Page 1

Creating Tomorrow’s Practice


The Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago


75 Year Legacy of Excellence

As dean of the UIC College of Applied Health Sciences, I am fortunate to have a long list of points of pride to cite. Our highly-acclaimed academic programs attract the best researchers, clinicians, scholars and students from around the world. Among our college’s many key accomplishments, there is one of which I’m especially proud: AHS is the home college to the highest-ranked academic discipline at UIC – occupational therapy. Our master’s in occupational therapy program is consistently ranked as the No. 1 degree program of its kind among public universities in the country. More importantly, the department educates and graduates occupational therapy students who go on to become the very best in their professional fields. This is a tribute not only to their dedication, but also to an unparalleled faculty and staff. As a result, the department’s impact on the field of occupational therapy has a global reach and is world-renowned. I can’t think of any academic endeavor that brings us closer to surpassing our vision of a world in which every person can live a healthy and self-determined life.

— Bo Fernhall Dean, UIC College of Applied Health Sciences FACULTY

Theresa Carroll, OTD, OTR/L Clinical Assistant Professor Heidi Fischer, OTD, OTR/L Clinical Assistant Professor Gail Fisher, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA Clinical Associate Professor; Associate Head for Administration Joy Hammel, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA Professor and Wade/Meyer Endowed Chair; Director of Doctoral Studies Celeste Januszewski, OTD, OTR/L Clinical Assistant Professor


Mary Khetani, PhD, OTR/L Assistant Professor Catherine Killian, OTD, OTR/L Clinical Assistant Professor; Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Jenica Lee, OTD, OTR/L Clinical Assistant Professor Susan Magasi, PhD Assistant Professor Mansha Mirza, PhD, OTR/L, MS HSOR Assistant Professor

Elizabeth Peterson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA Clinical Professor; Director of Professional Education


Kathy Preissner, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA Clinical Associate Professor; Academic Fieldwork Coordinator

Jacqueline Bertucci Business Administrative Associate

Ashley Stoffel, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA Clinical Associate Professor Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, PhD Professor and Head Renee Taylor, PhD Professor

Mary Berta Assistant to the Head for Finance and Human Resources

Kimberly Dandridge Business Administrative Associate Marjani Jones Academic Advisor (OTD) Maria Larson Senior Academic Advisor (MS)

The Department of Occupational Therapy (UIC OT) was founded in the College of Medicine of the University of Illinois in 1943. The department’s founder, Beatrice D. Wade, created the Illinois Plan, which emphasized the close connection between OT education and clinical practice. Over three decades later, the College of Associated Health Professions, now the College of Applied Health Sciences, was established with occupational therapy among its founding departments. Today, our department continues to embrace the vision of the Illinois Plan and has built a legacy of excellence by developing our Community-engaged Scholarship of Practice model, in which research and scholarship advance practice, and practice informs scholarship. Our faculty’s commitment to developing close collaborations with community partners is central to our model, which is enacted through a variety of initiatives and programs. As such, our new faculty practice initiative expands opportunities for faculty and students to deliver theory-and evidence-based interventions, and contribute to emerging practice. A hallmark of our department is the involvement of people with disabilities or chronic health conditions, their families and advocates. Our entry-level students attest to the value that community-engaged education brings to our MS program. UIC post-professional OTD and PhD students create innovative programs, in collaboration with their faculty mentors, that are responsive to the needs of the local communities. Moreover, unique to our department are our long standing international partnerships with the Center Ann Sullivan of Peru and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. The department embraces the university’s mission to foster scholarship and practices that reflect and respond to the increasing diversity of the U.S. in a rapidly global world. We are committed to addressing the needs of individuals and organizations in urban environments, locally and globally, in collaboration with our clinical and community partners. This publication illustrates our legacy of excellence through three interconnected themes: scholarship of practice, academic programs, and community engagement. It is with pride that we describe our innovative and multifaceted efforts in “Creating Tomorrow’s Practice”. It is my privilege and honor to work with our dedicated and talented faculty, staff and students in collaboration with our clinical and community partners.

— Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar Professor and Head, Department of Occupational Therapy

Legacy of Excellence Scholarship of Practice

Our scholarship has long been recognized for addressing issues important to individuals and communities, resulting in interventions that enhance health, well-being and participation. These descriptions of faculty scholarship illustrate the broad range of current efforts and impact.


Supporting Adolescent Transition to Adulthood Theresa Carroll’s scholarship focuses on identifying OT’s distinct value in supporting adolescents with disabilities as they transition to adulthood. She collaborates with local community organizations to deliver innovative OT services to young adults with disabilities. She also participates in local and national groups to promote OTs roles in post-secondary transition.

Developing Occupation-Based Self-Management Interventions Heidi Fischer works to enhance participation, inclusion and advocacy with people who have disabilities or chronic health conditions. She and her team contributed to the development and implementation of occupationbased, self-management interventions in the rehabilitation setting. She also participated in the creation of novel collaborative and interdisciplinary self-management services for the department’s faculty practice.

Focusing on the Impact of the Environment Gail Fisher designs resources that help students and therapists use theory to guide their practice. Her publications include assessments and practical tools that focus on how the client’s physical, social and occupational environments impact their lives. She also studies how the health care policy and payment context affects access to therapy and the role of occupational therapists.

Strategizing Equitable Participation & Social Justice Joy Hammel’s research focuses on four major areas: participatory action research with disability communities to identify key environmental barriers and supports to community living and societal participation; designing and testing innovative community living, participation and environmental programming; evaluating the impact of policy and systems changes on civil rights; and building community capacity and empowerment.


Leading Research on Disparities Experienced by People with Long-term Disabilities People with long-term disabilities report decreased everyday participation post-rehabilitation in areas such as community living, social participation, community mobility and economic quality of life. Although there are many studies focusing on specific diagnoses and how to change performance at the individual level, far less research is available on how environmental factors (physical, community/ neighborhood, resource availability, cost of living) influence participation for people with disabilities as a social group at a public health population level. Joy Hammel is co-principal investigator of the Americans with Disabilities Act Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA PARC), a National Institute on Disability, Rehabilitation and Independent Living Research (NIDILRR)-funded center that brings together researchers, 10 regional ADA centers, and disability communities (see The consortium documents key participation disparities and uses participatory action research to address and act upon these disparities at the community, state and national levels.


papers and chapters were published by UIC OT faculty in the past 5 years.

Promoting Behavioral Health Celeste Januszewski prepares practitioners to collaborate with individuals who have serious mental illness in supporting them on their road to recovery. Her studies examine the challenges that individuals face when they move from nursing homes into the community. Other research focuses on behavioral health policy and the use of evidence-based tools in recovery-oriented health systems.

Developing Technology for Pediatric Care Mary Khetani directs the Children’s Participation in Environment Research Lab (CPERL). The CPERL team cares about advancing client-centered care and outcomes in pediatric rehabilitation. Lab members harness technology to build innovative tools that can accelerate family-engaged and participation-focused care planning and outcomes monitoring with individuals, organizations, and systems.

Developing OT Leaders and Fieldwork Educators Catherine Killian’s research focuses on empowering OT leaders and facilitating excellent fieldwork experiences. She is co-investigator on an AOTA-funded study to validate a revised fieldwork performance evaluation tool. Her research interests are informed by her diverse clinical and health care management experiences.

Promoting Healthy Productive Aging Jenica Lee’s scholarship seeks to understand supports and barriers to everyday technology use and participation in meaningful activities at home, work and in the community as people age. She aims to develop and implement best practice assessments and resources to promote healthy productive aging and caregiver support.


Developing Health Services Innovations for Social Justice Mansha Mirza works to enhance health and social services for lowincome, underserved communities, with a special focus on immigrant and refugee newcomers. Her current research focuses on policy and programmatic innovations such as organizational capacity-building, language access trainings, and collaboration with community health workers and peer mentors.

Contributing to Neurorehabilitation and Fieldwork Kathy Preissner advances best practices for people with multiple sclerosis. She has developed and tested group-based interventions for fatigue and caregiving, creating resources to translate knowledge to practice. Her contributions to fieldwork education include a study to validate new items of the AOTA Fieldwork Performance Evaluations.

