Dr. Clark is Professor at the Mrs. T. H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles. She is a past president of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). In 1992, Dr. Clark was the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer, AOTA's highest academic honor, and in 1999 she received AOTA's Award of Merit. Dr. Clark received the AOTA-AOTF Presidents' Award in Honor of Wilma L. West in 2017 and was named one of the 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy by AOTA.
Since 1985, Florence Clark has attracted more than $10 million in extramural funding from NIH, NIDRR, and other federal agencies for research and training in the areas of healthy aging and the secondary conditions that impede the flourishing of people with disabilities in their real life circumstances. Dr. Clark's research programs in healthy aging and in the prevention of pressure ulcers in persons with spinal cord injury have followed a blueprint for translational research which she first developed with colleagues in connection with the USC Well Elderly Study. Initiated in 1993, the Well Elderly Study (RO1 AG11810) was a randomized controlled trial which demonstrated that preventive occupational therapy forestalls the declines associated with typical aging and improves the health of independently living elders. (Retrieved on January 29, 2015 from http://chan.usc.edu/faculty/directory/Florence_Clark/.)
Q and A
Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Tenacious, creative, hardworking.
How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
By developing cost-effective interventions that prevent chronic disease and disability.
What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Stay focused and be open to learning from mentors.
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?
Demonstrating the efficacy of occupational therapy intervention approaches in improving quality of life of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
They were extremely encouraging, believed in my potential, and trusted that I was highly motivated to serve the public good.
Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
I have been surprised to discover that components of interventions I assumed were accounting for certain beneficial effects were irrelevant. What has been most rewarding is providing evidence that interventions we develop actively produce positive health outcomes cost-effectively in underserved, ethnically diverse populations.
Blanche, EI, Fogelberg, D, Diaz, J, Carlson, M, & Clark, F. (2011). Manualization of occupational therapy interventions: Illustrations from the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Research Program. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 65, (6), 711-719.
Clark, F. (1993). Occupation Embedded in a Real Life: Interweaving Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy: 1993 Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecture. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 47, (12), 1067-1078.
Clark, F, Azen, SP, Zemke, R, Jackson, J, Carlson, M, Mandel, D, Hay, J, Josephson, K, Cherry, B, Hessel, C, Palmer, J & Lipson, L. (1997 Oct 22-29). Occupational therapy for independent-living older adults. A randomized controlled trial. JAMA, 278, 321-1326.
Clark, F, Jackson, J, Carlson, M, Chou, CP, Cherry, BJ, Jordan-Marsh, M, Knight, BG, Mandel, D, Blanchard, J, Granger, DA, Wilcox, RR, Lai, MY, White, B, Hay, J, Lam, C, Marterella, A & Azen, S. P. (2012). Effectiveness of a lifestyle intervention in promoting the well-being of independently living older people: results of the Well Elderly 2 Randomised Controlled Trial. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66, 782-790.
Ghaisas, S, Pyatak, EA, Blanche, E, Blanchard, J, Clark, F; PUPS II Study Group. (2015 Jan-Feb). Lifestyle changes and pressure ulcer prevention in adults with spinal cord injury in the pressure ulcer prevention study lifestyle intervention. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(1):6901290020p1-6901290020p10. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2015.012021.