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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 and distinguished 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

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

2019

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Yael Goverover, an Associate Professor, New York University and visiting scientist, Kessler Foundation, established her scholarship based upon the need for research studies in occupational therapy that advance rehabilitation to improve the lives of persons with functional cognitive impairments following multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury. Her research focuses in two key areas: (1) Development and investigation of functional cognition assessments for persons with cognitive and functional impairments; (2) Development and investigation of occupationally focused interventions for persons with functional cognitive difficulties. Her research is unique because it focuses on treatment and assessment of functional, everyday activities, using rigorous methodology. Her scholarship in occupational therapy and rehabilitation is supported by research grants from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and BioGen IDEC and has been published in prominent peer-reviewed rehabilitation journals. She has also presented her work by invitation both nationally and internationally.


Q and A


Identify three words that others have used to describe you: 
Driven, honest, and curious 
 
How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I have devoted the past 15 years of my professional life to learning more about the link between cognition and everyday life performance to better understand how we can improve the lives of people with cognitive impairments. The evidence generated by these studies provides patients these patients a toolbox of evidence based strategies to use in their daily life. I believe that the dissemination of this work can help professionals and patients improve their lives and be more satisfied with their lives. I hope that my work (and others) will improve the lives of persons with cognitive impairments: I hope that the research we do will alleviate cognitive impairments, and facilitate the transfer and generalization of treatment gains into their daily life. 
 
What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
There are many ways to do research, especially in the field of occupational therapy. One can work and observe the world around us or one can choose the more academic course and pursue a doctorate and beyond. For me, the academic route, and especially the post-doc experience were very significant as it enhanced my collaboration with other professionals who do research similar to mine and enhanced my research skills in general. Above all, no matter what path you choose, stay curious and don’t accept the world as is. Always ask questions about your observations and your work. 
 
Besides your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?
There are so many research priorities to consider. Recently I participated in a conference where I heard about the field of culinary medicine, a new evidence-based field that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine. OTs should participate in this research. Another priority field is technology. As technology advances, OTs should work integrate it into our treatment and research. At the same time, we should strive to understand the disparities in its use and why some people use it more than others from various perspectives, including a social justice perspective. 
 
Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey. 
I have had a few significant academic, clinical and scientific mentors in my life and each played a unique role. The most important role a mentor played in my life was teaching me to observe and believe in myself as an independent researcher by providing me the space to develop an independent line of research. Mentors have also provided feedback that brought my work to the next level.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work. 
I have many occupations, but recently I have come to enjoy acrylic painting and daily exercise (during which I think about the best way to analyze data). 
 
What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
There are so many rewarding aspects of this career. First, the people I meet and work with in my research and academic life, both participants and professionals. My research participants teach me about life with disabilities in America and make me aware of issues related to social justice. Through my academic life I meet colleagues who become my family and who enlighten my thinking. Second, making a difference in a person’s life. I once received a letter from a mother of study participant with TBI thanking me for the improvement she saw in her son, or a study participant with MS told me that he felt alive again. Finally, seeing a published manuscript is always very rewarding. 


Selected References

Goverover, Y, Chiaravalloti, N, Genova, H & DeLuca, J. (2017). An RCT to treat impaired learning and memory in multiple sclerosis: The self-GEN trial. Multiple Sclerosis 1:1352458517709955. doi: 10.1177/1352458517709955. PMID: 28485659.

Goverover, Y, O’Brien, A, Moore, NB, & DeLuca, J. (2010). Actual Reality: A new approach to functional assessment in persons with multiple sclerosis. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 91, 252-260.  doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.09.022. PMID:  20159130.  

Goverover, Y, Johnston, MV, Toglia, J, & DeLuca, J. (2007).  Treatment to improve self-awareness for persons with acquired brain injury. Brain Injury 21, 913-923. PMID:17729044.


 

Hui-Ing Ma, ScD, OT

2019

Hui-Ing Ma, ScD, OT

Since Dr. Hui-ing Ma completed her graduate education at Boston University in 2000, she has been teaching at the National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan, rising to the level of full professor. In addition to teaching and college, governmental and professional service, Dr. Ma conducts well respected, well-funded research on the motor control problems and quality of life of, and the effects of stigma on, persons with Parkinson’s disease and the effectiveness of occupational therapy interventions to improve those patients’ participation in their daily lives. She is one of the very few occupational therapists considered expert in the rehabilitation of persons with Parkinson’s disease. Additionally her research includes the verbal and cultural translation and establishment of the psychometrics for important English assessments for valid use with Chinese patients (pediatric participation; quality of life for patients with schizophrenia; PDQ-39, a questionnaire for persons with Parkinson’s disease).

 

Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Diligent, Fair, Empathetic

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I hope I have and will continue to make a difference by providing practical research findings that provide meaningful solutions to enhance the function and quality of life for clients. I also hope to make a difference by educating the next generation of occupational therapists, encouraging them to be good practitioners, teachers and researchers.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
I would like to remind them of the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration. When working with scientists of different backgrounds, they will have to know their own professional knowledge well and be confident in this. At the same time they will have to be receptive to their collaborators’ ideas – this means enlightening the others with their work while at the same time learning from them. Each scientific discipline has their own unique perspective; sharing perspectives across disciplines can produce great unforeseen developments. 

