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.

G. Gordon Williamson, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
Helene Ross

G. Gordon Williamson, PhD, OTR, FAOTA


Dr. Williamson was Associate Clinical Professor in the Rehabilitation Medicine Department, Columbia University, New York, New York and founder and director of the pediatric rehabilitation department, John F. Kennedy (JFK) Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey. His research focused on how children with special needs and their families cope with the challenges of daily activities.

While at the JFK Medical Center, Dr. Williamson directed two projects: (1) the COPING Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, offering training and technical assistance to support the provision of family-centered early intervention services that enhance adaptive functioning; and (2) the Social Competence Project, previously funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a model demonstration program to foster the interpersonal skills of children with disabilities. (Retrieved on October 14, 2015 from http://columbiaot.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Winter-Spring-2006-2007.pdf and http://products.brookespublishing.com/cw_contributorinfo.aspxContribID=1135&Name=G.+Gordon+Williamson%2C+Ph.D.%2C+OTR.)



Williamson, GG & Anzalone, ME. (2001). Sensory integration and self-regulation in infants and toddlers: Helping very young children interact with the environment. Washington, DC: Zero to Three.

Williamson, GG & Dorman, WJ. (2003). Promoting social competence. San Antonio, TX: Therapy Skill Builders, The Psychological Corporation, A Harcourt Assessment Company.

Williamson, GG, Zeitlin, S, & Szczepanski, M. (1989). Coping behavior: Implications for disabled infants and toddlers. Infant Mental Health Journal, 10, 3-13.

Zeitlin, S & Williamson, GG. (1990). Coping characteristics of disabled and nondisabled young children. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 60, (3), 404-411.

Eggbeer, L., Fenichel, E., Pawl, J. H., Shanok, R. S., & Williamson, G. G. (1994). Training the trainers: Innovative strategies for teaching relationship concepts and skills to infant/family professionals. Infants & Young Children,7(2), 53-61.

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