Improving Healthcare Justice for People with Disabilities Susan Magasi’s research concerns peer support interventions to improve health care justice (including access, quality and outcomes) for people with disabilities. She works closely with members of the disability community to shape and implement her research. She is recognized for her expertise in qualitative methods and knowledge translation.

Addressing Falls and Fear of Falling Liz Peterson’s research focuses on falls and fear of falling: epidemiology, measurement and interventions for community-dwelling older adults and people living with multiple sclerosis. Her research also examines fall prevention practices among health care providers, fall prevention behaviors among service recipients, and strategies to evaluate interprofessional education efforts.

Training Future Scholars The scarcity of disability scholars has been widely documented. The department is helping to alleviate this shortage through implementing a NIDILRR-funded grant that trains postdoctoral fellows to conduct research related to community living and


participation for people with disabilities. Postdoctoral fellow Amber Angell (far right) is studying participation disparities in youth with autism and postdoctoral fellow Angel Love Miles (second from right) is examining housing issues for people with disabilities.


Promoting Family-Centeredness in Early Childhood Ashley Stoffel’s scholarship includes promoting family-centered services to young children and families in diverse early intervention and community settings. She is developing and providing OT services through the UIC OT Faculty Practice: Children, Youth & Families. She is the UIC OT discipline and training coordinator for UIC’s LEND program (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities). Applying Conceptual Practice Models Renée Taylor is director of the UIC Model of Human Occupation Clearinghouse. Her research includes the biopsychosocial predictors and correlates of post-infectious fatigue syndrome; patient-provider communication (i.e., Intentional Relationship Model); and how disabled individuals reconfigure their occupational lives (i.e., Kielhofner’s Model of Human Occupation).

Addressing Health Disparities Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar’s research focuses on understanding health disparities experienced by people from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds who have disabilities or chronic health conditions, as well as their families. She and her community partners are developing and validating culturally relevant community-level interventions. They are addressing organizational, environmental, and systemic factors that promote health equity and well-being.

Advancing Theory-Based Practice: The Model of Human Occupation Kielhofner’s Model of Human Occupation (MOHO), often cited as the most widely used occupation-based theory in occupational therapy, has its home at UIC, where Gary Kielhofner was a professor for 24 years. Directed by Renée Taylor, the MOHO Clearinghouse and MOHO Web ( is an international platform for dissemination of 25 assessments and intervention manuals linked to MOHO, translated into 21 languages.


assessments and resources have been downloaded or purchased from the MOHO Clearinghouse over the past five years.

The assessments provide practical tools for therapists to develop insights about their client’s situation and promote collaborative goal setting. The newest assessment, the Occupational Self-Assessment: Short Form (OSA-SF), assists practitioners working in a fast-paced setting with developing an occupational profile and therapy goals. UIC has been a significant force in shaping theory-based OT practice around the world. UIC recently co-sponsored the 5th MOHO International Institute with MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where occupational therapists, scholars, and students from 16 countries learned about MOHO applications and research to advance theory-based practice.


citations of MOHO-related publications are in the searchable scholarship data base on MOHO Web. 5

UIC OT Faculty Practice Reaches Out to the Community The Scholarship of Practice model is the foundation for the recently developed UIC OT Faculty Practice. The practice provides opportunities for faculty members to build on their scholarship, provide clinical services and connect those experiences to classroom teaching and OTD projects. Our faculty practice recognizes the important relationships between community partnerships, research evidence, and OT education and practice. The practice involves faculty, students, alumni and community partners in providing needed occupational therapy services. Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar, Joy Hammel, Heidi Fischer, and adjunct faculty Maureen Gecht and Dalmina Arias (above, left) developed a collaborative faculty practice with the Center for Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolism at the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System to provide occupation-based,


culturally-tailored, interdisciplinary self-management interventions to people with diabetes. The focus is on symptom management as well as managing everyday participation in the home, community, and school/work settings. The goal is to develop a collaborative team care approach to diabetes and implement and evaluate the program’s impact on diabetes management, participation, and occupational performance. Led by Ashley Stoffel (below), the UIC OT Faculty Practice: Children, Youth, and Families provides occupation-focused, evidence-based, family-centered OT services for children, youth and families in Chicago and the surrounding areas. Whenever possible, OT services are provided in natural settings such as the child and family’s home and community. Doctoral students will have a role in expanding this faculty practice to reach more families.


