Educational Partnership Programs

The American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) is a dedicated partner in advancing occupational therapy research, education, and leadership. We collaborate closely with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) on various initiatives throughout the year. But our reach extends beyond AOTA – we partner with diverse organizations to champion these goals. This collaborative spirit allows us to develop impactful programs, some of which are highlighted at the annual AOTA Conference. Stay tuned to learn more about all our partnerships and how they contribute to a stronger future for occupational therapy!

AOTF Sponsored Events

Training in Grantsmanship for Rehabilitation Research (TIGRR) 
Jan. 6-10, 2025
Applications open on July 1, 2024, and close on Aug. 14, 2024.

⁠OT Institute for Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy

April 4-5, 2025
Philadelphia, PA

Applications open on early September 2024, and close on Aug. 14, 2024.


WISH Workshop
Tbd 2025

OT Summit 

TBD 2025

OT Institute for Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy

2024 Institute Students

Nora Anton, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Lydia Armand, Nova Southeastern University
Ellen Cahoon, East Carolina University
Riley Carraher, Augusta University
Marion Dela Pena, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Gabrielle DiTrani, Russell Sage College
Taytum Dunn, Faulkner University
Savanna Girouard, University of Puget Sound
Daiyajot Grewal, Concordia University Ann Arbor
Madison Griffin, Lincoln Memorial University
Jenna Hare, Presbyterian College
Justin J. Hugger Olavarrieta, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus
Kaitlyn Jensen, Touro University Nevada
Sonja Joshi, SUNY Downstate University of Health Sciences
Conner Kankelborg, University of Puget Sound
Carrissia Keeling, Pacific University
Luis Lares, Nova Southeastern University
Keely McCormick, Pacific University
Tessann Merkel, Chatham University
Joseph Napolitano, Monmouth University
Tracy Nguyen, California State University Dominguez HIlls
Cynthia Pacheco, A.T. Still University - Arizona School of Health Sciences
Andrea Perez, Moravian University
Catheline Phan, California State University Dominguez Hills
Natalie Pravinkumar, University of Texas at El Paso
Taylor Ross, Howard University
Kushal Shah, New York Institute of Technology
Sarah Thums, Huntington University
Samantha Trench, University of Indianapolis
Christina Wilson, Johnson & Wales University
Melanie Workman, Brenau University

2023 Institute Students

Anna Pethel, Augusta University
Adam Regalado, Gannon University
Amanda Chaires, Worcester State University
André Johnson, Florida A&M University
Andrea Dultra, Maryville University
Brianna BellWinston, Salem State University
Brianna Brewster, Drake University
Brianna Milstrey, Moravian University
Deborah Kofsky, Nova Southeastern University
Emma Robinson, Ithaca College
Francesca Gambino, New York Institute of Technology
Gabriela Alejandra Torres Ferrer, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus
Ivy Rivers, Western New England University
Jane Sato, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Jennifer Ocana, Salem State University
Jodi Collins, Eastern Kentucky University
Jose Gonzalez, Eastern Kentucky University
Kelsey A. Gately, Johnson & Wales University
Kiana Ladson-Wingate, Brenau University
Kristen Springer, Shenandoah University
Lanoris Parker, Nova Southeastern University
Macarena del Corral Winder, Lincoln Memorial University
Marissa Heirich, Dominican University of California
Olivia Bowley, Towson University
Rebekah Boning, California State University, Dominquez Hills
Robert Motley, University of New England
Sadie Schultes, Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Profession
Sam Greenspan, Pacific University
Sheridan Cleave, Wingate University
Sophia Bertrand, Marquette University
Tajze Johnson, Methodist University
Victoria Kite, SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Yasmien Hanania, Loma Linda University


2022 Summer Institute Students

Briana Arellano, Texas Woman's University
Priscilla Ayala, Howard University
Cydnee Bacci, Belmont University
Luke Baker, Eastern Michigan University
Paige Barham, Methodist University
Emily Buckman, Long Island University-Brooklyn
Chrystyna Colon, Salus University
Tara Gebhardt, D'Youville College
Kelsey Girbino, Cleveland State University
Molly Graesser, University of South Dakota
Kirstin Gutierrez, Chatham University
Carla Hatfield, Shenandoah University
Marissa Heirich, Dominican University of California
Joanne Holler, Cedar Crest College
Ashley Layne, SUNY Downstate School of Health Professions
Katherine McGinley, Huntington University
Rose Mary Mulholland, Florida Gulf Coast University
Savanah Perrini, Wingate University
Mikayla Rai, Howard University
Heather Sanchez, Florida International University
Natalie Schur, Saint Louis University
Shreena Shah, Western Michigan University
Katie Shepard, Texas Woman's University
Ariona Smith, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Aiyana Tietze-Di Toro, Elizabethtown College
Tabitha Toral, Loma Linda University
Andrea Valdez, Creighton University (School of Pharmacy and Health Professions)
Michelle Vayas, Northern Arizona University
Ariel Wallace, Towson University
Anne Wepfer, Western New England University
Jacob Whitworth, University of Central Arkansas
Alisha Woodside, Wingate University

