behav 49(1):1-7. doi: 10.1080/00222895.2016.1271299. 

Sainburg RL, Ghilardi MF, Poizner H, Ghez C. (1995) The control of limb dynamics in normal subjects and patients without proprioception. J Neurophysiol. 73, 2, 820-835.

Roseann Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2016

Roseann Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Roseann Schaaf is professor and chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professions and Faculty at the Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson. Dr. Schaaf is a translational scientist who has devoted her career to the study of children with autism and other developmental disorders, in particular how processing and integrating sensory information impacts participation in daily occupations. Building on her training as a behavioral neuroscientist, Dr. Schaaf's psychophysiological laboratory was funded by NIH and provided insight into the neurological mechanisms of sensory difficulties in children with autism.

She has received over 35 funded grants totaling $8 million dollars including a recent $4.1 million dollar grant from the NIH to conduct a comparative effectiveness study of occupational therapy using sensory integration. This grant is in collaboration with her colleagues at Einstein Medical College and Queens University and includes a multisensory integration biomarker as an objective outcome measure of neuroplasticity. Roseann has over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and abstracts, is the author of five books and 13 book chapters and has presented over 150 papers and presentations spanning national and international venues. She is a 2008 recipient of the A. Jean Ayres Research Award and a 1996 recipient of the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Dr. Schaaf became an associate editor of OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health in 2017.


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Energetic, persistent, optimistic.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
My work has focused on helping children with autism spectrum disorders and their families participate fully in daily life. The data shows us that one factor limiting full participation in school, community, work and leisure activities for children with autism and their family members is difficulty processing and integrating sensation. Hence, our team studies the neural mechanisms of sensory integration (to gain insight into how better to target our interventions) and the effectiveness of occupational therapy using sensory integration to facilitate functional skills and participation. Through our research we hope to facilitate participation for these children and their families.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Love what you do, surround yourself with competent, positive people, and find a mentor! I guess that is 3 pieces of advice - all equally important.

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?
I believe we must be systematic about implementing and evaluating occupational therapy interventions, measuring outcomes and publishing our work in inter-professional venues. Intervention research (from mechanism to community impact) is important and a priority for occupational science and occupational therapy!

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
I have had many mentors throughout my professional journey as an occupational therapist, educator and now an occupational therapy researcher who kept me focused and helped me to re-focus when things were challenging. The most important role my mentors played is supporting me in so many ways - intellectually, emotionally, and professionally. This kept me going.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
I love the outdoors - nature keeps me centered so I like to hike, bike, walk, cross country ski and explore. Currently I am learning to mountain bike and jump over tree roots as I roll through the woods -- yikes!

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
Most surprising for me has been the incredible occupational therapists I have had the opportunity to collaborate with in research. They are so committed and passionate and always go above and beyond for the greater good. They are committed to occupational therapy and excited to collaborate in research.


REFERENCES


Schaaf, R.C., Benevides, T., Mailloux, Z., Leiby, B., Kelly, D., Faller, P., Hunt, J., Freeman, R., Sandecki, J., vanHooydonk, E., (2014). An intervention for sensory difficulties in children with Autism: A Randomized Trial. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44 (7), 1493-1506. DOI 10.1007/s10803-013-1983-8. PNID: 24214165

Schaaf, R. C., Burke, J.P., Cohn, E., May-Benson, T.A., Schoen, S.A., Smith Roley, S., Lane, S.J., Parham, L.D., Mailloux, Z. The Issue Is: The State of Measurement in Sensory Integration. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, e149-e153. Doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.012526

Schaaf, R. C. & Lane, A. (2015). Toward a best-practice protocol for assessment of sensory features in ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 45(5) 1380-1395 DOI: 10.1007/s10803-014-2299-z

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