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A 75-year legacy of excellence: UIC Department of Occupational Therapy


Message from the Dean

Inventing the future “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” —Alan Kay, computer scientist In 1943, educator Beatrice Wade launched an innovative curriculum to train students in the emerging field of occupational therapy. Seventy-five years later, the program she began with seven students is ranked No. 1 among the nation’s public universities for master’s-level occupational therapy. The department excels with its Scholarship of Practice initiative, community partnerships and internationally known Model of Human Occupation. In fact, students, faculty, donors and alumni throughout the College of Applied Health Sciences are hard at work, inventing the future. In the UIC Health and Wellness Academy, AHS students teach Chicago school children about making healthy choices. Integrated Health Studies, a new major developed with the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, looks at the cultural, societal, behavioral and environmental factors that impact human health and disease. At the first Health Tech Jam, PT and BVIS students teamed up to use technology in solving a common healthcare problem—in six hours. AHS is inventing the future through research by faculty like Shane Phillips in the UIC Integrative Physiology Laboratory, who studies cardiovascular disease, and BHIS researcher Jessie Chin, who is investigating the potential of smart home devices in improving health for older adults. Our latest AHS Alumni Award winners, Eric Meredith and Tim Grover, are inventing the future in their own careers. Meredith is improving nutrition for children and families, while Grover motivates athletes and business leaders to reach their goals.

AHS MAGAZINE Summer 2018 EDITOR Erika Chavez Director of Marketing and Communications DESIGN Kimberly Hegarty UIC Creative and Digital Services CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Sonya Booth, Jacqueline Carey, Francisca Corona, Christy Levy, Kelsey Schagemann CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS UIC Creative and Digital Services ©2018 University of Illinois at Chicago. All rights reserved. Published by the Office of the Dean (MC 518), UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, 808 South Wood Street, 169 CMET, Chicago, Illinois 60612-7305. Telephone Fax E-mail Website

(312) 996-6695 (312) 413-0086

Views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editor, the college or university.

You might notice abbreviations throughout this issue. They correlate to academic units in the College of Applied Health Sciences. AT

Athletic Training

BHIS Department of Biomedical and Health Information Sciences BVIS Program in Biomedical Visualization DHD Department of Disability and Human Development DIS Programs in Disability Studies

One of the most long-lasting ways to invent the future, however, is by supporting those who will create it. We are grateful to the family of Neal Gottlieb, who established a scholarship in his memory for students in disability and human development who themselves have a physical disability. “It’s incredibly powerful, thinking about his legacy,” Carol Gottlieb says.


As a member of the community of the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, you, too, can help us invent the future. Learn more at

KN Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition

Program in Health Informatics

HIM Program in Health Information Management KINES

Programs in Kinesiology


Medical Laboratory Sciences


Programs in Nutrition

OT Department of Occupational Therapy

Bo Fernhall Dean, UIC College of Applied Health Sciences


Department of Physical Therapy


Programs in Rehabilitation Sciences



FEATURES 12 A 75-year legacy of excellence  The Department of Occupational Therapy celebrates its anniversary 16 

Award-winning alumni Meet the 2018 AHS Alumni Award winners



A life well lived

 emorial scholarship empowers students in the Department of M Disability and Human Development


AHS students run health, wellness program for Chicago schools


KN builds its dream kitchen


11  Inaugural Health Tech Jam issues challenge to PT and BVIS students


AHS Connection: Highlights from alumni gatherings

On the cover: OT clinical assistant professor Ashley Stoffel with a pediatric client during a home therapy session.



Photo: S.K. Vemmer

A window of opportunity

A UI Health Mile Square Health Center patient gets his blood pressure checked.

Black men and women have a greater prevalence of high blood pressure, compared with whites. Researchers believe this may be a result of high levels of oxidative stress, which leads to vascular dysfunction. However, no one really understands how aging impacts oxidative stress or vascular function in a racially diverse population. To learn more about this, AHS researchers studied nearly 100 black and white individuals. The volunteer study participants reported to the UIC Integrative Physiology Lab on two occasions. During the first visit, they underwent baseline testing and received either a concentrated dose of antioxidants or a placebo. The antioxidant was used because it has been shown to decrease levels of oxidative stress in the body. Two days later, during a second visit, researchers noted biometric information—height, weight, BMI and body composition—and conducted various blood pressure tests and a blood draw to measure blood vessel function, exercise blood flow and biomarkers of oxidative stress and antioxidant activity. They found black and white participants responded differently to the antioxidant, and that those differences were amplified further when analyzed by age. The antioxidant supplement decreased microvascular function in young whites, but increased function in young blacks. 2



“This study demonstrates differential responses to [antioxidant] supplementation between AfricanAmericans and whites within both young and older age groups, as well as different responses to aging between races,” the researchers report in the Journal of Hypertension. The small blood vessels of older blacks did not respond to the antioxidant as well as those of younger blacks. There was no effect of the antioxidant on large blood vessels of young groups, suggesting that the small blood vessels may represent a target for antioxidant treatments in young populations at risk for cardiovascular disease. “Our results suggest that resistance artery function only improves in young African-Americans and older whites with antioxidant supplementation and that the supplementation may actually have negative effects on resistance arteries in older African-Americans,” said Bo Fernhall, the study’s senior author. “Although large artery function improves in both African-Americans and whites following antioxidant supplementation, we don’t know if this improvement can offset the reduction in resistance artery function,” said Fernhall, KN professor and AHS dean. “But our data provide intriguing possibilities for individualizing potential treatment aimed at improving vascular function, based on both age and race.” Read the full study at


AHS students run health, wellness program for Chicago schools “Today we’re going back to breakfast,” Lindsey Strieter tells a group of middle school students in the Altus Academy cafeteria. “Do you remember why breakfast is important?” asks Michelle Reich ’17 bs nut. The second- through eighth-grade students’ answers are, for the most part, correct. “It makes you healthy,” says one student. “It keeps your body strong,” says another. A third student interrupts to ask, “What’s that green stuff?” Strieter, PT clinical instructor, and Reich, a registered dietitian, are kicking off the day’s lesson in the UIC Health and Wellness Academy, a program of the Department of Physical Therapy that collaborates with schools in Chicago to teach kids about healthy decision-making and encourage healthy behaviors. “The lessons we teach in the Health and Wellness Academy are built by UIC students to address the needs, likes and dislikes of the kids from partnering schools,” Strieter said. And it’s exactly that—the personalized lessons—that makes the wellness academy such a valuable program for the participating schools and the UIC students.

