Dr. Gary Kielhofner Doctoral Research Scholarship in Occupational Therapy

KielhofnerDr. Gary Kielhofner, DrPH, OTR, FAOTA, was one of the most influential and transformational figures in occupational therapy. The Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), which he developed along with Janice Burke, is one of the most widely used theories in occupation therapy research and practice. However, as important and impactful as MOHO is, it is only one piece of Gary’s legacy. He was a mentor, colleague and collaborator with hundreds of students, faculty members, researchers and practitioners from around the world. He was a visionary who broke new ground and reshaped perspectives of social justice, human volition and helped to bridge the gap between research and practice.  He was an AOTA Fellow, one of the 100 Influential OTs named by AOTA, recipient of the AOTA Award of Merit and the AOTF A. Jean Ayres Award and an inaugural inductee into the AOTF Academy of Research

Central to both AOTF’s mission and Gary’s work is the development of new research talent in occupational therapy. It is an issue that addresses not only the need for more evidence in OT but the need for future leaders in the field. 

Now AOTF, with the support of Gary’s family, friends, colleagues and the OT community, is pleased to announce the creation of the Dr. Gary Kielhofner Doctoral Student Scholarship in Occupational Therapy. 

Gary embodied the best qualities of our profession; intellectual curiosity, volunteerism and a purpose-driven life.  Gary was generous, always available to help others, continually looking for ways to strengthen the profession and help people with new opportunities to succeed. It is this wonderful combination of talent, passion and leadership that makes Gary an exemplary model for emerging scientists and a person AOTF is delighted to recognize with research-focused award.

Donors who wish to support this scholarship and secure Gary’s legacy may make a gift to the Kielhofner Fund. Contact Lawrence Liff, AOTF Chief Development Officer.

2022 Eligibility and Instructions

Scholarship amount: $5,000

Scholarship Focus: 
Dedication to establishing a research agenda to impact the advancement of science for the field of occupational therapy through investigation or development of at least one of these approaches/focus areas:

  • Models/approaches addressing social justice, human volition, or methods to bridge the gaps between research and practice. 
  • Extensions of theoretical foundations of occupational therapy, including client-centered, occupation-based innovations. 
  • Novel and innovative intervention techniques.
  • Methods to use existing data, testing measures, or intervention approaches.
  • Describe the environment (the resources available to the applicant to support the research).

The applicant must: 

  • Be an occupational therapist enrolled in a research doctoral program (PhD, ScD, DrPH, and other doctoral research degrees will be considered). 
  • Have completed all department and institutional course work requirements with the exception of writing and defense of the dissertation.
  • Have their dissertation research plan approved by a faculty committee at their institution.
  • Have IRB approval at the time of completing the application.
  • Agree to utilize scholarship funds during their time as a doctoral candidate/student without carryover thereafter (if awarded).

2022 Application Instructions

Deadline: September 1, 2021, 11:59 p.m. PDT.

Required documents with application (download and complete forms, send all attachments with application in one email to research@aotf.org.

  1. Applicant biosketch. (sample biosketch)
  2. Mentor biosketch
  3. IRB approval documentation
  4. Letter of recommendation from mentor
  5. Hi-resolution .jpg of applicant

Questions? Contact research@aotf.org.


2022- Allison L'Hotta, OTD, OTR/L, Washington University in St. Louis, Project Title: Cancer Survivors' Participation in Meaningful Life Activities, A Mixed Methods Approach (CASPAR)

2021- Rachelle Brick, University of Pittsburgh, Research Title: Developing a Stakeholder-Driven Cancer Rehabilitation Intervention for Older Adults with Breast Cancer

2020- Dominique Como, University of Southern California Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Exploring the Occupation of Oral Health in African American Families