Clinical Partnerships Provide Opportunities for Scholarship and Learning Clinical programs are a vital part of our department’s research, education and service initiatives. Collaboration with highly respected clinical sites is integral to our faculty and doctoral student scholarship. Our partnerships also bring master clinicians with diverse expertise into the classroom and enhance our fieldwork programming for entry-level and OTD students. Two of our most vital and longstanding relationships are with the University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System (UI Health) and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). From the early years of our department, occupational therapists at UI Health have been partners in educating UIC OT fieldwork students as shown above. At UI Health, over 20 occupational therapy practitioners work with clients in acute care, behavioral health, and pediatric inpatient and outpatient settings. Current clinical initiatives include establishing a multidisciplinary “pre-hab” therapy protocol for all inpatients undergoing stem cell transplant, establishing cognitive and mood screening for all stroke inpatients and developing an outpatient referral pathway for diabetes patients. The UI Health occupational therapists are implementing a sensory room and “Zones of Regulation” program on the adolescent trauma unit and piloting the Stanford chronic disease self-management workplace program, “Live Well, Work Well.” In addition, UI Health provides a research laboratory for faculty to develop assessments and interventions. This wide range of programs offers master’s and doctoral students a rich experience at a leading academic medical center.

Shirley Ryan Ability Lab is a top-ranked translational research hospital where therapists and researchers work together to advance physical medicine and rehabilitation. UIC faculty are collaborating with Shirley Ryan AbilityLab to enable UIC OT doctoral students to complete advanced practica and projects related to occupation-based practice in a variety of physical rehabilitation settings. These projects impact the scope and quality of OT service provision. For example, one project focused on increasing utilization of the Assessment of Motor and Process Skills (AMPS), an occupational performance-based assessment (pictured below). In addition, OTD advanced practica include immersion experiences to translate research into clinical practice. Finally, MS students submit occupation-based measurement summaries to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab Rehabilitation Measures Database through a research collaborative. Several of these summaries have been published in professional peer-reviewed journals.


Legacy of Excellence Education

Our academic programs prepare students to be critical thinkers, compassionate and culturally-relevant practitioners, and leaders. Our faculty pride themselves on creating an intellectually stimulating, warm, and friendly environment for students. Located in the heart of Chicago, UIC offers students easy access to a city with many opportunities to learn, work and play. The MS Program The Master of Science students learn in an enriched classroom environment that includes people with disabilities or chronic health conditions and their families. Four fieldwork experiences develop students’ skills in a range of clinical, community and educational settings. Graduates become leaders who are well qualified to integrate theory, research and practice, delivering ethical and culturally responsive services in a wide variety of settings. MS students have the option of co-enrolling in the post-professional OTD program, typically completing both programs in three years.

100% 8

“UIC's collaborative culture helped me take my learning to the next level, and I have had many opportunities to learn from UIC faculty who are internationally recognized leaders in future-oriented research.” —Ryan Walsh, MS student

of our recent MS graduates passed the NBCOT Certification Exam within one year of graduation.

The Master of Science in Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), located at 4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200, Bethesda, MD 20814-3449. ACOTE’s telephone number c/o AOTA is (301) 652-AOTA and its Web address is UIC MS program information is at

The OTD Program UIC’s post-professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree offers opportunities for career development and advancement in specialized areas of practice, teaching and applied research through individualized mentoring by our faculty. OTD students apply existing research and evidence to improve everyday practice through immersion in our Community-engaged Scholarship of Practice model. UIC OTD graduates are ready to take on leadership roles in academia and practice settings.



“I am inspired to grow as a contributor to the field of OT as I'm being mentored by educators who are strong leaders in our profession.” ­—Toni Van Denend, MS ’03, OTD student

of all students are co-authors on publications or presenters at professional conferences.