Lindsey Strieter (center) talks to a group of Altus Academy students during a lesson on breakfast in the UIC Health and Wellness Academy.

“There are so many programs out there for teachers and after-school programs that focus on weight and BMI, but those programs have two problems,” Strieter said. “First, they lack a focus on actually improving behavior. Second, they place a significant burden on school teachers, who are already overworked.”

“This program looks different in every school,” she said, “and it’s based off an educational model that is specific to learners. It also leverages our UIC students as program instructors— this is valuable experience for the UIC students in developing educational materials and communicating about health, and it’s necessary help for partnering schools.” Altus Academy, an independent, private, not-for-profit school, is the second school to work with UIC’s Health and Wellness Academy, which first launched in 2016 with Smyth Elementary School, a public magnet school in Chicago. Thirty-two UIC students are currently involved in the program at Smyth. Altus, which does not charge its students tuition, serves the North and South Lawndale communities. Altus principal and founder John Heybach says the wellness academy fits nicely with his school’s community and family unit and the needs of his students.

Michelle Reich (center) helps middle school students make a breakfast smoothie during the UIC Health and Wellness Academy.

“Our students often face many barriers to success,” Heybach said. “They live in low-income, challenging neighborhoods and they are members of underrepresented communities. Our responsibility is to create a better pathway to success for them, and we take that to heart in our holistic approach to education.” AHS students participate as mentors and facilitators in the Health and Wellness Academy by registering for the elective course, which provides three credit hours toward their degree. The course, offered in fall and spring semesters, consists of one day of lecture and three different lab practicum options in which the students work with Chicago schools. Strieter says the department hopes to expand the program in the future.

Kinesiology student Kathryn Marie Garrido (center) leads a small group of Altus Academy students in a self-esteembuilding exercise.

Photos: Jacqueline Carey






Up for review Kharma Foucher, KN assistant professor, was appointed to a six-year term on the Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation Sciences Study Section, Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health. Study section members review grant applications submitted to NIH, then make recommendations to the appropriate NIH national advisory council or board. They also survey the status of research in their field. “Being a member of a study section is an important service to the scientific community and amplifies the

respect the scientific community has for the quality of Dr. Foucher’s research, expertise and stature in the field. She will be an excellent ambassador for UIC’s research community through her service on this study section,” said Dean Bo Fernhall. Foucher is director of the Biomechanics and Clinical Outcomes Lab. Her current research includes an NIHfunded study on the impact of hip osteoarthritis-related gait impairment on walking energetics and physical activity. A faculty member in kinesiology and nutrition since 2013, Foucher is a graduate of UIC’s M.D./Ph.D. program with a Ph.D. in bioengineering. Before joining UIC, she was a faculty member in orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center.


Smart home, better health

Photo: Jenny Fontaine

to request information, such as the news and weather, or give commands, such as playing music.

Smart home devices can make life easier around the house, but what if they could also improve one’s health? BHIS research assistant professor Jessie Chin is collaborating on a project with Kelly Quinn in the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences that examines the use of smart home devices for health promotion among older adults. Smart home devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home, allow users to speak to the device




“People tend to use these devices as a personal assistant to manage their life, but the functions could help promote their lifestyle for better health,” said Chin, who’s conducted interdisciplinary research in cognitive science, human-computer interaction and human factors, with a focus on human-information interaction across the lifespan. “People could add reminders to serve as memory aids—they could tell the devices where they stored their keys and ask them later, or set a reminder to take medications with the time and date,” she said. The devices can also be utilized to manage lifestyle. “Older adults tend to have sedentary behavior, so they could set reminders to take a walk regularly, for example.”

Quinn, who focuses her research on the social implications of technology use, plans to examine how the devices could be used to enhance social well-being and reduce loneliness among older adults. “Social connection is really important at older ages,” Quinn said. “We know that when older adults are disconnected and lonely, there is a greater incidence of cognitive decline, depression and early mortality. “There are some interesting things that happen when we age—we retire and lose social connections, we lose spouses and friends who have died. There’s mobility limitations and higher incidences of chronic disease. All of these things are connected to the decline in the ability to connect with people.” Smart home devices could help improve quality of life, Quinn said.


Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

Algorithm shows differences between nurse, doctor care

Andrew Boyd, BHIS associate professor, is the corresponding author of the first quantitative study on the divergent scopes of practice for nurses and doctors, conducted by an interdisciplinary team of UIC researchers. The study leveraged computer science technology to compare individual-level patient care provided by nurses and doctors using information routinely documented in the electronic health record. The researchers analyzed the electronic health records of 58 randomly selected patients who had a medical diagnosis of heart failure and sought care at a single academic medical center over eight years. Each health record included a physician discharge summary. Nursing plans of care were created for the study using the information found in the discharge report. A computer algorithm developed at UIC was used to identify the key biomedical terms used in each summary and to link synonyms or related terms via a graph traversal—a

network representation that shows the integrated relationships of language and health terminology. The researchers found that only 26 percent of patient records showed an overlap in terms. On average, only four terms between the professions were related to the same concept. Physicians typically used about 27 terms and nurses about 18 terms. “We’ve created a more unified picture of health care professionals’ perspectives on their patients,” said Boyd. “Previous studies on this topic have been limited by their reliance on qualitative, observation-based data collection or costly survey methods. Ours is the first to objectively measure the scope of practice when nurses and doctors care for the same patients.” Some of the common terms for doctors were highly technical, including “decreased translucency” and “radiographic examination abnormal.” Nursing terms were more likely to focus on symptoms and

responses to illness, such as “acute onset of pain.” While the researchers did not expect the language across professions to be identical, they were surprised to see such significant differences emerge based on documentation review alone, Boyd said. “Because providers are changing, the dynamics of collaboration are also changing. This underscores the importance of the electronic health record as perhaps the single most important communication tool used to coordinate care across disciplines in hospitals today,” Boyd said. “As the algorithm used in the study can be universally applied to any health record, it has incredible potential for identifying gaps in care and even improving quality and quality reporting.” Read the full study at






A dream kitchen

At last, the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition has its dream kitchen. The Metabolic Kitchen is a campuswide resource for researchers running studies that require tightly controlled diets. Its dietitians and chefs will design, prepare and package meals according to the researcher’s protocol, then deliver them to the study’s clinical coordinator for distribution to study subjects.

It’s a much-needed facility, says director Krista Varady, associate professor of nutrition.

their direction, getting research experience and independent study credit.

“In the past, it was difficult to run feeding trials. We had to use whatever kitchen we could find on campus,” she said.

Varady has years of experience running feeding trials for her own research, which focuses on the effectiveness of intermittent fasting for weight loss, weight maintenance and cardiac health protection in obese adults. She also designs feeding trials for other researchers on campus.

The Metabolic Kitchen, located in the basement of the Applied Health Sciences Building, is an industrialsized, professional-quality facility. There’s loads of counter space, two ovens, a dishwasher, a walkin refrigerator and industrial-size freezers. Renea Solis ’16 bs nut, an instructor who is a graduate of the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, was the consultant in its design. The kitchen will be staffed by professional chefs and dietitians, many of them alumni like Solis. Nutrition students will work under

The Metabolic Kitchen’s first client is Lisa Tussing-Humphreys ’09 phd nut, assistant professor of medicine, whose research concerns diet and colon cancer in African-Americans. Varady said she hopes the facility will be a resource for multidisciplinary collaborations among campus researchers.


A portrait of health DHD associate professor Sandra Sufian is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities Humanities Initiatives for Hispanic-Serving Institutions, a program to strengthen the teaching and study of the humanities in higher education. The proposal, one of 11, received a perfect score. Sufian’s project, “The Human Story of Illness: Health Humanities Portraits for Physicians in Training,” establishes a series of faculty development workshops over two years in which a core group of UIC College of Medicine and affiliated faculty (including DHD associate professor Carrie Sandahl) will develop “health humanities portraits” for use in medical school curricula. 6



Combining patient narratives and scholarship from distinctive, humanities disciplinary perspectives, the project’s innovative approach deliberately distinguishes itself from clinical case development—with its sole emphasis on symptoms, diseases and diagnoses—by probing the human dimensions of illness, disease and disability. The project will demonstrate the critical role of the humanities in training physicians and understanding health and healthcare dilemmas. The project also builds an online repository, enabling health humanities faculty nationwide to contribute their own portraits for collaborative exchange, to establish best practices for portrait development and teaching. Sufian, who is the principal investigator, is associate professor of health humanities and history in the College of Medicine’s Department of Medical Education.


Photo: Elizabeth Mongue

Setting standards

A new study suggests that the guidelines used to evaluate an individual’s peak blood pressure response during cardiopulmonary exercise testing, last updated in 1996, may need revision. The guidelines are used to help screen for hypertension and cardiovascular disease. “This [study] is the first systemic effort to establish maximum exercise blood pressure norms in more than 20 years,” said Shane Phillips, PT professor and associate head. Cardiologists use cardiopulmonary exercise testing when patients complain of symptoms of cardiac stress, like unexplained shortness of breath, and by physical therapists to establish a patient’s capacity for exercise. Phillips, corresponding author on the study, and his colleagues in the UIC Integrative Physiology Laboratory analyzed blood pressure response data collected over 30 years by FRIEND (Fitness Registry and the Importance of Exercise: A National Database) during exercise tests of 1,605 healthy men and 1,312 healthy women between the ages of 20 and 79. The researchers determined percentiles of maximal systolic and diastolic blood pressure for each decade of life. The researchers found that peak systolic blood pressure, the first number of a blood pressure measurement that

tracks the pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats, increased with age in both men and women up to age 60, after which there was a plateau. They also found that neither group came close to reaching the current threshold of 90th percentile maximum systolic blood pressure during exercise to be considered exercise hypertension and at risk—210 for men and 190 for women—until after the fourth decade. “The data we saw was a bit lower than what older studies have shown,” Phillips said. “This suggests there could be a valid case for lowering the threshold, especially in younger adults, in order to accurately identify someone with a borderline response who might benefit from preventive treatment.” The study also showed that men and women followed different patterns when it came to diastolic blood pressure, the second number that measures pressure in blood vessel between heartbeats. “I think the take-home message from this study is that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work when it comes to cardiopulmonary exercise testing,” Phillips said. “Peak blood pressure changes as we age and our standards evaluating a vascular response to exercise should better reflect norms by both age and gender.” Read the full study at SUMMER 2018





