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Academy of Research In Occupational Therapy

AOREstablished 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.  

View Nomination Procedures

 

View Presentations from the 2022 Academy of Research Inductees and 2022 Early & Mid-Career Awardees

View Presentations from the 2021 Academy of Research Inductees and 2021 Early & Mid-Career Awardees

2023 Inductees to the Academy

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L

2019

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.


 

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Members of the Academy of Research

View Full List of Academy of Research Members At-A-Glance. * indicates a deceased member.

Timothy J. Wolf, OTD, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, OTJR Editor-in-Chief, University of Missouri

2022

Timothy J. Wolf, OTD, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, OTJR Editor-in-Chief, University of Missouri

Timothy Wolf is the Associate Dean for Research, Department Chair, and Professor at the University of Missouri.  The goal of Dr. Wolf’s research is to generate knowledge that will establish the effectiveness of interventions to improve participation in work and community activities after changes in the brain (i.e., neurological injury).  He conducts research with individuals who have functional cognitive deficits after a stroke or who have chemotherapy-induced cognitive impairments.

The two primary objectives of his research laboratory are to:  1) identify and manage cognitive changes (primarily functional cognitive changes) to improve participation after neurological injury; and 2) investigate the efficacy of self-management education and cognitive-strategy training interventions to improve health and participation outcomes after neurological injury.

When people get back to activities that interest and motivate them, their quality of life increases as well; their conditions do not define them as human beings.

Dr. Wolf has collaborated with investigators at University of Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis, University of Toronto, University of Illinois, University of Michigan, University of Wisconsin, University of Washington, St. John’s Rehabilitation Hospital (Toronto), and University of Illinois-Chicago.

Ching-yi Wu, ScD, OTR

2018

Ching-yi Wu, ScD, OTR

Dr. Wu is a full professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and the Graduate Institute of Behavioral Science in the College of Medicine at Chang Gung University in Taoyuan City, Taiwan with a practice appointment as Adjunct Occupational Therapist in Chang Gung University Hospital. Dr. Wu’s research interest mainly lies in neurorehabilitation after stroke and the application of motor control study in stroke rehabilitation, together with examining the psychometric and clinimetric properties of outcome evaluations used in efficacy study. She has combined electrophysiological stimulation with task-oriented approaches; for example, transcranial direct current stimulation combined with mirror therapy for facilitating neural reorganization and motor recovery. Dr. Wu’s research has used kinematic analysis and functional magnetic resonance imaging to study the nature of improved movement control and the possible neural mechanisms underlying improvement. Dr. Wu has published over 172 journal articles and is the Principle Investigator of the Human-Machine Interface in the Healthy Aging Center at Chang Gung University which facilitates the application of technology in rehabilitation and occupational therapy practice.


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Persistent, Action-oriented, Interdisciplinary

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
I hope to make a difference in clinical practice in terms of optimizing the benefits of interventions for persons with physical dysfunction. Research on the mechanism and efficacy of theory-based and innovative interventions and on searching for the most appropriate clients to the specific approach is critical to achieve this aim. I also hope to make a difference in knowledge and practice by incorporating contemporary technology such as non-invasive brain stimulation, artificial intelligence to clinical decision making, monitoring, evaluation, and intervention of occupational therapy.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Be enthusiastic and interested in exploring unknown phenomenon.

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?
Integrate artificial intelligence and telerehabilitation into OT knowledge and practice for health care and promotion.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by respectful scholars who are devoted to research and professional development. What I learned and I’d like to pass on to the young researcher or scholars is to sharpen your thinking and create all kinds of possibility for enriching the field of interest.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Travel, cuisine, hiking

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research? The most rewarding aspect is to mentor graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and collaborate with colleagues to go through a series of the research programs finding out the possible/temporary answers to the research question and contributing to establishment of the scientific base of occupational therapy.

 

REFERENCES

Chen, H., Lin, K., Liing, R., Wu, C.-Y., & Chen, C.-L. (2015). Kinematic measures of arm-trunk movements during unilateral and bilateral reaching predict clinically important change in perceived arm use in daily activities after intensive stroke rehabilitation. Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation, 12, 84-94. doi:10.1186/s12984-015-0075-8.

Wu, C.-Y., Chen, C.-L., Tsai, W., Lin, K. (2007). A randomized controlled trial of modified constraint-induced movement therapy for elderly stroke survivors: Changes in motor impairment, daily functioning, and quality of life. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 88, 273-8. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2006.11.021.

Wu, C.-Y., Chuang L-L., Lin K-C., Chen, H., & Tsay, P. (2011). Randomized trial of distributed constraint-induced therapy versus bilateral arm training for the rehabilitation of upper-limb Motor control and function after stroke. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 25, 130-139. doi:10.1177/1545968310380686.

Wu, C-Y, Chuang L-L, Lin K-C, Lee S-D, & Hong W-H. (2011). Responsiveness, minimal detectable change, and minimal clinically important difference of the Nottingham Extended Activities of Daily Living scale in patients with improved performance after stroke rehabilitation. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 92, 1281-1287. doi:10.1016/j.apmr.2011.03.008.

Wu, C.-Y., Chuang, I.-C., Ma, H.-I., Lin, K.-C., & Chen, C.-L. (2016). Validity and responsiveness of the Revised Nottingham Sensation Assessment for outcome evaluation in stroke rehabilitation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70, 7002290040. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2016.018390.

Wu, C.-Y., Lin K-C, Chen, H.-C., Chen, I.-H., & Hong, W.-H. (2007) Effects of Modified Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy on Movement Kinematics and Daily Function in Patients With Stroke: A Kinematic Study of Motor Control Mechanisms. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 21, 460 doi:10.1177/1545968307303411

Wu, C.-Y., Wong, M., Lin, K., Chen, H.-C. (2001). Effects of task goal and personal preference on seated reaching kinematics after stroke. Stroke, 32, 70-76. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1161/01.STR.32.1.70.