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?
OT needs diverse research to enrich the profession. I believe “service design” is a potential direction to broaden OT pursuits, raising our work from the individual to a public and even policy level. We, as OTs, have been familiar with universal design and environmental modification, which are mainly focused on tools and the physical environment. Service design, on the other hand, addresses “intangible” aspects. I think it is important to see the non-physical aspects of constraints and limitations, and incorporate systematic approaches of service design to enhance the experiences of clients and related stakeholders.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey. 
My role models expressed and encouraged me to emulate the qualities of fairness, humility, critical thinking, and the pleasure of pursuing and acquiring knowledge. They have shaped not only the research I am doing, but also who I am today.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
I like cooking for families. I enjoy preparing nutritious and delicious meals, trying new recipes, and having the people I serve experience the joy of good food.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
It is rewarding to see my research ideas being applied in real situations that help clients better cope with their life challenges. Furthermore, I feel surprisingly honored to get to know someone who has read and is interested in my work. Likewise, I enjoy reading other researchers’ ideas in the literature, expanding my own knowledge and inspiring new research pursuits for me. All these gifts in my career have been a blessing.

Selected References

Ma, HI, Saint-Hilaire, M, Thomas, CA, Tickle-Degnen, L. (2016) Stigma as a key determinant of health-related quality of life in Parkinson’s disease. Quality of Life Research 25, 3037–3045. doi: 10.1007/s11136-016-1329-z.

Su, KJ, Hwang, WJ, Wud, CY, Fang, JJ. (2014) Increasing speed to improve arm movement and standing postural control in Parkinson’s disease patients when catching virtual moving
Balls. Gait & Posture 39, 65–69.

Ma, HI, Hwang, WJ, Want, CY, Fang, JJ, Leong, IF, Want, TY. Trunk–arm coordination in reaching for moving targets in people with Parkinson’s disease: Comparison between
virtual and physical reality. (2012) Human Movement Science 31, 1340–1352.

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. 

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.

Susan Stark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2019

Susan Stark, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

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.

Members of the Academy of Research

Deirdre Rose Dawson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont)

2014

Deirdre Rose Dawson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont)

Dr. Dawson is a senior scientist with the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest in Toronto, an Associate Professor in the Department of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto and a member of the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario Centre for Stroke Recovery. Dr. Dawson's research combines her training in rehabilitation science, epidemiology and neuropsychology in order to best understand how cognitive processes in healthy aging, stroke and other acquired brain disorders impact on people's abilities to be autonomous in community living and to develop effective interventions that promote optimal participation in every-day life.  Her work spans from ecologically valid assessment of cognitive impairments to occupationally based cognitive rehabilitation approaches to music-supported rehabilitation approaches to investigating the benefits of community support programs. (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://www.ot.utoronto.ca/faculty/faculty_directory/dawson_d.asp.)


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
I asked my graduate students to assist with this first question!  Supportive, thoughtful, collaborative.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
My research is ultimately about enabling people to engage in the occupations they care about - those that they need to do and/or want to do.  In 2012, Dr. Liz Townsend wrote about occupation as a "central force in human existence and the organisation of societies." Research that inspires and guides practice to enable occupational performance at individual, community and systems levels will make a profound and positive difference in the world.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
I encourage people at the 'considering' stage to talk to as many scientists and researchers as possible so that they find a good home for their ideas and who they are in their supervisor's lab.  One's supervisor is foundational in so many ways - as a role model, mentor, support, constructive critic and as someone who can provide opportunities.  The lab environment is also very important - having a good fit between one's self, one's supervisor and their lab will provide great start in a research 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?
I believe we have essential work to do in the area of occupational justice -- broadening and deepening our understanding of the role our profession of occupational therapy play and can play in relation to issues of social justice and human rights as it intersects with issues of human rights seems to me a critical research priority. I'd love to do post-doctoral fellowship in this area!

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
One of my key mentors taught me by example not to lose sight of the people - that is the why of the research - this person is always extraordinarily respectful and deeply cares about the difficulties faced by individuals whom we encounter as research participants. This attitude is woven throughout their grants, papers and day to day work - a tremendous example for me.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
My favorite occupation outside my work is being a mother! I have 14-year-old twins (a boy and a girl) - the ideal is when we can as a family being cross-country skiing or wilderness camping -- being in nature, off-line is something I find amazingly renewing.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most surprising and rewarding aspect of my career is that I have developed wonderful, dynamic, stimulating and engaging collaborations with other scientists with whom I've also developed great friendships -- I am enormously grateful for these relationships.


Selected References

Bottari, C, Wai, Shun PL, Dorze, GL, Gosselin, N & Dawson D. (2014). Self-generated strategic behavior in an ecological shopping task. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 67-76.

Dawson, DR, Anderson, ND, Binns. MA, Bottari, C, Damianakis, T, Hunt, A, Polatajko, HJ & Zwarenstein. M.   (2013). Managing executive dysfunction following acquired brain injury and stroke using an ecologically valid rehabilitation approach: a study protocol for a randomized, controlled trial. Trials. 22;14:306.