Photo: Kipling Swehla

Multidisciplinary focus on health studies

From economics and ethics to biology and psychology, determinants of health fall under a broad range of categories. “Health is complex,” said Demetra John, recently retired AHS associate dean for academic and student affairs. ”So, anyone who wants to practice anywhere in a health-related field really needs to understand it from a multidisciplinary perspective.” A curriculum developed using the educational and research expertise of AHS and the UIC College of Liberal Arts and Sciences lets students do just that. The Integrated Health Studies major teaches undergraduates to think about and understand the ways in which cultural, societal, behavioral and environmental factors impact human health and disease. “[The degree program] is looking at those aspects of health relations 8



more holistically,” said Miquel Gonzalez-Meler, professor of biological sciences and associate dean for student academic affairs in LAS. Gonzalez-Meler explained that LAS brings “the economics, social, human and biological aspects,” while AHS has “the human applications of that knowledge in a specific way— internships and things of the like.” The degree program consists of relevant core content that spans subjects such as life sciences, natural sciences, health economics, social sciences and the humanities. The major, which is jointly supported by the departments of biological sciences and psychology, allows students to focus on one of two concentrations: health science or behavioral health. “We really think that this degree will broaden the perspective of all of our students, no matter what field they go into, and that they’re going

to bring that broader perspective to either their employment after their bachelor’s degree or to their postgraduate studies,” John said. Graduates of the Integrated Health Studies degree program can enter the job market in a variety of healthrelated professions—as healthcare administrators, sales specialists, health educators, laboratory technicians, patient care advocates and more. The major also allows undergraduates to complete their prerequisite course requirements for medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, physical therapy, occupational therapy and a number of other professional health and graduate programs. “It’s a progressive degree. It’s modern, it’s the direction we should really be looking,” John said.


From daylong to lifelong learning system and by dissecting owl pellets under the direction of Dakota Prosch, their teacher at Suder. Kinesiology faculty members Kharma Foucher and Andrew Sawers, plus four graduate students, set up learning stations in the lab for hands-on investigations of bones, balance, grip strength, muscle activity and gait analysis.

Photo: Dakota Prosch

“They were amazing. Super engaged, open and curious,” Foucher said. “The students had many questions about becoming a scientist— something they’d never considered.” In her thank-you note after the visit, a student asked, “How did you manage to stay in school for that long?”

Science—and the possibilities for a career in it—were the lessons 25 students of Suder Montessori Elementary School took away from their recent visit to the kinesiology biomechanics lab.

The fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders made a field trip from their West Side public school to AHS April 11 for National Biomechanics Day. They prepared for their visit with lessons on the human skeletal

Before the children left, Foucher asked how many were now interested in a science career. Several hands went up. “You never know whose life you’re going to change,” Foucher said.


A 54-coat primer April 13 was a proud occasion for the PT department: its first White Coat Ceremony, held for members of the doctor of physical therapy Class of 2019. As nearly 200 faculty, family and friends looked on, 54 students strode onstage to receive their white coats and DPT pins in a ceremony symbolizing their transition from academic study to clinical practice. The ceremony, held in Student Center West, was organized by students with faculty support. Class presidents Ryan Pawloski and Steve Noorda were the student speakers. Faculty speakers included professor

and head Ross Arena, Richard Severin and Gay Girolami, director of professional studies. “It was a moment to reflect and be proud of all the countless hours studying and long weekends in the lab, and to be thankful for the outside support and financial resources that have been put into becoming successful doctors of physical therapy,” said Corinne Busby, DPT Class of 2019 and one of the event’s organizers.

Photo: Richard Severin

“Putting on that pinned white coat, in front of the people who helped make it all possible, was such a great feeling.” SUMMER 2018





Coming full circle Photo: Jenny Fontaine

It was actually the second Silver Circle for Prater (she received her first in 2010). In fact, it was the latest in a long list of teaching honors she’s received in her 10 years at UIC, including AHS Educator of the Year (twice) and the Excalibur Award for Teaching Excellence from the AHS Student Council (five times).

Prater, BHIS clinical assistant professor, was among 14 faculty campus-wide selected by graduating students for the 2018 Silver Circle Award for Teaching Excellence.

Prater taught online and classroombased blended courses in health information management for undergraduate and postbaccalaureate students. Subjects included the legal aspects of health information management, human resources management, health information research and independent study.

“This award is the best possible going-away gift,” she said. “This award is meaningful to me because it comes from students.”

She developed new courses and teaching approaches for online and blended instruction and led curriculum assessment projects.

For her retirement from UIC, Valerie Prater received a special gift—the kind you can’t buy in any store.

2017-18 AHS College Awards The following AHS faculty were recognized during the AHS spring college meeting May 9.

“Students engage with courses when real-world examples and case studies are used to link lessons to relevant issues in the field, and when technology is used to enable handson application,” she said. Prater’s immediate post-retirement plans include books, baseball, movies and museums. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a summer off!” she said. She will remain active in her field through consulting and membership on the Health Information Management Accreditation Council of the Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Leading interprofessional education

AHS RESEARCHER OF THE YEAR Tanvi Bhatt, PT associate professor AHS HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR Rooshey Hasnain, DHD clinical assistant professor AHS OUTSTANDING ACADEMIC LEADERSHIP Sarah Parker-Harris, DHD associate professor AHS EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR Tanya R. Prewitt-White, KN visiting clinical assistant professor AHS PROFESSOR OF THE YEAR Carrie Sandahl, DHD associate professor Learn more about this year’s winners at




Mary Keehn, AHS associate dean of clinical affairs and UIC director of interprofessional education (IPE) and collaborative practice, is leading efforts to understand how healthcare professionals learn from and about one another. Watch Keehn and UI Health vice chancellor for health affairs Robert Barish discuss IPE efforts at UIC and reflect on the 2018 IPE Immersion Day:


Jamming out

The PT department took a page out of the tech industry’s video game development playbook when it launched a unique event to foster a sense of innovation and collaboration between two groups of students who would otherwise seldom interact.