2021 Summer Institute Students

Janelle Barna, Elizabethtown College
Madeline Bazan, Drake University
Monica Buoni, Saint Louis University
Kate de Castro, Duquesne University
Bobbi Dynice, Quinnipiac University
Anna Fostik, Misericordia University
Maria Garcia Ruelas, Brenau University
Emily Hopf, Saint Louis University
Fitria Jong-Martinez, Loma Linda University
Sheherazad Kapadia, Brunel University
London Rachel Keen, Wingate University
Samah Khan, Governors State University
Hershila Lallu, University of Central Arkansas
Azjah Land, James Madison University
Ashley MacKinen, Texas Woman's University
Tanzia Mostari, New York Institute of Technology (Old Westbury Campus)
Esperanza Munoz, College of Saint Mary
Gunnar Olson, University of South Dakota
Dhara Patel, Brenau University
Zoe Peters, Dominican University of California
Case Peters, Northern Arizona University
Shayna Quach, California State University-Dominguez Hills
Shasta Rice, Dominican University of California
Angela Shannahan, Wayne State University
Emily Shaw, The College of St. Scholastica
David Sherman, Western Michigan University
Michael Stamm, Huntington University
Katherine Van Gurp, Lenoir-Rhyne University
Lauren Villa, Towson University
Kyla Villaroya, D'Youville College

2020 Summer Institute Students

Austin Cunningham, Winston-Salem State University
Chelsea Steffens, Drake University
Ashley Rigas, Pacific University
Kyra Barillier, Saint Louis University

Tara Hood, Eastern Kentucky University

Jessica Golding , Towson University
Taylor Wienkes, Creighton University
Molly Nadeau, Kean University
Brooke Ellis, Western New England University
Kelsey Hadsall, Misericordia University
William Librizzi, University of the Sciences
Grace Hellier, James Madison University
Ellery Lockwood, Stanbridge University
Lorelei Hoover, University of Findlay
Braxton Willoughby, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Mollyanne Tessler, Long Island UniversityBrooklyn
Taylor Keahilani Kenui/Fong, Rocky Mountain College

Kathleen Ann Melei, Huntington University
Elizabeth Stevens, The College of St. Scholastica
Allison Pfleghaar, Florida Gulf Coast University
Shannon Myers, Midwestern University Downers Grove
Samantha Holzschu, Western Michigan University
Natalie (NJ) Phillips, Eastern Michigan University
Emma Kinsey, University of Central Arkansas
Melissa Dale, East Carolina University
Tennille Lambert, Mercy College
Emily Yuen, Dominican University of California
Alleya James, Methodist University
Catherine Arora, Mercy College

Jared Southwick, Arkansas State University
Rowan Wallace, University of Southern Maine
Karla Morel, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus

2019 Summer Institute Students

Starlyn Adames
SUNY Downstate Medical Center
Elhonei Alemu
Rockhurst University
Christopher Bisogni
American International College
Robert Coleman
Alabama State University
Brenna Curran
Misericordia University
Lauren Durst
Rockhurst University
Felicia Duch
Quinnipiac University
Sofia Espinosa
Florida International University
Hannah Fiser
University of North Dakota
Victoria Gaesser
Indiana Wesleyam University
Brittany Goehmann
East Carolina University
Marisa Gonzalez
Western Michigan University
Nancy Greene
University of the Sciences
Samantha Hegedus
Saint Francis University
Kathleen Helms
Winston-Salem University
Carolyn Hernandez
University of Puerto Rico Medical Science Campus
Arieyl Jones
Towson University
Ali Lannom
Huntington University
Darcie Lujan
University of Mary
Emily McFadden
A.T. Still University
Kylie Medlin
Methodist University
Gina Pellechio
Salus University
Loree Pham
California State University, Dominguez Hills
Olympia Sanchez
Wayne State University
Kendra Schnack
Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions
Morgan Smith
Elizabethtown College
Rebekah Sturgess
Lenoir Rhyne University
Mollyanne Tessler
Long Island University, Brooklyn
Fatoumatta Tunkara
Howard University
Jennifer Yazwinski
University of Southern Maine, Lewiston-Auburn College

Selected Previous Initiatives in Partnership with AOTA

Accelerating Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research (ACTOR) Conference December 1–2, 2011

December 1–2, 2011 

This conference was designed to address the insufficient number of published clinical trials and outcomes research in occupational therapy and related discipline. It increased scientists’ understanding of the design and conduct of rigorous clinical trials and outcomes research and increased the research capacity in occupational therapy and related disciplines by providing them with tools and collaborative opportunities. Click here to view ACTOR conference videos

AOTA-AOTF Occupational Therapy Researcher Database

AOTF and AOTA hope to facilitate the creation of strong research networks and better understand the research assets we have in the profession.  An important step is to gather information regarding occupational therapy research and grants.  A couple of years ago, AOTA-AOTF launched a research database for this purpose.