Skidmore, ER, Dawson, DR, Butters, MA, Grattan, ES, Juengst, SB, Whyte, EM, Begley. A, Holm, MB & Becker JT. (2014 Dec 11). Strategy training shows promise for addressing disability in the first 6 months after stroke. Neurorehabililitation and Neural Repair, pii: 1545968314562113. [Epub ahead of print] 

Jean Deitz, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

1991

Jean Deitz, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Dr. Deitz is Professor Emeritus, Rehabilitation Science Program, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.  Dr. Deitz's primary clinical focus is pediatric occupational therapy, with a special interest in developing innovative programs designed to help children with special needs increase their social skills. She has expertise in the areas of single subject research methods and measurement.  (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://www.rehab.washington.edu/education/faculty/nonproviderbios/deitz.asp.)

Dr. Deitz served on the AOTF Board of Directors for seven years in the role of chair of the Research Advisory Council. When the Council was retired several years ago, she continued her service as the Board's principal voice for scholarship and research. Dr. Deitz was an effective and articulate advocate for the relationship among occupation, participation, and health. Her wealth of knowledge and her interdisciplinary perspective, as both scholar and teacher, were invaluable as the AOTF established its vision grounded in social justice and created the AOTF Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health. In 2008, Dr. Deitz received the Foundation's Meritorious Service Award.  (Retrieved on April 1, 2015 from http://www.aota.org/-/media/Corporate/Files/EducationCareers/Awards/By-Year/2008%20Awards.pdf)   


Selected References

Crowe, TK, Perea-Burns, S, Sedillo, JS, Hendrix, IC, Winkle M & Deitz J. (2014). Effects of partnerships between people with mobility challenges and service dogs. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 194-202.

Duval-White, CJ, Jirikowic, T, Rios, D, Deitz J & Olson HC. (2013). Functional handwriting performance in school-age children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67, 534-542.  

O'Donnell, S, Deitz, J, Kartin, D, Nalty T &Dawson G.  (2012). Sensory processing, problem behavior, adaptive behavior, and cognition in preschool children with autism spectrum disorders. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66, 586-594.

Johanne Desrosiers, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT

2010

Johanne Desrosiers, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT

Dr. Desrosiers is full professor, School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada and a researcher in the Research Center on Aging (Centre de recherche sur le vieillissement).  Her research interests focus on evaluation of and intervention for social participation of older adults with disabilities.

As they age, elders may lose functional independence and require rehabilitation to optimize their social participation in their daily activities and social roles.  The main aim of Professor Desrosiers's research work is to gain a better understanding of the concept of social participation, accurately assess it and study the impact of biopsychosocial and community interventions designed to optimize how elders perform significant activities and social roles. (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from https://www.usherbrooke.ca/medecine/recherche/profils-de-chercheurs/desrosiers-johanne/english-version/.)


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Hard Worker, enthusiast, and devoted.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
By improving dignity and quality of (life for) older adults with restriction in participation.

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

  • Choosing the right research field:  expertise and passion.
  • Persevering...failure is a simple detour to success!
  • In tough times, remember that you have enjoyed it...and you'll still love it.

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?
Knowledge transfer in order to find the best ways for clinicians to use research data in their daily work.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
Re-assurance about my ideas and my decisions.

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

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The pleasure I have to train and mentor the next generation of researchers.


Selected References

Desrosiers, J, Viau-Guay, A, Bellemare, M, Trude,l L, Feillou, I & Guyon, AC.  (2014). Relationship-based care and behaviours of residents in long-term care facilities.  Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, 2014:949180. doi: 10.1155/2014/949180. Epub 2014 Jan 12.

Mayo, NE, Anderson, S, Barclay, R, Cameron, JI, Desrosiers J, Eng, JJ, Huijbregts, M, Kagan, A, Lyons, MM, Moriello, C, Richards, CL, Salbach, NM, Scott, SC, Teasell R & Bayley M.  (2015). Getting on with the rest of your life following stroke: A randomized trial of a complex intervention aimed at enhancing life participation post stroke. Clinical Rehabilitation, pii: 0269215514565396. [Epub ahead of print].  

Turcotte, PL, Carrier, A, Desrosiers, J & Levasseur, M.  (2015). Are health promotion and prevention interventions integrated into occupational therapy practice with older adults having disabilities? Insights from six community health settings in Québec, Canada. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 62, 56-67.

Winifred Wiese Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

1983

Winifred Wiese Dunn, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

Dr. Dunn is Distinguished Professor at the Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Missouri. Her research interests are directed toward the study of how persons understand and use the sensory input they received, and how their sensory processing abilities affect that individual's performance in daily life. For more details, see her website, Sensory Processing in Everyday Life.


Dunn's clinical practice expertise is with children and families in community settings, such as public schools, early intervention programs, day care centers, and families' homes.  (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://www.kumc.edu/school-of-health-professions/occupational-therapy-education/our-faculty/dunn.html.)