The Health Tech Jam took place over two days, three hours each day, March 6 and 7. Students first went through an ice-breaking activity meant to create a sense of team spirit between the two unacquainted groups.

The inaugural Health Tech Jam brought together nearly 40 PT and BVIS students and issued a challenge: develop a technological solution to a common healthcare problem—and do it in just six hours.

“Even though BVIS and PT students have a lot in common, like the fact that they want to help people, they have very different skills and very few opportunities to interact,” Bond said.

In a traditional industry “jam,” video game and mobile app developers come together with a host of interested parties—some are directly involved in game development and some are just passionate about video games—to “make something new, start to finish, in a 24- to 48hour continuous block of time,” said Samantha Bond, BHIS and PT visiting clinical assistant professor. “There is something about that magical mix of a fast-paced environment and the convergence of different backgrounds that creates amazing work,” Bond said, “and that is the energy we wanted to harness in our own jam.”

The students were divided into eight teams and presented with a series of prompts about common health-related issues, such as healthy eating and avoiding falls. Following a brainstorm of potential tech-related solutions and consultation with participating faculty members, each team selected one idea to develop into a “Shark Tank”-style pitch they would present in competition for theoretical funding. “Without the perspective of the PT students, we wouldn’t have been able to design a tool with the practitioner in mind, as well as with a patient,” said Angela Gao ’18 ms bvis.

Gao’s team won the final pitch with its product Exerguide, a mobile app that teaches people about at-home exercises with normal household items, such as a chair or a water bottle. “It’s designed for people who don’t have access to a gym, have gym fear, don’t know how to start exercising, or have other reasons why they need to stay at home,” Gao said. As winners, Gao and her team members will have the opportunity to actually develop their product with faculty support. “The energy and positivity of the Health Tech Jam was really encouraging,” Gao said, “and I learned that collaboration with people from diverse backgrounds gives birth to better ideas.” Bond said the goal of the Health Tech Jam is not about preparing students for one specific situation. “It’s about preparing students to innovate in any situation, to work with people of different backgrounds and to solve problems,” she said. Watch a video on the AHS Health Tech Jam at healthtechjam.




A 75-year legacy of excellence: the UIC Department of Occupational Therapy

UIC OT’s impact on the field of occupational therapy is world-renowned. Its innovative approach to Creating Tomorrow’s Practice has guided its community engagement initiatives, scholarship, research and contributions to the field for decades.

Unlike that first class 75 years ago, today’s UIC occupational therapy students aren’t required to wear turquoise-colored pinafores, accessorized with hats and white gloves for off-campus visits. In fact, many things have changed since the beginnings of the Department of Occupational Therapy in 1943. There were seven students in that first class; in fall 2017, total enrollment numbered 12



114. The program began with one faculty member; today there are 15.

who recruited her, yet many of its guiding principles remain the same.

The number of OT programs in the U.S. has grown from about 10 in 1943 to about 180 currently. A master’s degree, instead of a bachelor’s, is now required to enter the field.

The department is known for its Scholarship of Practice model, which integrates education, research, scholarship and practice; a commitment to working in partnership with underserved communities; and the Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), an internationally used model for occupational therapy practice.

UIC’s OT program has expanded far beyond the dreams of founder Beatrice Wade and the physicians

Its excellence is well recognized: the department is consistently ranked No. 1 in the nation among public university OT master’s programs (and No. 4 overall) by U.S. News & World Report. “What makes occupational therapy at UIC so special, attracting many of our students, is our commitment to Chicago’s diverse communities and our community-engaged Scholarship of Practice initiatives,” said Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, department head since 2006. “Our faculty develop strong synergy between their areas of teaching, scholarship and practice or service. “Our students are supported to thrive at UIC. We provide opportunities to attend professional conferences, participate in scholarship and learn from expert clinicians.” There have been only five department heads in 75 years, despite a national shortage of OT faculty and administrators, said Gail Fisher, clinical associate

potential in treating injured soldiers after the U.S. entered World War II.

Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar (center) with OT professor Joy Hammel (right) and OT assistant professor Susan Magasi (left).

professor and associate head for administration. “We have a very student-centered culture—we’re invested in mentoring our students to be leaders in the field,” Fisher said. “At the same time, we challenge our students a great deal. We have a lot of loyal alumni and we’ve built a community of learners who become colleagues.” WARTIME BEGINNINGS

The Medical Center campus wanted to start an OT training program in the College of Medicine and hired Wade to develop a curriculum. The Urbana-Champaign campus wanted the OT training program based in its art department. The Medical Center faction won, thanks to Wade’s determination and the influence of the War Manpower Commission. Students attended classes at UIUC for three years, then for 16 months in Chicago, where many of their instructors were medical faculty. They studied some of the same subjects required today, including human development, psychology, kinesiology and anatomy—plus crafts, design and public health.

The department’s success began with the determination of one woman, Beatrice Wade, its first (and for 10 years, the only) full-time faculty member, who led the program until 1971.

It was a hectic time. There was no student housing and travel was difficult. Women administrators were rare. Wade’s responsibilities included recruiting, registering, counseling and teaching on both campuses.