AOTF worked with Indiana University in January 2016 to conduct asset mapping of the database around research priority areas to build our profession's research capacity and make it easier to connect people. 

International Conference on Evidence-based Practice in Occupational Therapy July 11-14, 2004

July 11-14, 2004
The purpose of this project was to marshal the efforts of the international community of occupational therapists to enhance dissemination of research information for evidence-based practice and to identify and address gaps in research.

Twenty-six participants from thirteen countries convened with an agenda focused on the needs of the global occupational therapy community. Three major topics were addressed by task groups:

  • critical review and synthesis of the literature, knowledge transfer, and practitioner education. Each group identified one or two priority goals, which included: securing international financial support for an existing evidence data-base currently supported in Australia;
  • facilitating establishment of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) website as an entry point for materials related to evidence-based OT; establishing a web portal for dissemination of teaching materials for educational programs;
  • creating a catalog system for evidence that is based in the ICF and occupation frameworks; and developing standard guidelines for critically-appraised papers and topics. 

Specific tasks were identified for each goal, as well as timelines for accomplishing the tasks and persons or groups who would assume responsibility for each task. Mechanisms for on-going electronic communication also were identified. 

Leadership Mentoring Program

The AOTA/AOTF Leadership Mentoring Program, 2007-2010, addressed the critical need to systematically enhance the emergence of new leaders within the academic community. Participation was open to occupational therapy program directors at both the OT and OTA levels.

The program was based upon Mentoring Circles®, an innovative group-mentoring method developed by the Mentoring Company. This process introduced participants to contemporary leadership theory and practice, and engages them in a standardized leadership assessment process. Participants used The Leadership Practice Inventory (LPI) as a reliable tool for identifying personal leadership practices from five general categories: Challenging the Process, Inspiring a Shared Vision, Enabling Others to Act, Modeling the Way, and Encouraging the Heart.

The AOTA/AOTF Leadership Mentoring Program offered individuals the opportunity to participate in a series of sixteen mentoring sessions led by a Catalyst Mentor. The group mentoring process is grounded in the needs of the participants who will identify the specific mentoring topics. The Catalyst mentor used real-time stories from her personal experience to efficiently transfer best practices that promote leadership. From time-to-time, Guest Mentors joined the mentoring circle to address specific topics identified by the group.

The Leadership Mentoring Program assisted OT programs in faculty development by helping faculty achieve their goals in moving out of entry-level to the post-baccalaureate degree as required by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE), the educational certifying body of the profession of occupational therapy.

AOTF's investment in the Leadership Mentoring Program built on its long history of faculty development. Previous projects include:

  • Curriculum Mentoring Project- The first of these programs concluded at the end of 2002. This program, called the "Curriculum Mentor's Project," was designed as a year-long pilot study to determine what effect a mentor could have on the development of increased scholarship across faculty and student participants in a master's entry level program in occupational therapy. Five schools were selected from the applicant pool and worked with their mentors for a 12-month period.
  • Regional Workshop Series - The second program, the "Regional Workshop Series on Curriculum Revision," ran from 2001-2003. In this program, designed collaboratively by AOTA, ACOTE, and AOTF, twenty-two schools grouped by geographic locales shared a series of three workshops, each school usually hosting one workshop. Both academic and fieldwork faculty join in the exploration of topics designed to move the program into the graduate education mode, to ensure that the concept of occupation is grounding the curriculum, and that new and innovative fieldwork methods and sites are represented in each program. 

Documents to download

Research Advisory Panel

Established in the spring of 2007 and active until 2012, the AOTA/AOTF Research Advisory Panel advised the AOTA and AOTF boards of directors in several matters, including the translation of research to education and practice, and the review of the research agenda of the profession and its alignment with national research priorities and emerging social and technology issues. The panel also fostered critical analyses of issues related to the delivery of services, evolution of theories, and the overall body of knowledge relevant to occupational therapy.

In October, 2009, the Boards of AOTF and AOTA approved the Research Advisory Panel's Report outlining a Research Agenda for the profession of occupational therapy. You can download the document at the bottom of this article.

As of 2015, the AOTF Scientific Advisory Council now has the advisory role to the AOTF.

Members of the Research Advisory Panel included the following individuals appointed by the AOTA and AOTF presidents for terms beginning in 2010: 

  • Shelly J. Lane, PhD, OTR, FAOTA (chair)
  • M. Carolyn Baum, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • Grace Baranek, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • Wendy Coster, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • Joyce Engel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • Laura Gitlin, PhD
  • Major Sarah B. Goldman, PhD, OTR/L, CHT
  • Joy M. Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • Mary Law, PhD, OT(C)
  • Mary C. Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L
  • Trudy R. Mallinson, PhD, OTR/L, NZROT
  • Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, FAOTA
  • Mary Lynn Schneider, PhD, OTR 
  • Linda Tickle-Degnen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
  • Laura K. Vogtle, PhD, OTR/L, ATP

Documents to download