Dr. Dunn was awarded the AOTF A. Jean Ayres Award in 2003.  In 1991, Dr. Dunn was awarded the American Occupational Therapy Association's Award of Merit, and in 2001 she was named the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer.  (Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://www.kumc.edu/Documents/shp/occupational-therapy/Dunn-CV-oct2013.pdf.) Dr. Dunn was awarded an AOTF Intervention Research Grant in 2015 for her study: Feasibility of Telehealth Coaching for Rural Families of Children with Autism and she 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.
Enthusiastic
Inspiring
Funny

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I want all people to know that they are fabulous just the way they are. I want people to know that it is useful to have insights about one's natural state because this informs how to plan a successful and satisfying life.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Embrace unexpected findings [which there will be a lot of]. We only think deeply about things that puzzle us; these are the moments for breakthroughs from the status quo.

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?
Intervention studies that have participation as their outcomes will make it clear that we care about people's actual lives more than anything else.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
They invited me to think bigger than I could possibly imagine.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Cooking, and all the verbs associated with it, planning, chopping, stirring, smelling, tasting, dining.....

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
That colleagues in practice find my ideas useful to their work with those they serve.  
That the general public find meaningfulness in the ideas I have proposed.


Selected References

Dunn, W. (2001). The sensations of everyday life: empirical, theoretical, and pragmatic considerations - the 2001 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 55, 608-620.

Davis, AM, Bruce, AS, Khasawneh, R, Schulz, T, Fox, C & Dunn W. (2013). Sensory processing issues in young children presenting to an outpatient feeding clinic. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 56, 156-160.

Demopoulos, C, Arroyo, MS, Dunn, W, Strominger, Z, Sherr, EH & Marco E.  (2014 Dec 22).   Individuals with agenesis of the corpus callosum show sensory processing differences as measured by the Sensory Profile. Neuropsychology, [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25528608.  

Foster, L, Dunn, W & Lawson, LM. (2013). Coaching mothers of children with autism: a qualitative study for occupational therapy practice. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 33, 253-263.

Dorothy Farrar Edwards, PhD

2012

Dorothy Farrar Edwards, PhD

Dr. Edwards is Professor and Chair, Department of Kinesiology-- Occupational Therapy, School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, with appointments in the Departments of Medicine and Neurology at the School of Medicine and Public Health.  (Retrieved on March 19, 2015 from http://kinesiology.education.wisc.edu/ot/people/graduate-faculty/dorothy-farrar-edwards.)

Dr. Edwards describes her research focus in this way:

My multidisciplinary research addresses the effects of aging on functional independence and quality of life. The central goal of my research is to contribute to the understanding of quality of life and well-being in older adults by examining the impact of cognitive and physical impairment on performance of complex activities of everyday life. My research explores questions of functional performance, caregiver burden, and treatment outcomes in a variety of populations ranging from normal aging to neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and stroke. I am particularly interested in the aging process in African Americans. The ultimate aim of these studies is to support the development and implementation of more effective interventions for persons with cognitive loss and their families. (Retrieved on March 19, 2015 from http://aging.wisc.edu/research/affil.php?Ident=136.)


Selected References

Boden-Albala, B, Edwards, DF, St Clai,r S, Wing, JJ, Fernandez, S, Gibbons, MC, Hsia, AW, Morgenstern, LB & Kidwell CS. (2014). Methodology for a community-based stroke preparedness intervention: the Acute Stroke Program of Interventions Addressing Racial and Ethnic Disparities Study. Stroke. 45, 2047-2052.

Edwards, DF, Menon, R, Fokar, A, Gibbons, C, Wing, J, Sanchez, B & Kidwell CS.  (2013). Recruitment of black subjects for a natural history study of intracerebral hemorrhage. Journal of  Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 24, 27-35.

Morrison, MT, Edwards, DF & Giles GM. (2015). Performance-based testing in mild stroke: identification of unmet opportunity for occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1):6901360010p1-5. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.011528. PubMed PMID:
25553755.

Joyce Engel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2007

Joyce Engel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Engel is Professor and Program Director, Occupational Science and Technology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Dr. Engel's research focuses on pain assessments and pain interventions for persons with chronic pain, especially youths with physical disabilities (e.g., cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy). She has developed three valid and reliable pain assessments for youths with physical disability-related pain: the Pediatric Community Participation Questionnaire, Survey of Pain Attitudes - Pediatric Version, and the Modified Brief Pain Inventory.  

Dr. Engel has investigated the efficacy of relaxation techniques, biofeedback, hypnosis, and cognitive restructuring as analgesia in persons with chronic pain. She has been an investigator on several pain grants funded by the National Institutes of Health.  (Retrieved on March 19, 2015 from http://www4.uwm.edu/chs/faculty_staff/details.cfm?customel_datapageid_4032192=4198632#.)

 

Selected References

Engel, JM. (2013). Evaluation and pain management. In H. M. Pendleton & W. Schultz-Krohn (Eds.), Pedretti's occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (7th ed., pp. 718-728). St. Louis: Mosby Elsevier.

Engel, JM, Wilson, S, Tran, ST, Jensen, MP & Ciol, MA. (2012). Pain catastrophizing in youths with physical disabilities and chronic pain. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 38, 192-201.  

Engel, JM, Jensen, MP, Ciol, MA & Bolen, GM. (2012). The development and preliminary validation of the Pediatric Survey of Pain Attitudes. American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 91, 114-121.