In its early days, OT was used primarily in the treatment of mental illness. Formalized as a profession in 1917, OT gained attention for its

A February 1946 commencement photo of the first OT graduates shows five smiling young women. “They were fondly referred to as the

UIC OT through the years 1944 Illinois Plan curriculum, developed by Beatrice Wade, accredited by American Medical Association and American Occupational Therapy Association

1917 First meeting of National Society for the Promotion of Occupational Therapy, considered the beginning of OT as a profession 1943 Curriculum in occupational therapy established at University of Illinois Medical Center in Chicago, led by Beatrice Wade

1944-45 Chicago program, one of five programs in nation to conduct Emergency War Courses in OT for U.S. Army

1946 First students graduate with BS in occupational therapy

1964 OT moves to new School of Associated Medical Sciences in College of Medicine

1950 Physical medicine physicians attempt takeover of OT curriculum and certification, on campus and nationwide. Defeated by Beatrice Wade and other leaders Occupational Therapy Alumni Association established

First seven students begin OT curriculum and form their own student organization, ILLISOTA




‘guinea pigs,’” Wade wrote in the 198182 centennial issue of ’Scope, the College of Medicine magazine, “which indeed Gail Fisher they were, for the course they had pursued was the first occupational therapy curriculum that featured integration of didactic and clinical instruction and the first to base instruction on the concept of human development and behavioral factors as related to the treatment of illness and injury.” RADICAL CURRICULUM The curriculum Wade created, called the Illinois Plan, integrated classroom learning with clinical practice.

“Back then, that was radical,” Fisher said. The concept developed over the years to become the department’s Scholarship of Practice model. As the department website says: “Research and scholarship advance practice, and practice informs scholarship.” Today, research and scholarship includes studies in disability, aging, access to health care, pediatric rehabilitation and early childhood development, health disparities and health equity, self-management, management of fatigue, fall prevention and therapeutic relationships. Starting with the first introductory theory course they take, students learn to look for research to guide them in their practice, Fisher said.

“Our research and scholarship are directed towards making practice better. And a strong base in theory and research helps our students to be excellent therapists.” COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS In 1964, occupational therapy became the first unit in the new School of Associated Medical Sciences. The school became a college, the program became a department and over the decades, OT continued to flourish. A new admissions policy meant students could take their undergraduate courses at any university, not just UIUC. Master’s and doctoral degrees were added, research studies were funded, partnerships with agencies and community groups were established. Community engagement became a highlight of the department, which collaborates with 48 community partners. These include agencies that serve refugees and immigrants, Centers for Independent Living run by people with disabilities, day care centers, health clinics, group home residences, senior centers, schools

Beatrice Wade with students wearing the jumpers that were required as uniforms.

UIC OT through the years 1971 Beatrice Wade retires, named associate professor emerita. Barbara Loomis named department head

1977 Administrative offices, classrooms move from hospital to 1919 W. Taylor St. 1976 First doctoral-level faculty member hired as first step toward graduate program




1979 OT moves to new College of Associated Health Professions

1978 New graduate program: master of associated medical sciences with specialization in occupational therapy

1981 Barbara Loomis retires, named associate professor emerita. Alumna Winifred Scott named department head

1980 Awarded: first master’s degree with specialization in occupational therapy

1986 Winifred Scott returns to faculty. Gary Kielhofner named department head

1982 Medical Center, Circle campuses consolidate to become UIC

In 2017, UIC co-sponsored the 5th MOHO International Institute with MD Anderson Cancer Center, drawing occupational therapists, scholars and students from 16 countries to learn more about MOHO applications and research. WHAT’S AHEAD The Department of Occupational Therapy looks to the future with its motto, “Creating Tomorrow’s Practice.”

OT clinical assistant professor Theresa Carroll works with a resident of a group home that provides integrated living experiences to young adults with autism.

is considered the most widely cited and used practice model of its kind today.

and community mental health centers. “Chicago provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with clinicians, community organizations and consumer advocacy groups to truly embrace and promote Scholarship of Practice,” SuarezBalcazar said. The department’s international collaborations include two student immersion experiences: a master’slevel student exchange with the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and fieldwork for doctoral students at the Center Ann Sullivan of Peru. NEW PRACTICE MODEL The Model of Human Occupation, developed by former professor and department head Gary Kielhofner,

1987 New graduate program: Master of Science in Occupational Therapy

1999 Last undergraduate class admitted as department prepares to become master’slevel program

1996 Three departments—OT, physical therapy, disability and human development—establish nation’s first Ph.D. program in disability studies

The MOHO Clearinghouse, directed by professor Renée Taylor, is an online resource of assessments and interventions for practitioners, educators, students and researchers. The model guides occupational therapists to focus on the client’s own goals and motivations, not what the therapist thinks those goals and motivations should be. “It’s a philosophy about our role as therapists,” explained Fisher, who has written articles and chapters on the model and helped create MOHO assessments. “It gives more power to the client.”

2006 Gary Kielhofner returns to faculty; Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar named department head First students enrolled in Occupational Therapy Doctorate program, first public university OTD program in nation

2002 First all master’s-level class graduates

2010 Gary Kielhofner dies. First International Institute on the Model of Human Occupation held at UIC

The department recently launched a community-engaged faculty practice serving children, youth and families. Other new areas of focus include management and self-management of chronic health conditions and an initiative to promote well-being among UIC students. These plans are in sync with the profession’s move toward prevention and primary care in communitybased practice, Fisher said. “I think our emphasis on improving the quality of life for all individuals will continue to advance the field.” View photos of OT students throughout the decades at

2015 OT hosts first annual Scholarship of Practice Day

2018 UIC Occupational Therapy OT at UIC celebrates 75 years!

UIC Occupati

Celebrating a Legacy of Excellence

Celebrating a Leg

2017 American Occupational Therapy Association celebrates profession’s 100th anniversary. Beatrice Wade, Gary Kielhofner included on AOTA list of 100 influential people in occupational therapy




Meet the newest AHS Alumni Award winners A HERO FOR HEALTH Three-time UIC alumnus and current AHS Alumni Board president Eric Meredith ’12 ms nut received the 2018 AHS Loyalty Award. Meredith, who has served on the AHS Alumni Board since 2013 and delivered the 2013 AHS spring commencement address, is a USDA nutritionist and child health education innovator.

