Nedra Gillette Endowed Research Fellowship

To honor its namesake Nedra Gillette, the Nedra Gillette Endowed Research Fellowship award is in support of a postdoctoral researcher's foundational occupational therapy study into the human condition. This one-year award of $5,000 does not have any specific restrictions on its use other than it must support the research efforts of the postdoctoral fellow. 

The Fellowship seeks to support interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research into the human condition as it is influenced by health, participation in valued roles, and social justice with special interests relevant to:

  • extensions of theoretical foundations of occupational therapy, including client-centered, occupation-based innovations and/or
  • refinements in therapeutic use of self to further client engagement in the treatment process. 

Eligibility Criteria

In order to be eligilble, the applicant must:

  • Have a doctorate (PhD/OTD/DrOT) in OT and be a postdoc in an OT or non-OT department
    OR Have a doctorate (PhD, MD, ScD, etc.) in a non-OT field and be a postdoc in an OT department.
  • Have a mentor who has expertise in the area of research study.
  • Have IRB in process or approved for the research study prior to applying for the fellowship. 
  • Conduct research at US academic institution.
  • Be a US citizen or have appropriate residence/visa documents.

Application Instructions for 2023-2024 Fellowship

Open: August 1, 2023, 12:00 a.m. (ET)

Deadline: Sept. 15, 2023, 11:59 p.m. (ET)

Download Application Instructions


Questions? Contact research@aotf.org.

For over 60 years, Nedra Gillette, MEd, OTR, ScD (Hon), FAOTA, has been dedicated to building occupational therapy's capacity to engage in, and benefit from, scientific inquiry. She created a firm foundation from which the profession continues to evolve its science and spawn future researchers, educators, and practitioners.

Wilma West nominated Ms. Gillette to be AOTF's first Director of Research in 1979. Ms. Gillette continued in that capacity until her retirement in 2006. Working with her Research Advisory Council and its Research Development Committee, she became the architect of AOTF's and the profession's research agenda. Together they created an extensive  grants program, a network of colleagues to mentor the next generation of researchers, developed resources for faculty development and research, spearheaded the doctoral fellowship/dissertation research programs, assembled a network of researchers to create the clinical reasoning study, designed the process through which the Centers for Scholarship and and Research and the Center for Outcomes Research and education (CORE) were selected, instituted a series of grant writing workshops, and established the Academy of Research. She brought together occupational therapists from 13 countries for the International Conference on Evidence-based Practice and implemented three Gordon-style research conferences around the construct of habits as they affect behavior and health.

Ms. Gillette's career before AOTF included being the chief of OT at the US Naval Hospital in St. Albans, New York, Director of OT at the Hall Brooke Sanitarium in Connecticut, and teaching at the University of Illinois - Chicago, Columbia University, and St. Louis University. She has served in numerous boards and committees, published many papers, and has spoken at both OT and non-OT conferences.Ms. Gillette was awarded the AOTA Award of Merit in 2006 for her lifetime of service to occupational therapy and was named one of the 100 Influential People of Occupational Therapy by AOTA.

Ms. Gillette is currently enjoying her retirement as a Master Gardener, community volunteer, and grandmother and sees this fellowship as a way to continue to support the future of occupational therapy.

Nedra Gillette Endowed Research Fellowship Awardees

2024 Jaewon Kang, PhD, MSOT​, University of Illinios Urbana-Champaign, Development of an Instructional Manual for Conducting Remote Home Assessments for Individuals Living with Spinal Cord Injuries  

2023 Cristin M. Holland, PhD, OTR/L, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, Project Title: Maternal Activity Engagement in Pregnancy and Fetal Well-being: A Pilot Study  

2022 Elizabeth Munsell, PhD, OT, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Project Title: Developing a Theory-Based Employment Intervention Framework for People with Early Parkinson’s Disease using a Stakeholder-Engaged Approach

2021 Emily Kilroy, MS, PhD, University of Southern California, Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Neural Correlates of Sensory Processing In Autism Spectrum Disorder

2020 Anna Wallisch, PhD, OTR/L, Extreme Eating Behaviors in Young Children with Autism: Understanding Autonomic Responses During Mealtime. University of Kansas and Juniper Gardens Children's Project.

2019 Carol Haywood, PhD, OTR/L    Comparing the feasibility and acceptability of global versus momentary sampling strategies to assess patterns of participation among individuals with spinal cord injuries and their caregivers.  Center for Education in Health Sciences, Institute for Public Health and Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.  Mentor:  Allen W. Heinemann, PhD, ABPP.

2018 Amber Angell, PhD, OTR    Using an Interest-based Approach with Young Adults with Autism: An Exploratory Mixed Methods Study.    Mentors:  Joy Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA and Susan Magasi, PhD. 

2017  Jaclyn Stephens, PhD    Factors that Influence Adolescents' Performance and Participation in Sports and Recreation.  Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University.    Mentor: Stacy Suskauer, MD.