Marcia Finlayson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), OTR

2004

Marcia Finlayson, PhD, OT Reg(Ont), OTR

Dr. Finlayson is Vice-Dean (Health Sciences), School of Rehabilitation Therapy, and Director, Professor, Occupational Therapy Program, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.  "Dr. Finlayson's research program focuses on developing, implementing and evaluating self-management programs and rehabilitation services to enhance the health and well-being of people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). These people include individuals with the disease, their family members and caregivers. The ultimate goal of Dr. Finlayson's scholarship is to enable these groups to lead healthy, meaningful lives, and exert choice and control over their participation in daily activities at home and in the community. Within this context, Dr. Finlayson's specific topical interests include fatigue management, falls prevention, caregiver support, aging with MS, and health care service utilization."  (Retrieved on April 16, 2915 from https://rehab.queensu.ca/people/faculty/marcia_finlayson.)

From 2006-2011, Dr. Finlayson was the editor of the Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, (Retrieved on April 16, 2015 from http://www.caot.ca/default.asp?pageid=6).  In 2013, the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT) awarded the Muriel Driver Memorial Lectureship to Dr. Finlayson.  This honor is bestowed on a CAOT member who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession through research, education and the practice of occupational therapy.  (Retrieved on April 16, 2915 from http://www.caot.ca/default.asp?pageid=1357)    


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Organized, focused, driven

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
My research program is focused on developing, implementing and evaluating self-management and rehabilitation interventions that support the quality of life of people affected by multiple sclerosis; this includes people with the disease as well as family and friends.  If my research program is successful, people affected by MS will have choice over and control of the daily activities in which they engage, and the ways in which that engagement occurs.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Having a career in science and research requires a long term vision (what is the problem you are going to solve 10 years from now?) and the ability to break down this vision into a series of small manageable, sequential steps.  This type of career requires passion, patience and resilience because everywhere you turn there are people evaluating the quality of your work and making decisions about whether you should get funding or get an article published.  You have to remain focused and committed, and you have to be able to create networks and systems to get the support you need (scientifically, practically and personally) to be successful.

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?
We need to evaluate the efficacy, effectiveness and costs of providing "standard" or "typical" occupational therapy services in hospitals, home care and nursing homes.  In other words, we need to build the evidence for the work that most clinically based occupational therapists are doing on a daily basis.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
I have had several mentors in my career.  The most important thing that each one of them did for me was to provide honest, constructive feedback about my written work (grants, manuscripts).

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Anything on the water - kayaking, canoeing and dragon boat racing are my favorites.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The most surprising aspect is having people recognize my name when I am traveling internationally.  The most rewarding is having people affected by MS tell me that what I am doing is important  and will make a difference in the lives of other people like them.


Selected References

Finlayson ML.  (2013). Muriel Driver Memorial Lecture 2013: Embracing our role as change agents. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 80, 205-214.

Asano, M & Finlayson, ML. (2014). Meta-analysis of three different types of fatigue management interventions for people with multiple sclerosis: exercise, education, and medication. Multiple Sclerosis International, 2014:798285. doi: 10.1155/2014/798285. Epub 2014 May 14. Review.

Finlayson, M, Cattaneo, D, Cameron, M, Coote, S, Matsuda, PN, Peterson E & Sosnoff, JJ.  (2014). Applying the RE-AIM framework to inform the development of a multiplesclerosis falls-prevention intervention. International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care, 16, 192-197.

Finlayson, M, Preissner K, & Cho C.  (2013). Impact of comorbidity on fatigue managementintervention outcomes among people with multiple sclerosis: an exploratory investigation.  International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care, 15, 21-26.

Anne G. Fisher, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA

1992

Anne G. Fisher, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Fisher is Professor, Division of Occupational Therapy, Department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation, Umeå University, Sweden.  "The focus of her research has been on the development of occupation-centered tools that support the implementation of occupation-based and/or occupation-focused occupational therapy services. Among them are (a) the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS) that is used to evaluate a person's quality of ADL task performance; (b) the School Version of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (School AMPS), the only existing observational assessment of a student's ability to perform schoolwork tasks that have been assigned by the teacher and performed within the student's natural classroom milieu; and (c) the Evaluation of Social Interaction that is used to evaluate the quality of social interactions of persons when they are engaging in natural social exchanges with typical partners. She has also developed the Occupational Therapy Intervention Process Model, a professional reasoning model that enables occupational therapists to implement occupation- and client-centered services to their clients." (Retrieved on April 26, 2015 from http://www.nmota.org/newsletter/2013_newsletter.pdf.)

Dr. Fisher was awarded the AOTF A. Jean Ayres Award in 1991. In 1997, Dr. Fisher was the recipient of the AOTA Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship. She is currently living in Fort Collins, Colorado after living 10 years in Sweden, and continues to work part time as a professor for Umeå University. (Retrieved on April 26, 2015 from http://www.ot.chhs.colostate.edu/faculty-staff/anne_fisher.aspx.) She was named one of the 100 Influential People in occupational therapy by AOTA.


Selected References

Fisher, AG. (1998). Uniting practice and theory in an occupational framework - 1998 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 52, 509-521.  

Gantschnig BE, Fisher AG, Page J, Meichtry A, Nilsson I. (2015). Differences in activities of daily living (ADL) abilities of children across world regions: a validity study of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills. Child Care Health and Development, 41, 230-238.