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.

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, N. B., & 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, M. V., Toglia, J., & DeLuca, J. (2007).  Treatment to improve self-awareness for persons with acquired brain injury. Brain Injury 21, 913-923. PMID:17729044.

Elizabeth June Yerxa, EdD, OTR, FAOTA

1993

Elizabeth June Yerxa, EdD, OTR, FAOTA

Dr. Yerxa is Distinguished Emeritus Professor, Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California. Dr. Yerxa is highly regarded for her contributions to the philosophical base and values of occupational therapy, for her research on life satisfaction of people living with severe disabilities and the nature and management of time, as well as for her work initiating and advocating occupational science research. In 1966, Dr. Yerxa was awarded occupational therapy's highest academic honor, the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Award, and delivered her Slagle Lecture entitled "Authentic Occupational Therapy". She . . . received the AOTA Award of Merit, the highest award from the Association, in 1987. Since 1988 she has been an Emerita Professor at USC. (Retrieved on October 14, 2015 from http://chan.usc.edu/faculty/directory/Elizabeth_Yerxa.)

Dr. Yerxa was named one of the 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy by AOTA.


REFERENCES

Yerxa, EJ. (2009).Infinite distance between the I and the it. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 490-497.

Yerxa, EJ. (2002). Habits in context: a synthesis, with implications for research in occupational science. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 22, (Supplement 1), 104S-110S.

Yerxa, E.J. (2000). Occupational science: A renaissance of service to humankind through knowledge. Occupational Therapy International, 7, (2), 87-98.

Yerxa, E.J. (1967). 1966 Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecture: Authentic occupational therapy. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 21, 1-9.

Yerxa, E. J. (1998). Health and the human spirit for occupation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 52(6), 412-418.

Jenny Ziviani, PhD, BAppSC(OT), MEd

2016

Jenny Ziviani, PhD, BAppSC(OT), MEd

Jenny Ziviani is the inaugural professor of children's allied health research with Queensland Children's Health Service and The University of Queensland, Australia. Her 30-year background as a clinician, academic and researcher has focused on the well-being of children at risk of a range of physical, developmental and psychosocial conditions, their families and the communities in which they live. As an active researcher, she has successfully managed large national and international competitive grants to a cumulative value in excess of AUS$7million, published over 200 internationally peer viewed articles, 32 book chapters, four books and presented over 210 conference papers.

In supporting the next generation of occupational therapy researchers she has successfully brought to completion 39 doctoral students. She has been awarded the Open Award for Research Excellence, and the Sylvia Docker Award for contribution to the profession by Occupational Therapy Australia.


Q AND A

Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Questioning; Creative; Collaborative

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
Ensuring that you include those at the core of your research as informers and/or collaborators will mean that you are asking the 'right' questions and will result in findings that are meaningful. Irrespective of how well designed and rigorously executed research is it will never, however, make a difference unless the findings are communicated and applied within the real world. Don't just focus on research without considering a communication and implementation strategy. It is the latter that makes a real difference.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
The most meaningful research ideas and questions arise from allowing time for reading, reflecting but more importantly discussing and collaborating with other researchers from diverse fields. Sometime the most meaningful research arises out of the most unexpected collaborations. See research as a creative undertaking that can capture your interest and sustain you for the longer term. Try to enjoy the process and not just focus on the outcome, albeit that the latter should always be celebrated.

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?
My research has always been with children and families but I am very aware that the world in which they live can offer climatic, sociodemographic, political and economic challenges for all of us. I think being aware of the context of our research endeavours means that we need to also offer our occupational perspective to global issues.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
I have been truly fortunate to be surrounded, by choice as much as accident, scholars who are highly competent, generous and caring. What I have learned and what I hope I pass on to others is the ability to be autonomy supportive. I have been supported to follow my ideas, not all of which have been successful but all of which have helped me grow.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Connecting with nature renews and energizes me. Be it the seaside, mountains or just a river walk in the local neighbourhood, absorbing the richness of environmental sounds and smells always refreshes me. Most of the solutions to my research and professional problems usually appear at these times.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
Without doubt the most rewarding aspect has the calibre of the people with whom I have been privileged to work in my academic life. Anyone who is an academic will know that there are many challenges, personal and organisational, which can be very disheartening. Colleagues who are generous in spirit are really the fuel that sustains a long academic life. Being able to share my academic life with a wonderful supportive husband has been a real bonus as has having a son who can bring me back to earth with a sharp, witty one-liner.

 

REFERENCES

Ashburner, J., Ziviani, J. & Rodger, S. (2010) Surviving in the Mainstream: Capacity of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to perform academically and regulate their emotions and behavior at school, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 4, 18-27 . doi: 10.1016/j.rasd.2009.07.002

Miller, L., Ziviani, J., Ware, R. & Boyd, R. (2014) Mastery motivation in children with congenital hemiplegia: individual and environmental associations. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 56, 267-274. DOI: 10.1111/dmcn.12356

Pont, K., Ziviani, J., Wadley, D. & Abbott, R. (2011). The Model of Children's Active Travel (M-CAT): a conceptual framework for examing factors influencing children's active travel. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 58, 138-144. (published on line, doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1630.2010.00865.x)

Sakzewski, L., Ziviani, J., Abbott, D., MacDonell, R., Jackson, G. & Boyd, R. (Accepted 20/10/2010). Randomized trial of constraint-induced movement therapy and bimanual training on activity outcomes for children with congenital hemiplegia. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 53(4), 313-320. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03859.x
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