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

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

2023 Inductees to the Academy

Sook-Lei Liew, PhD, OTR/L


Sook-Lei Liew, PhD, OTR/L

Dr. Liew is a tenured associate professor at the University of Southern California (USC) Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy with joint appointments in the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, the USC Department of Neurology within the Keck School of Medicine, and the USC Department of Biomedical Engineering within the Viterbi School of Engineering. Dr. Liew is also the Director of the Neural Plasticity and Neurorehabilitation Laboratory, member of the USC Stevens Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute, and a founder and co-director of the USC SensoriMotor Assessment and Rehabilitation Training in Virtual Reality (SMART-VR) Center. She is a registered and licensed occupational therapist specializing in adult neurology and physical disabilities, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist® (CSCS), a Fellow of the American Heart Association Research Leaders Academy, and a Fellow of ReproNim/INCF Program jointly sponsored by the Center for Reproducible Neuroimaging Computation (ReproNim) and the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility (INCF).

Carolyn A. Unsworth PhD, BAppSci(OccTher), GCTE, OTR, , MRCOT, FOTARA


Carolyn A. Unsworth PhD, BAppSci(OccTher), GCTE, OTR, , MRCOT, FOTARA

Professor Unsworth is Discipline Lead of Occupational Therapy at Federation University, and holds adjunct professorial appointments at Monash, and James Cook University in Australia, and Jönköping University in Sweden. Her research is supported by competitive grants from both government agencies and philanthropic organisations and focusses on promoting community transport mobility for people with disabilities including driver assessment and rehabilitation and public transport access. Carolyn’s research informs government fitness-to-drive guidelines and bus access policy. She is also known for her contributions to the fields of health outcome measurement and clinical reasoning. Her assessment tools, the Australian Therapy Outcome Measures (AusTOMs-OT) and Occupational Therapy Driver Off Road Assessment (OT-DORA) are used internationally. Carolyn is a supervisor of higher research degree students (PhD and Masters). She has published widely in leading journals such as the Journal of Transport and Health, Ageing and Society, and the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Members of the Academy of Research

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

Bernadette Nedelec, PhD, BScOT(C),
Helene Ross

Bernadette Nedelec, PhD, BScOT(C),


Dr. Nedelec is an Associate Professor and the former Director of the Occupational Therapy Program, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada. Her research interests focus on the rehabilitation of people who have sustained a major burn injury with a particular interest in the evaluation and treatment of hypertrophic scar. The formation of hypertrophic scar is considered one of the most important long-term consequences of a major burn injury leading to impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. Research projects have evaluated the clinical instruments used to quantify hypertrophic scar and its associated symptoms, the efficacy of treatment interventions employed to minimize hypertrophic scar and its associated sequelae, practice issues related to evidence-informed practice, ensuring burn therapist competency, and the delivery of best practice rehabilitation, as well as the comprehensive evaluation of the short- and long-term outcomes associated with burn injuries.


Identify three words that others have used to describe you.
Perseverant, hard-working, erudite

How do you hope to make a difference in the world through research?
Burn survivor rehabilitation specific research is scarce. Recent medical and surgical research advances make it possible for virtually all patients, even those with massive burn injuries, to survive. We need to provide evidence for rehabilitation interventions that will optimize function so burn survivors can participate in meaningful occupations and enjoy good quality of life.

What is one piece of advice you have for individuals considering a career in science and research?
Surround yourself with a like-minded, but diverse team who have expertise in areas that will complement your research program. Working with people who will support you, and at the same time challenge and stimulate your thinking, is essential to optimizing your research program.

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?
Expert occupational therapist working in physical medicine seamlessly incorporate the evaluation and treatment of psychosocial issues into their practice. This often times goes undocumented and is undervalued. Making this treatment explicit, researching it value and improving current practice needs to be a research priority. There are also long-term health benefits associated with enabling people’s ability to engage in meaningful occupations. Occupational therapy researchers need to quantify these benefits, particularly from an economic perspective, so that the value of what we do is unquestionable.

Describe the most important role that mentors played in your professional journey.
Mentors have played an enormous role in my academic career. They have come in many forms including colleagues, family, friends, patients, and students. They taught me the value and the sustaining power of the love of learning, to strive for excellence in all we do, to never compromise my integrity, and to always prioritize the overall goal of improving the outcome of the patients that we serve. They also modeled our responsibility to give back to the systems that support us, including supporting the development of students and junior researchers.

Identify a favorite occupation that renews you outside of your work.
Spending time with family, my children in particular, rejuvenates me and helps me to put things into perspective. Staying connected with nature is a nurturing force in my life.

What has been the most surprising or rewarding aspects of a career in science and research?
The thing that has been most surprising for me is the never-ending excitement of learning, and the thrill of working with, and learning from, the amazingly talented, crazy smart people I have had the privilege to work with.


Nedelec, B., Correa, J.A., Rachelska, G., & Armour, A. (2008). Quantitative Measurement of Hypertrophic Scar: Intrarater Reliability, Sensitivity, and Specificity, Journal of Burn Care & Research, 29, 489-500. doe: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181710869

Nedelec, B., Correa, J.A., Rachelska, G., Armour, A., & LaSalle, L. (2008) Measurement of Hypertrophic Scar: Interrater Reliability and Concurrent Validity. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 29, 501-511. doe: 10.1097/BCR.0b013e3181710881

Nedelec, B., Correa, J.A., de Oliveira, A., LaSalle, L., Perrault, I. (2014) Longitudinal burn scar quantification. Burns, 40,1504-1512. doi:10.1016/j.burns.2014.03.002

Nedelec, B., Calva, V., Chouinard, A., Couture, M., Godbout, E., de Oliveira, A., & LaSalle, L. (2016) Somatosensory Rehabilitation for Neuropathic Pain in Burn Survivors: A Case Series. Journal of Burn Care & Research, 37, e37–e46. doi:10.1097/BCR.0000000000000321

Nguyen, N.T., Lorrain, M., Pognon-Hanna, J.N., Elfassy, C., Calva, V., de Oliveira, A., & Nedelec, B. (2016) Barriers and facilitators to work reintegration and burn survivors’ perspectives on educating work colleagues. Burns, 42, 1477–1486 doi:10.1016/j.burns.2016.05.014

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