Gantschnig, BE, Page, J, Nisson, I, & Fisher, AG. (2013). Detecting differences in activities of daily living between children with and without mild disabilities. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 67. 319-327.  

Zingmark, M, Fisher AG, Rocklöv, J, Nilsson I. (2014). Occupation-focused interventions for well older people: an exploratory randomized controlled trial. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 21, 447-457. 

Susan Garber, MA, OTR, FAOTA

2006

Susan Garber, MA, OTR, FAOTA

Ms. Garber is a Professor in the Department of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. She has dedicated her career to researching prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers in people with spinal cord injuries and has made significant contributions to this field. She joined the faculty at Baylor after working as a full-time clinical occupational therapist. She spent 19 years conducting research at The Institute of Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) as assistant director for research and education in the department of occupational therapy and then 10 years conducting research through the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Her research interests are in the areas of spinal cord injury, prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers, rehabilitation outcomes, technology and rehabilitation, and patient and family education. (Retrieved on April 28, 2015 from https://www.bcm.edu/people/view/b2559e16-ffed-11e2-be68-080027880ca6)

She received her bachelor of science in occupational therapy from Columbia University and her master of arts in occupational therapy at Texas Women’s University.

Ms. Garber is a recipient of the AOTA Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship Award, and is a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association as well as the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine. Ms. Garber was named one of the 100 Influential People of Occupational Therapy by AOTA.

Ms. Garber is a member of the AOTF Board of Trustees and was named one of the 100 Influential People of Occupational Therapy by AOTA.


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.  
Conscientious, focused, precise.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
Research Improves the health and recovery of patients/clients by questioning and testing existing approaches and exploring opportunities for their enhancement or effectiveness. I hope to teach health professionals how to evaluate and treat pain, especially in vulnerable populations like youths with physical disabilities.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Actually, there are two: first: have enough clinical experience to determine area(s) of interest in order to ask the right questions; second, initially, identify a mentor whose work you admire and whose work interests you. Do not try to "plug yourself into" a research project that is of no interest 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?
Again, there are two: development of research skills through structured academic courses as well as during clinical fieldwork where all students should be required to develop a research project; identify a mentor with a track record in research design and implementation.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
Initially, mentors outside the field of occupational therapy (engineers) included me, supported my growth and development as a researcher and challenged me to adapt traditional occupational therapy interventions to solve the clinical problems at the core of the Rehabilitation Engineering Center (effect of pressure on tissue), problems not usually part of the occupational therapy purview.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.   
Travel; reading; spending time with my 5 grandchildren.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
In part, through my efforts, I have managed to bring a focus on the creation of new knowledge to the profession of occupational therapy. It is most rewarding that I have contributed to a body of knowledge that now is included in the armamentarium of innovative solutions to the clinical problems which our patients face daily.


Selected References

Clark, F, Pyatak, EA, Carlson, M, Blanche, EI, Vigen, C, Hay, J, Mallinson, T, Blanchard, J, Unger, JB, Garber, SL, Diaz, J, Florindez, LI, Atkins, M, Rubayi, S & Azen, SP; PUPS Study Group.  (2014). Implementing trials of complex interventions in community settings: the USC-Rancho Los Amigos pressure ulcer prevention study (PUPS). Clinical Trials. 11, 218-229.  

Pyatak, EA, Blanche, EI, Garber, SL, Diaz, J, Blanchard, J, Florindez, L & Clark FA.  (2013), Conducting intervention research among underserved populations: lessons learned and recommendations for researchers. Archives in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94, 1190-1198.

Wu, GA, Garber, SL & Bogie, KM.  (2015), Utilization and user satisfaction with alternating pressure air cushions: a pilot study of at-risk individuals with spinal cord injury. Disability and Rehabilitation Assistive Technology, 2015 Mar 24:1-5. [Epub ahead of print]  

Erika G. Gisel, PhD, OTR, erg

1994

Erika G. Gisel, PhD, OTR, erg

Dr. Gisel is Professor Emerita, School of Physical & Occupational Therapy, McGill University, Montreal, Québec, Canada.  "Dr. Gisel's research interests are directed toward the assessment and treatment of individuals with neurologically based eating impairments. Studies examining early markers of oral sensory problems in infants with feeding disabilities, as well as the influence of repetitive behaviors on motor development in children with autism spectrum disorders are currently in progress."  (Retrieved on April 28, 2015 from https://www.mcgill.ca/spot/faculty/gisel)


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Creative, persistent, dedicated.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
It allows me to give more evidence-based answers to questions of parents of my patients.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
If you are uncertain about the treatment approaches we use, it is time to seek these answers through research.

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?
Multidisciplinary approaches to complex questions.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
They allowed me to make my own mistakes and to learn from them, but at the same time pointed to future directions of my work.

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

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The work with students.


Selected References

Francis-Bacz, C, Wood-Dauphinee, S & Gisel, E. (2013). The discriminative validity of the McGill Ingestive Skills Assessment. Physical & Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 31, 148-158.  

Fucile, S, McFarland, DH, Gisel, EG & Lau C.  (2012). Oral and nonoral sensorimotorinterventions facilitate suck-swallow-respiration functions and their coordination in preterm infants. Early Human Development, 88, 345-350.

