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



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

2022 Inductees to the Academy

Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA, University of Pittsburgh


Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA, University of Pittsburgh

Natalie Leland is Associate Professor and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Occupational Therapy within the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her interdisciplinary research program is focused on improving quality of care, optimizing desired patient outcomes, and mitigating health disparities.

Her research portfolio reflects the mutual integration of her health services research, implementation science, gerontology, and occupational training.  Her work is known for quantifying care delivery and patient outcomes, capturing stakeholder perspectives on best practice and interdisciplinary care, responding to evidence needs of providers, and advancing the methodology evidence-base for stakeholder engagement.  Dr. Leland’s research portfolio is recognized both internationally and nationally for championing stakeholder engagement throughout the research process to address meaningful clinical and policy-relevant questions intended to improve the lives of vulnerable older adults in post-acute and long-term care.

Elizabeth Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA , University of Southern California


Elizabeth Pyatak, PhD, OTR/L, CDCES, FAOTA , University of Southern California

Elizabeth Pyatak’s original and impactful research program focuses on the development, implementation, and assessment of innovative occupational therapy interventions that enhance the health, well-being, and quality of life of individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, particularly among medically underserved and at-risk populations.  By grounding her pioneering lifestyle interventions on the findings of her qualitative inquiries on the day-to-day issues of underserved populations living with diabetes, Dr. Pyatak has transformed how the field of occupational therapy approaches the management of medically complex chronic conditions by addressing not only the therapeutic needs of clients, but also the broader social contexts that contribute to their conditions.  She currently serves as Principal Investigator on two NIH R01 awards totaling over $6.7 million, has published 39 peer-reviewed articles in high impact journals, and has provided over 70 invited and refereed presentations to international, national, and regional audiences.

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


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.

Members of the Academy of Research

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

Ching-yi Wu, ScD, OTR
Helene Ross

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.


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.



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.

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