Wendy Wood, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Throughout her career, Wendy Wood has sought to deepen occupational therapy’s focus on occupation and commitment to inclusivity. She entered the profession in 1975 upon graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.S. in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University. Years of practice followed and, inspired by compelling practice experiences, she went on to earn a M.A. in Occupational Therapy in 1988 and Ph.D. in Occupational Science in 1995 from the University of Southern California (USC). While at USC, the American Occupational Therapy Foundation and California Occupational Therapy Foundation supported Dr. Wood’s early research. This support was instrumental in helping to launch Dr. Wood’s scholarly career and many professional contributions. In 1998, the American Occupational Therapy Association admitted Dr. Wood to its Roster of Fellows for her leadership as a scholar and writer. In 2017, and owing to the impact of her published body of work and commitment to inclusivity, AOTA recognized Dr. Wood as One of 100 Influential People in Occupational Therapy’s First 100 Years. Dr. Wood’s research has addressed intersections among the environment, occupation, and well-being in adults with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, as well as captive nonhuman primates. This research informed her development of an occupation-centered and dementia-specific conceptual practice model of occupational therapy. In 2018, Dr. Wood and her coauthors of an article that introduced this model received the Canadian Occupational Therapy Association’s Golden Quill Award for excellence in research and scholarly writing. Dr. Wood’s publications have also addressed occupation-centered research and practice, the philosophy of occupational therapy, and issues related to professionalism and professional education and leadership.
Other notable contributions of Dr. Wood’s include cofounding the Network for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns in Occupational Therapy in 1992; cofounding the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA in 2000; and playing leadership roles in establishing a new PhD program in Occupational Science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2004 and a new PhD program in Occupation and Rehabilitation Science at Colorado State University (CSU) in 2012. Presently, Dr. Wood is Professor of Animal Sciences and Occupational Therapy, and Director of Research of the Temple Grandin Equine Center, at CSU. In this capacity, Dr. Wood is leading research focused on incorporating horses in occupational therapy and other services to benefit children with autism, at-risk young adults, and adults with dementia.