Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FAGSA
Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FAGSA

Sherrilene Classen, PhD, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FAGSA


Dr. Classen is Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, Founding Director of Western and UF’s international, post-professional distance learning Master of Clinical Science in Driving Rehabilitation Therapy (MClSc DRT) program; Director of the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation and an Extraordinary Professor at Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.  She has been the Editor of OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health since 2015.  

Click here for Dr. Classen's Google Scholar Page.

Dr. Classen's research interests include:

  • Development of measurement tools for driver screening and/or assessment
  • Evaluation and intervention of:
    • Older drivers
    • Drivers with neurological conditions (Parkinson's Disease and Returning Combat Veterans with TBI and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Healthy teens
    • Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Driving simulation
  • Driving cessation


Q and A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Competent, innovative, energetic.

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

  • Continue to make excellent contributions to the science of driving rehabilitation
  • Provide knowledge translation of driving rehabilitation science to occupational therapy practitioners (and others) to ensure best practices
  • Training 1000s of therapists, worldwide, in a newly established post-professional Master's Program in Driving Rehabilitation Therapy, to build capacity through the globe, in providing driving and community mobility services.

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

  • Create a bold vision that embodies your ultimate purpose
  • Plan action steps (types and mechanisms of grants, publications, conference presentations) purposefully-starting with the end in mind
  • Be true to yourself, appreciate your mentors, respect your colleagues, and support those who are looking up to you
  • Expect disappointments, manage them, and be grateful for them, for they do make one stronger
  • Nurture those who you love-they are your safe harbor
  • Seek excellence
  • 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?
  • Ensure our measures are valid and interventions are effective.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
Identifying potential in me and providing me with opportunities to pursue a variety of scientific or leadership roles.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Road cycling, cross-country skiing, theater, spending time in Cape Town, South Africa.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
Embarking upon a task -- driven by a bold vision-- and experiencing how one becomes a co-creator in knowledge generation.     

Selected References

Classen, S., Velozo, C., Winter, S.M., Wang, Y., Bedard, M. (2015). Psychometrics of the Fitness-to-Drive Screening Measure. The Occupational Therapy Journal of Research: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35(1), 42-52.

Classen, S., Holmes, J., Alvarez, L., Loew, K., Mulvagh, A., Rienas, K., Walton V., He, W. (2015). Clinical assessments as predictors of primary on-road outcomes in Parkinson’s disease. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35 (3), 1-8. DOI: 10.1177/1539449215601118

Classen, S., Monahan M., Auten, B and Yarney, K.A. (2014). Evidence based review of rehabilitation interventions for medically at risk older drivers. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(4), 107-114.

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