PhD Programs Two PhD programs prepare students for research and academic careers. Disability Studies emphasizes understanding environmental, sociocultural, systemic, and policy factors that impact disability as well as the lived experience of people with disabilities. Rehabilitation Sciences emphasizes theory and research concerning performance and participation. PhD students work closely with highly accomplished faculty advisors who have robust research programs.

“I value UIC OT for its focus on addressing disparities in underserved populations and for opportunities to do communityengaged research”. —Kim The, MS ’16, PhD student in Disability Studies

U.S. News and World Report ranks our MS program in the top of all U.S. universities and


1ST among public universities.


Legacy of Excellence Community Engagement

Grounded in our community-engaged Scholarship of Practice model, faculty and students collaborate with community organizations, consumers, and advocacy groups. Partners include agencies serving refugees and immigrants, Centers for Independent Living run by people with disabilities, day care centers, primary health clinics, group home residences, senior centers, schools, and community mental health centers.


community organizations partner with UIC OT faculty in research, fieldwork experiences, or service learning opportunities.

Chicago provides a unique context for students and faculty to address inequities in service delivery and barriers to participation. For instance, MS students complete their first fieldwork experience at a community site working with diverse urban populations. Sites include agencies serving children at risk for developmental delay, women and children in transitional housing due to domestic violence, formerly incarcerated adults who are transitioning back to community, adults who survived a traumatic brain injury and people living with HIV/AIDS. Community sites provide students with the opportunity to learn and grow in emerging practice settings by providing needed services to diverse populations.


UIC offers additional experiences for students who want to expand their knowledge and skills for working with diverse populations through the College of Applied Health Sciences’ Health and Diversity Academy (HDA). Participating students are HDA fellows who complete service learning at a site providing programs to underserved population and take part in seminars to examine aspects of diversity, discrimination, and health disparities. For example, HDA fellows provide peer experiences at the group home run by Urban Autism Solutions (pictured above). Fellows complete a project for their community site that meets the needs of the staff or participants.


The department’s community engagement activities include work with residential facilities such as group homes (above) and community organizations such as long-term organizational partner El Valor. Students engage with community members in activities such as community asset mapping with families (right, top photo). To address health disparities experienced by women with disabilities, the department co-sponsors “Screenable Saturday�, a wellness fair for women with disabilities that features free accessible mammograms, healthy eating tips, and adapted dance sessions (right, bottom photo).

Transcending Borders Trading Places: International Student Exchange Our department has enjoyed a long-standing collaboration with the Karolinska Institute (KI) in Stockholm, Sweden that includes a successful student exchange. Over the past several years, UIC OT students have traveled to Sweden for fieldwork courses to learn from expert clinicians in different practice settings. In exchange, our department hosts Karolinska students who take courses that include learning experiences with our community partners. KI and UIC-based students have gained a broader perspective on global occupational therapy practice, and have enriched the learning environment at both institutions.

Globally Connected Doctoral Students and Faculty Since 2008, 22 doctoral students have participated in an immersion experience at the Center Ann Sullivan of Peru in Lima (CASP). The center is a globally recognized hub for community-based research and teaching, and a demonstration site for people with disabilities across the life span. Students, in collaboration with faculty, provide consultation, trainings to parents and staff, and OT services to maximize the participation and engagement of people with disabilities in activities of everyday life. Services are provided at the center, schools, homes, work sites and the community.


75 Years of Accomplishments Donors Establish a Legacy The alumni and friends of the Department of Occupational Therapy — including Beatrice Wade, Barbara Loomis and others — have a long history of supporting our students. Their support provides 15 scholarships per year for OT students. We are pleased to add two names to the long list of supporters – former department head Winifred Scott (’57 BS OT) and William Frey (’71 BS OT).

In 2000 a large bequest from former faculty member Alice Clement Meyer (pictured below, standing at far right) created the Wade/Meyer Endowed Chair in occupational therapy, one of several OT endowed chairs in the country. Joy Hammel has been the endowed chair since 2011 and has led initiatives such as the annual Scholarship of Practice Day. This effort brings together over 150 faculty, students, practitioners and community partners for a full day of scholarship presentations and roundtable discussions.