Fucile, S, Gisel, EG, McFarland, DH, & Lau C.  (2011). Oral and non-oral sensorimotorinterventions enhance oral feeding performance in preterm infants. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 53, 829-835.  

Laura N. Gitlin, PhD

2001

Laura N. Gitlin, PhD

As of February 1, 2018, Dr. Gitlin is the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In Her Own Words: Get to Know Laura N. Gitlin, PhD

Drexel University Interview with Dr. Gitlin.

Before moving to Drexel University, Dr. Gitlin was the Isabel Hampton Robb Distinguished Professor in the School of Nursing and and the Director, Center for Innovative Care in Aging at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry.   "Her programs of research include understanding adaptive processes in old age-particularly with the use of assistive devices and environmental modifications-psycho-social-environmental approaches to helping older people with physical frailty age in place, nonpharmacologic approaches to enhancing quality of life of persons with dementia and their family caregivers, mental health disparities in older African Americans and depression treatments, and translating and implementing evidence-based interventions for family caregivers, individuals with dementia, and older adults with functional difficulties."   (Retrieved on April 23, 2015 from http://nursing.jhu.edu/faculty_research/faculty/faculty-directory/community-publichealth/laura-gitlin.)

 

Selected References

Gitlin, LN, Winter, L & Stanley, IH.  (2015). Compensatory strategies: Prevalence of use and relationship to physical function and well-being. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 2015 Apr 13. pii: 0733464815581479. [Epub ahead of print]

Gitlin, LN, Szanton, SL, Huang, J &Roth, DL.  (2014). Factors mediating the effects of a depression intervention on functional disability in older African Americans. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 62, 2280-2287.  

Gitlin, LN, Mann, WC, Vogel, WB & Arthur PB.  (2013). A non-pharmacologic approach to address challenging behaviors of Veterans with dementia: description of the tailored activity program-VA randomized trial. BioMed Central Geriatrics, 2013 Sep 23;13:96.  doi: 10.1186/1471-2318-13-96. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3852524/

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

2019

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Yael Goverover, an Associate Professor, New York University and visiting scientist, Kessler Foundation, established her scholarship based upon the need for research studies in occupational therapy that advance rehabilitation to improve the lives of persons with functional cognitive impairments following multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury. Her research focuses in two key areas: (1) Development and investigation of functional cognition assessments for persons with cognitive and functional impairments; (2) Development and investigation of occupationally focused interventions for persons with functional cognitive difficulties. Her research is unique because it focuses on treatment and assessment of functional, everyday activities, using rigorous methodology. Her scholarship in occupational therapy and rehabilitation is supported by research grants from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and BioGen IDEC and has been published in prominent peer-reviewed rehabilitation journals. She has also presented her work by invitation both nationally and internationally.


Q and A


Identify three words that others have used to describe you: 
Driven, honest, and curious 
 
How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I have devoted the past 15 years of my professional life to learning more about the link between cognition and everyday life performance to better understand how we can improve the lives of people with cognitive impairments. The evidence generated by these studies provides patients these patients a toolbox of evidence based strategies to use in their daily life. I believe that the dissemination of this work can help professionals and patients improve their lives and be more satisfied with their lives. I hope that my work (and others) will improve the lives of persons with cognitive impairments: I hope that the research we do will alleviate cognitive impairments, and facilitate the transfer and generalization of treatment gains into their daily life. 
 
What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
There are many ways to do research, especially in the field of occupational therapy. One can work and observe the world around us or one can choose the more academic course and pursue a doctorate and beyond. For me, the academic route, and especially the post-doc experience were very significant as it enhanced my collaboration with other professionals who do research similar to mine and enhanced my research skills in general. Above all, no matter what path you choose, stay curious and don’t accept the world as is. Always ask questions about your observations and your work. 
 
Besides your own areas of inquiry, what is one research priority that you believe is important for the future of occupational science and occupational therapy?
There are so many research priorities to consider. Recently I participated in a conference where I heard about the field of culinary medicine, a new evidence-based field that blends the art of food and cooking with the science of medicine. OTs should participate in this research. Another priority field is technology. As technology advances, OTs should work integrate it into our treatment and research. At the same time, we should strive to understand the disparities in its use and why some people use it more than others from various perspectives, including a social justice perspective. 
 
Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey. 
I have had a few significant academic, clinical and scientific mentors in my life and each played a unique role. The most important role a mentor played in my life was teaching me to observe and believe in myself as an independent researcher by providing me the space to develop an independent line of research. Mentors have also provided feedback that brought my work to the next level.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work. 
I have many occupations, but recently I have come to enjoy acrylic painting and daily exercise (during which I think about the best way to analyze data). 
 
What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
There are so many rewarding aspects of this career. First, the people I meet and work with in my research and academic life, both participants and professionals. My research participants teach me about life with disabilities in America and make me aware of issues related to social justice. Through my academic life I meet colleagues who become my family and who enlighten my thinking. Second, making a difference in a person’s life. I once received a letter from a mother of study participant with TBI thanking me for the improvement she saw in her son, or a study participant with MS told me that he felt alive again. Finally, seeing a published manuscript is always very rewarding. 