In 2007, Meredith followed his passion to start a healthy meal delivery service called Alter EatGo, which addressed the lack of healthy food options in some Chicago neighborhoods. As a spokesman for the March of Dimes and the American Heart Association, Meredith helped encourage people of all ages to eat better. He closed the business after three years, but its success helped inspire Meredith to become a certified personal trainer and to pursue a master’s degree in nutrition from UIC. Meredith is currently a nutritionist for the USDA, where his responsibilities include overseeing the educational component of the Supplement Nutrition Assistance Program for six Midwestern states. Meredith is also the CEO and founder of Health Heroes, an educational company for youth that uses comic books and technology




Photo: Lloyd Degrane

Raised in Roseland on Chicago’s South Side, Meredith joined the U.S. Navy after high school, working as a Russian linguist. Subsequently he earned a bachelor’s degree in information systems from UIC and worked in technology for several years at McDonald’s Corp., Lotus and IBM.

to promote healthy habits and simplify complex health information. “An obese child has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult,” Meredith says. “So I tapped into my inner kid to look for fun, engaging ways to reach children.” Meredith also holds a master’s in education from UIC.

On April 5, AHS recognized two outstanding alumni at AHS CELEBRATES, the college’s signature annual alumni event. Eric Meredith received the 2018 AHS Loyalty Award and Tim Grover was honored with the 2018 AHS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.

FOSTERING ATHLETIC ACHIEVEMENT Tim Grover ’84 bs kines, ’86 ms kines, the CEO of ATTACK Athletics Inc., received the 2018 AHS Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award. Grover is a businessman, author, consultant and trainer. Since 1989, Grover has been a leader in the art and science of physical and mental dominance in athletics. Grover is world-renowned for his legendary work with elite champions and Hall of Famers, including Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and hundreds of other professional and Olympic athletes. ATTACK Athletics provides training and rehabilitation services designed to push athletes to the top of their game. Grover’s cutting-edge programs focus on strength, agility, speed and performance. “You won’t be as good as you were,” Grover tells his clients. “You’ll be better than ever.” In addition to collegiate and professional athletes, Grover helps business leaders and elite achievers accomplish their goals. Grover travels the world as a consultant and keynote speaker, teaching the principles of relentless drive, results-driven performance and mental toughness. He is the author of “Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable” and “Jump Attack: The Formula for Explosive Athletic Performance, Jumping Higher and Training Like the Pros,” as well as the creator of the digital training platform “The Relentless System.” A featured columnist at and, Grover also appears on ESPN, Fox Sports and other media outlets. Grover, the 2017 AHS spring commencement speaker, played NCAA Division I basketball at UIC. The dual alumnus holds a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology and a master’s degree in exercise science. In 2009, UIC Athletics awarded Grover a Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted him into its hall of fame.




A life well lived Photo: Elizabeth Monge

Memorial scholarship empowers students in the Department of Disability and Human Development

“I don’t identify as a victim—I’m a survivor,” AnnaMaria says. “But it’s been a very long road.” Carol Gottlieb knows about long roads. Her late husband, Neal Gottlieb,

was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2000. This degenerative disease does not have a cure. “Every time he had an acute attack, he would lose some ground,” Carol says. “It was like living on shifting sands. We’d get used to the new normal, and then he’d have another attack.” Neal and AnnaMaria never met each other, but their stories are intertwined. Earlier this year, AnnaMaria received the inaugural scholarship from the Neal H. Gottlieb Memorial Scholarship Fund in AHS. The scholarship is awarded to students in disability

Photo: Karen I. Hirsch

here have been moments when AnnaMaria Baraglia, ’18 bs rs wanted to walk away from her dreams. Nearly 10 years ago, AnnaMaria suffered a stroke that left her with partial paralysis, speech problems, mental difficulties and sensation loss.

Neal Gottlieb 18



studies and human development who themselves have a physical disability. Carol and her two adult children established this endowed fund to honor Neal’s vibrant life. “Neal was too stubborn to let an illness limit and define him,” Carol explains. “It’s meant for those who continue to fight and conquer their mobility challenges and who won’t let anything stand in the way of the education they desire.”

Voices for change Now 37, AnnaMaria also harbors a stubborn streak. Only a year and a half after her stroke, she enrolled at Wright College to begin the process of becoming an occupational therapy assistant. In 2015, she transferred to UIC. “I always try to attribute positive outcomes to my stroke,” AnnaMaria says. “If I hadn’t had a stroke, I never would have known about occupational therapy as a career.” At AHS, AnnaMaria pursued a major in rehabilitative sciences and a minor

“Disability studies helped open my eyes to the fact that I’m not the only one going through these experiences,” she says. “There’s an entire community that’s marginalized by society.”

Carol Gottlieb

in disability and human development. From the beginning, her courses made a personal impact. In class and during conversations with others in her cohort, AnnaMaria learned about her rights, and she began to advocate for herself and others. “Not everyone is lucky enough to know about workplace or educational accommodations,” she says. By necessity, Neal also became familiar with the rules and regulations around workplace accommodations. He continued working for the U.S. General Accounting Office (now the

U.S. General Accountability Office) for five years after his diagnosis. “He took working in the public sector, that responsibility, quite seriously,” Carol says. Neal was passionate about his career, but he had to fight for workplace accommodations. “He did a lot of investigation into assistive technologies,” Carol remembers. “It was very important to him.”

