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

2024 Inductees to the Academy


Lindy Clemson, PhD, MAppSc (Research), BAppSc (OT), Dip OT, FOTARA, Emeritus Professor, Faculty of Medicine & Health Sydney School of Health Sciences, The University of Sydney Sydney, Australia


Professor Emeritus Lindy Clemson is a specialist in public health research on ageing and an occupational therapist with a PhD in epidemiology. She has led research and advocacy internationally for best practice in home evaluation and falls prevention using environmental and enablement strategies. Her research has transformed approaches to fall prevention and provided new approaches and strategies to occupational therapy and medical practitioners and to a lay audience.

This work positively impacts the lives of countless older people around the world. Clemson’s contributions have been recognized by national and international entities, including being elected as an inaugural fellow of the Australian Occupational Therapy Research Academy, reflecting her exemplary, distinguished, and sustained contributions to the science of occupational therapy.


Roberta Gittens Pineda, PhD, OTR/L, CNT, Associate Professor, Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science & Occupational Therapy, Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry, University of Southern California Los Angeles, Calif.


Dr. Roberta Pineda is a tenured Associate Professor and Director of the NICU Laboratory within the Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California. She is also a founder and co-chair of the Neonatal Therapy Certification Board. Dr. Pineda’s impactful research program investigates factors that support or impede the function of infants born prematurely with a long-term goal of developing strategies and interventions that can optimize neurodevelopmental outcomes.

Over the past decade, she has received $7 million in grant funding to support the development and implementation of several innovative programs, assessments, and products that have revolutionized key aspects of the NICU environment, including an evidence-based multimodal program that facilitates positive sensory exposures in the NICU, a standardized neonatal feeding outcome measure, a new bottle technology that paces the timing of food intake, and a community-based program that addresses gaps in therapy services associated with the transition from NICU to home, especially among populations with known health disparities.


Ganesh M. Babulal, PhD, OTD, MSCI, MOT, OTR/L, Associate Professor, Department of Neurology, Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri


Dr. Ganesh M. Babulal is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine. Dr. Babulal’s research interests reside in investigating the relationship between cognition and mental health and its impact on instrumental activities of daily living in healthy older adults and those with chronic neurological diseases.

Consistent with these interests, his funded research studies include (1) characterizing functional changes in older adults using biomarkers (structural and functional imaging, cerebrospinal fluid, plasma), (2) predicting a decline in performance and behavior via novel methodologies, (3) identifying reliable noncognitive behavioral markers that predict preclinical disease state, and (4) examining the relationship between mental health and cognitive functioning on brain health.

As his research evolved, its progression grew from structural and social determinants of health (SSDOH) and health disparities while addressing the translational gap. This work has scaled up to now examine how upstream SSDOH factors impact adverse health outcomes in underrepresented, minoritized groups in the United States and vulnerable populations in Low and Middle-Income Countries.



Members of the Academy of Research

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

Nancy Baker, ScD, MPH, OTR/L


Nancy Baker, ScD, MPH, OTR/L

Dr. Baker is Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy, Tufts University.  Her research "focuses on the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders primarily of the hand and arm. Her research reflects a synthesis of preventing work related hand injuries (ergonomics), addressing limitations due to arthritis, and examining conservative treatments for work-related hand injuries, particularly carpal tunnel syndrome. Her expertise in clinical hand biomechanics has also lead to collaborations with others interested in the effect of disability on hand coordination, such as the effects of glaucoma, or the effects of prosthetic use.

Baker's research is eclectic and uses a variety of tools and techniques to answer her research questions. She has experience with instrument development (Keyboard – Personal Computer Style [K-PeCS); motion capture analysis of upper extremity function; and has completed two randomized clinical trials, one on computer keyboard use, and one comparing conservative treatments of carpal tunnel syndrome. She has developed skills in large dataset analyses and is developing health systems intervention research to improve the care of people with carpal tunnel syndrome.

From her experiences in work rehabilitation, Baker developed an interest in epidemiology and population level research. She obtained a Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology in 2009, and was a Guest Researcher at the Centers for Disease Control Division of Population Health: Arthritis, Epilepsy, and Well-Being Branch from 2014 to 2015. She is currently exploring how knowledge translation and implementation science can be used to increase the uptake of evidence-based treatments in occupational therapy."  (Retrieved on March 15 2019 from https://ase.tufts.edu/occupationalTherapy/people/baker.htm.)

Dr. Baker became an associate editor of OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health in February 2017.



Selected References

Baker, NA, Moehling, K, Park, SY. (2015) The effect of a fixed split-angle keyboard on musculoskeletal discomfort: A randomized cross-over trial. Work, 50(4):677-86. doi: 10.3233/WOR-131797
Qin, J, Theis, KA, Barbour, KE, Helmick, CG, Baker, NA, Brady, TJ. (2015) The impact of arthritis and multiple chronic conditions on selected life domains, United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), 64(21):578-582
Baker, NA, Barbour, K, Helmick, C, Zack, MM, Al Snih, S. (2017) Associations between arthritis and change in physical function in U.S. retirees. Journal of Gerontology A: Biological Sciences Medical Sciences, 72(1):127-133. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glw075
Baker, NA, Barbour, K, Helmick, C, Zack, M, Al Snih, S. (2017) Arthritis and cognitive impairment in older adults. International Rheumatology, 37(6):955-961. doi: 10.1007/s00296-017-3698-1
Bove, AM, Baker, NA, *Livengood, H, King, V, Mancino, J, Popchak, A, Fitzgerald, K. (2017) Task-specific training for adults with chronic knee pain: a case series. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy,;47(8):548-556. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2017.7349
Qin, J, Barbour, L, Murphy, L, Baker, NA, Helmick, C, Theis, K, Schwartz, T, Renner, J, Nelson, A, Allen, K, Jordan, J. (2017) Lifetime risk of symptomatic hand osteoarthritis: The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 69(6):1204-1212. doi: 10.1002/art.40097
Baker, NA, Livengood, H, Nau, AC, Owens, G, Chambers, AJ, Trout, J, Cham, R. (2017) Effect of central and peripheral vision occlusion on motor performance during hand coordination tasks. IIE Transactions on Occupational Ergonomics and Human Factors,5(3-4):148-157. doi: 10.1080/24725838.2017.1398691
Bass, J, Baker, NA. (2017) Occupational therapy and public health: Advancing research to improve population health and health equity. Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 37(4):175-177. doi: 10.1177/1539449217731665
Baker, NA, Stevans, J, Terhorst, L, Haas, A, Kuo, Y-F, Al Snih, S. What types of treatment are provided for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome? A retrospective analysis of commercial insurance. PM&R. Online pre-publication doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2018.02.004
Pure, E, Terhorst, L, Baker, NA.(2018) Movement and manual therapy for adults with arthritis: National Health Interview Survey. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 37:96-102. Doi 0.1016/j.ctim.2018.02.007 

Hui-Ing Ma, ScD, OT


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.

Yael Goverover, PhD, OTR/L


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.


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.