Selected References

Goverover, Y, Chiaravalloti, N, Genova, H & DeLuca, J. (2017). An RCT to treat impaired learning and memory in multiple sclerosis: The self-GEN trial. Multiple Sclerosis 1:1352458517709955. doi: 10.1177/1352458517709955. PMID: 28485659.

Goverover, Y, O’Brien, A, Moore, NB, & DeLuca, J. (2010). Actual Reality: A new approach to functional assessment in persons with multiple sclerosis. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 91, 252-260.  doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2009.09.022. PMID:  20159130.  

Goverover, Y, Johnston, MV, Toglia, J, & DeLuca, J. (2007).  Treatment to improve self-awareness for persons with acquired brain injury. Brain Injury 21, 913-923. PMID:17729044.


 

Joy Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2014

Joy Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Hammel "is Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy and Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois and has been named the Wade/Meyer Endowed Chair in Occupational Therapy. Dr. Hammel is a nationally and internationally recognized leader, scholar and educator in the areas of community living and participation disparities with people with disabilities as well as community-based participatory research."  Retrieved on April 29, 2015 from http://www.ahs.uic.edu/news/title,11430,en.html.)


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Passionate, Creative, Participatory.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I hope to make a difference by doing participatory research with disability communities that can be translated back to and inform communities, rehabilitation professionals and systems, and policy makers about participation disparities people with disabilities face and effective strategies and environmental interventions to respond to and address these disparities and instead create participation opportunities.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Collaborate with a respected mentor(s) and build strong community of learning/scholarship in which you can learn, thrive and be supported and challenged in your scholarship.

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?
Comparative effectiveness studies of interventions related to transitioning across the lifespan (K-12 to post secondary and independent living/work, nursing home to community living and work, transitions to home and community following rehabilitation, and aging in place transitions as an older adult).

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
They have inspired, empowered and critically challenged me at the same time-all of which are critically needed to become a scientist and scholar.  My mentors in the disability community have also grounded me in real life needs and issues from within the community.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Traveling all over the place and meeting lots of different people.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
That research and evidence generated from it (qualitative and quantitative) can really make a difference in people's lives and in changing systems to support participation for many.


Selected References

Hammel, J, Magasi, S, Heinemann, A, Gray, DB, Stark, S, Kisala, P, Carlozzi, NE, Tulsky, D, Garcia, SF & Hahn EA.  (2015). Environmental barriers and supports to everyday participation: a qualitative insider perspective from people with disabilities.  Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 96, 578-588.  

Hammel, J, Southall, K, Jutai, J, Finlayson, M, Kashindi, G & Fok D.  (2013). Evaluating use and outcomes of mobility technology: a multiple stakeholder analysis. Disability and Rehabilitation.  Assistive Technology, 8, 294-304.

Zakrajsek, AG, Hammel, J & Scazzero, JA.  (2014). Supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to participate in their communities through support staff pilot intervention. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. 27, 154-162.

Betty R. Hasselkus, PhD, OTR, FAOTA

2000

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 and was editor of The American Journal of Occupational Therapy from 1998-2003.  Dr. Hasselkus was named one of the 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy by AOTA.


Q Aand 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.  


Selected References

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.

 

Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

2013

Christine Helfrich, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Dr. Helfrich is an adjunct instructor at Bristol Community College, Fall River, Massachusetts and Co-Investigator Project Team, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Helfrich describes her research in this way: "My research is community based with vulnerable populations including individuals who are/have been homeless, survivors of domestic violence and their children and individuals with mental illness. Working with these populations I have completed needs assessments, developed interventions and evaluated outcomes."  (Retrieved on June 4, 2015 from https://www.linkedin.com/pub/christine-helfrich/83/b19/1b7.)


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Innovative. Collaborative. Generous.

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I would like my work to support occupational therapists to assist individuals, particularly those who are marginalized, to develop the skills they need and a sense of their own competence and worth so that they are free to be themselves and do what is important to them.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Don't be afraid to do what you believe is important, the most motivating words to me are "You won't be able to do it." Focus on an area that you are passionate about, so that when you encounter internal or external barriers, you will be motivated to keep going.

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 field needs to continue to educate others about the importance of occupation and that involving human beings needs to be translational and community based even if the tradeoff means smaller sample sizes. We must educate federal funders about the importance of our role in all areas of rehabilitation.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
They believed in my ideas, encouraged my "non-traditional" applications of occupational therapy and supported my dreams and endeavors.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Supporting my daughter to believe she can become whatever she wants and to be proud of who she is. Travelling and making every day an adventure!

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
That my work has been more far reaching than I ever imagined and that it has helped a wide variety of people in a number of ways clinically and has supported the work of occupational therapists in various settings.


Selected References

Chan, DV, Helfrich, CA, Hursh, NC, Sally, Rogers E & Gopal S.  (2014). Measuring community integration using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and participatory mapping for people who were once homeless. Health and Place, 27, 92-101.

Chang, FH, Coster, WJ & Helfrich CA.  (2013). Community participation measures for people with disabilities: a systematic review of content from an international classification of functioning, disability and health perspective. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 94, 771-781.

Helfrich, CA, Simpson, EK &Chan, DV.  (2014). Change patterns of homeless individuals with mental illness: a multiple case study. Community Mental Health Journal, 50, 531-537.  

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