Following her years of service within the department, Wini Scott took time to reflect on the role the university had in her life and upon the impact she could make on future students. She shared, “I wanted to contribute back to the university because the university did give me a lot. It gave me a profession.” Her scholarship supports OT students with financial need who plan to work in African-American communities.

Bill Frey, a military veteran with a long career in clinical practice and academia, designated his scholarship for students with financial need who are active-duty military or veterans. As a firstgeneration college student, he is committed to making college a reality for future OT students. Both donors hope their gifts will inspire others to establish new funds or make gifts to current scholarships.


Thanks to our donors, in the last three years the OT Department allocated 240 travel awards to students to attend and/or present at professional conferences. UIC OT students have completed their entry-level OT degree at UIC since 1943

The department also seeks donations for the planned Center for Everyday Participation in the UIC OT department where students, faculty, and clients will address occupational performance and participation in a home environment with kitchen, bathroom, and universal design features. 12

We invite you to be a part of this new vision. To make a gift to the Department of Occupational Therapy or learn more about supporting the department, please contact Keenan Cutsforth, Assistant Dean for Advancement, College of Applied Health Sciences, at or 312-996-1339.

Reflecting on the Past and Looking to the Future

There have been many milestone achievements in the past 75 years, several are highlighted here. In 1943, UIC was selected as one of 5 programs in the U.S. to provide an Emergency War Course to increase the number of occupational therapists to treat the troops and the veterans. In 1950, Beatrice Wade successfully fought a takeover by physical medicine physicians and kept the department autonomous, a feat that she replicated at the national level with her fellow AOTA officers. Her successors, Barbara Loomis (below, left) and Winifred Scott (below, right), pictured with Miss Wade at the department’s 40th anniversary celebration, built on the reputation of the department. They advanced OT education by developing and implementing a curriculum that included self-study with computers, an innovative teaching strategy in the mid-1970s and early 80s.

outcomes research. The CORE trained 19 fellows (pictured below) to advance their research, yielding 28 funded grants and over $8.7 million in funding in the first two years of the center.

The department played a key role in establishing the nation’s first PhD program in disability studies in 1996. A few years later, our post-professional OTD became one of the first programs in the country and the first in a public university. In 2017, two of UIC OT’s five department heads, Beatrice D. Wade and Gary Kielhofner (pictured below at the beginning of their tenure), were named among the 100 influential people in the field in observance of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the profession of occupational therapy. This recognition reflects how the department’s leaders have had a profound influence on development of our profession and the lives of people with disabilities.

With the arrival of Gary Kielhofner in 1986, the department became more focused on developing knowledge and its application in the field, consistent with UIC’s greater emphasis on research and scholarship. In 1989, UIC was one of two OT departments in the country awarded a coveted grant from the American OT Association and Foundation (AOTA/AOTF) to establish a charter Center of Research and Education in occupational therapy (CORE), focused on assessment development. Our department used this opportunity to build the capacity of the faculty by inviting in experts in measurement, qualitative research, and grant writing. The result was the creation of numerous assessments that are widely used today, a national conference on measurement, and the launch of the Scholarship of Practice model. With the additional award of an AOTA/AOTF grant in 1996 to become the national Center for Outcomes Research in OT (CORE), the focus shifted to training OT faculty from the U.S. and abroad to be competitive in grant submissions and complete funded

The milestones highlighted in this publication are just a few of the many accomplishments of UIC OT over the past 75 years that have had an impact on the direction of the field. The department’s contributions continue, thanks to the talented and dedicated faculty, staff, and thousands of alumni and supporters who believe in the transformative power of the UIC Department of Occupational Therapy. The department’s commitment to Creating Tomorrow’s Practice will guide future achievements in scholarship, clinical practice, education, and community engagement as we move into the next quarter century.


UIC Occupational Therapy Celebrating a Legacy of Excellence

rev 4/2018, 500pc | P1801564 UIC Creative and Digital Services

University of Illinois at Chicago Department of Occupational Therapy 1919 W. Taylor Street (MC 811) Chicago, IL 60612

312 996 3051

UIC Department of Occupational Therapy Magazine  
UIC Department of Occupational Therapy Magazine