A timely gift The educational field also attracted Neal’s talents. He taught accounting at UIC for three years and served SUMMER 2018



on his local school foundation as treasurer. When Carol, herself a retired teacher, saw a short how-to article about establishing an educational scholarship, she decided this was the most fitting way to honor Neal’s memory.

“You don’t need to have vast wealth to create a scholarship that will help students,” Carol says. “I don’t think people always realize that smaller donation amounts can have a significant impact.” Just ask AnnaMaria. The scholarship award notification arrived when she needed it most. “I had been applying to graduate school in occupational therapy and hadn’t been getting great news,” she recalls. “Then I found out I got the scholarship. It empowered me. It makes me feel like I’m worth it, that I’m important and that other people see that.” “It reminded me that I have a purpose,” she continues. “It doesn’t make me want to give up hope of succeeding.” When AnnaMaria accepted her diploma in May, she became the first person in her family to graduate from college. It was an eight-year journey, punctuated at times with debilitating days of pain, but it was also a triumph of AnnaMaria’s determination and spirit. “If I was a negative person, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she says. “I thank God every day that I wake up and have a second chance at life.”




AnnaMaria Baraglia at a rehabilitation session shortly after her stroke.

Creating a legacy Neal was a man of integrity and intelligence who mentored others and enjoyed collaboration. He loved reading and music of all kinds, and he was deeply loyal and dedicated to his family. Neal was not his illness—he was a father, a husband and a friend. “We were a very good team, my husband and I,” Carol says. “This scholarship has been extremely meaningful for me. I’m very excited about it, and it’s incredibly powerful thinking about his legacy—more so than I even anticipated.”

As Neal did, AnnaMaria refuses to let a label define her. She’s quick to tell people that she’s not the disability. “I’m a person,” she says. “I’m just a person trying to live my best life possible. Getting this scholarship was a reminder to stay positive and keep moving forward.”

To make a meaningful gift of your own, visit give-to-ahs

THE PHYLLIS AND SAM BOWEN ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FUND As one of the founders of UIC’s program in human nutrition, KN professor emerita Phyllis Bowen made a difference in the lives of many AHS students. Bowen, who died March 19, continued that legacy with a gift to the college to support scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in nutrition who demonstrate financial need. The Phyllis and Sam Bowen Endowed Scholarship Fund was created to alleviate the burden of debt and loans that many students take on, and to inspire others to make a donation to AHS. Help amplify Bowen’s legacy by making a donation to the fund. Visit





AHS Connection The first half of 2018 brought opportunities for alumni to celebrate and connect.


2018 State of the University Address and alumni reception

UIC Chancellor Micheal Amiridis delivers the state of the university address.

Annie Li ’15 BS HIM enjoys conversation with fellow UIC alumni at the reception.

April 4 Chicago 2017 was a transformative year at UIC. We launched our ambitious IGNITE Campaign, created a brand new UIC Alumni Association and entered our third straight year of record enrollment. Chancellor Michael Amiridis reflected on these milestones and shared his vision for the university moving forward.

Fourth Annual Scholarship of Practice Day and 75th anniversary reception

April 6 Chicago The UIC Department of Occupational Therapy hosted its 4th Annual Scholarship of Practice Day and a reception to celebrate its 75th anniversary. Faculty, scholars, students, practitioners and community partners attended a full day of scholarly activities that included a keynote delivered by Anne Fisher, whose participation was made possible by the Wade/Reichenbach Clinical Competency Education Fund.

View more photos on the OT Facebook page:




AHS GRADUATES: Welcome to the UIC AHS Alumni Community

May 2 Chicago At an afternoon reception, the newest members of the AHS alumni community celebrated their accomplishments by toasting with fellow graduates and the faculty and staff who were instrumental in their success. AHS student awards were presented to recipients as attendees cheered. Yvonne Mlynarczyk ’82 bs pt delivered welcome remarks on behalf of the AHS Alumni Board.

DHD Student Awards Reception

May 4 Chicago DHD students (pictured from left to right with DHD department head Tamar Heller: AnnaMaria Baraglia, Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons, Kristen Salkas, Chih-Chieh Hsu and Valeria Barich) were presented with well-earned scholarships and awards at an on-campus reception. DHD professor and department head Tamar Heller welcomed all in attendance, especially Patrick Drazen and Carol Gottlieb, who each made a named award possible.

Fly the W with UIC in NYC June 3 New York City The newly formed UIC Alumni Association Invited UIC alumni and friends to cheer for the Chicago Cubs at Citi Field in New York City. Jon Rivera ’92 bs ot and his family answered the call.





AHS CELEBRATES: Recognizing alumni and empowering collaborators April 5 Chicago This year’s AHS CELEBRATES continued the tradition of living up to its name. It was an evening to celebrate and empower the college’s most treasured asset: its people. A cocktail reception kicked off the event, which was followed by the 2018 AHS Alumni Awards ceremony presented by Dean Bo Fernhall. The evening was punctuated by a captivating talk by Chicago Public Schools Chief Health Officer Kenneth Fox.




Fall 2018 AHS Commencement Ceremony May 10 Chicago AHS graduates marked their transition from students to alumni by walking across the UIC Pavilion stage during commencement. Stevie Hopkins (pictured top left), this year’s commencement speaker, provided the AHS Class of 2018 with advice and encouragement. Watch Hopkins’ moving speech, “Embrace, Educate, Empower, Love Life” at




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AHS Magazine - Summer 2018  

The publication for alumni and friends of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

AHS Magazine - Summer 2018  

The publication for alumni and friends of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.