Research Projects

Professional Program in Occupational Therapy Student Research Projects Archive

Fall 2009

Led by Jane Bear-Lehman, Associate Professor and Department Chair, the two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (summer 2009) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (fall 2009) combined lectures and laboratory sessions with faculty sponsored group research projects. The following is a listing of the 2009 research projects.

Study: How stress reactions from traumatic hand injuries influence the patient's response to and participation in hand care occupational therapy.

Faculty Mentors: Sally Poole and Jane Bear-Lehman

This descriptive study used the Impact of Event Scale to determine stress reactions and how they could influence a person's ability to participate in therapy. It sought to study whether intrusive thinking and/or periods of avoidance (normal responses to stress) could impact occupational therapy treatment. The study asked a small group of individuals who had hand injuries about the events and circumstances surrounding their injury and their reactions to it. The interviews took place in local hand clinics.

Study: Ongoing program evaluation and development- NYU Entry-Level OT Program-Perceptions of Older Adults.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole

Students assessed the entering professional OT class regarding their perceptions of older adults in this continuing study. Utilizing an established AOTA survey and the electronic survey tool, Survey Monkey, research students selected questions regarding existing beliefs about working adults, and attitudes towards working with them. The surveys were administered and data collected from the occupational therapy entering and on-going classes. Analyses were performed for the initial phase of this ongoing program evaluation project.

Study: Ongoing program evaluation and development-NYU Entry-Level OT Program-Perception of the occupational therapy curriculum effectiveness.

Faculty Mentor: Karen Buckley

As part of NYU's ongoing program evaluation, an electronic survey was administered to students in Level II Fieldwork to provide feedback about how the experiences of Level I influenced them. The research students selected questions that were pertinent to topics required for the Department's accreditation. Surveys were administered and data was also collected from NYU OT graduates. Data analysis was then performed for the initial phase of this ongoing program evaluation project.

Study: What is an effective way to measure thumb opposition?

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman
Clinical Doctoral Student: Pamela Lawton

The traditional method of measuring the completion of thumb opposition is with a ruler. Therapists rely on this primary method to document and to chart progress for those who have impaired thumb movement at the CMC joint. A new tool, designed by Hareau has been designed and is being marketed to measure thumb opposition. This inquiry looked at the utility of this new tool on a sample of normal adult women, and on a sample of women who had expressed injuries affecting their CMC joints and were undergoing treatment in NYC.

Study: An Efficacy Study of Handwriting Interventions for School-Aged Children, Grades 1-2.

Clinical Mentor: Karen Roston

Handwriting is the main reason for referral to occupational therapists in school-based settings. Students took part in a research project designed to assess the efficacy of two treatment approaches. In order to compare two interventions, two Handwriting Clubs were established to improve a child's legibility. One focused on practice and the other focused on visually directed activities. The Clubs met 2 times a week for 6-8 weeks for 30-45 minutes, over a range of 12-18 sessions. The NYU students ran the group for visually directed activities and developed a protocol for them, with the help of Karen Roston.

Study: Ongoing program evaluation and development-NYU Entry-Level OT Program-Multi-Cultural Awareness as part of the new curriculum.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole

This is a follow up study in which students assessed the professional OT classes regarding their multi-cultural awareness and sensitivity. As part of NYU's OT program mission statement, a goal of the program is to educate students to prepare them to work with clients from a variety of racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds often differing from their own. Utilizing an electronic survey tool, Survey Monkey, research students selected questions that were pertinent to the topic of multi-cultural awareness and sensitivity. Surveys were administered and data collected from first year OT students. Analyses were performed for the initial phase of this ongoing program evaluation project.

Study: Behavioral-Based Feeding Questionnaire: Baseline Study of Full Term Infants from Ages 0 to 2.

Faculty Mentors: Tsu-Hsin Howe

There is a high incidence rate of feeding problems in infants with prematurity. However, there is no instrument available at the present time to help therapists learn infants' feeding history systematically from their primary care takers, in order to understand feeding problems in context. The first step to creating such an instrument is to develop a questionnaire and to establish its reliability for clinical use. In this project, students were responsible for completing a survey with 20 primary care takers, who had babies under the age of 2 with no premature history. Students had each participant complete two questionnaires: a behavioral-based feeding questionnaire and a parental stress index. Students then analyzed the results of these two questionnaires to examine: 1. the distribution of feeding problems in full term infants from 0 to 2 years old, 2. the results obtained from the parental stress index, and 3. the relationship between feeding problems and parental distress.

Study: Survey of Preferred Interests in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Faculty Mentor: Kristie Koenig

Students sent out a survey utilizing a web-based program that sought to identify how preferred or circumscribed interests (often labeled obsessions or perseverations) are used in school/work, social, leisure, and everyday activities by adults who are diagnosed with ASD. Students also analyzed the data.

Study: Comparison of Children's Participation and Enjoyment of Activities between children with ASD and typically developing children.

Faculty Mentor: Kristie Koenig

Students interviewed an age and gender matched sample of typically developing children (grades K-2), administered the CAPE/PAC questionnaire, and compared the results to those of children with ASD. Students then performed data analysis to assess differences between the two groups. Students also observed interviews of children with ASD conducted by the practicing therapists.

Study: Environmental Affordances and Attachment to Community among Wheelchair Users.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr

This project sought to describe the community features that people with disabilities consider important. Using literature concerning place attachment and community attachment, students developed research questions that enabled them to select and explore one aspect of this larger project. Students conducted interviews of participants using a script provided by Anita Perr. They investigated the transcribed transcripts for themes and details related to their research questions.
The aim of this project is to eventually identify how people with disabilities view attachment- is it accessibility, is it services, is it community activism, is it cultural resources, etc. The long term plan for this project is then to identify how an occupational therapist might be able to foster community integration by people with disabilities.

Study: Serial Effect and the Generation Effect in Multiple Sclerosis and Healthy Controls.

Mentors: Hali Wood and Yael Goverover

This study examined the interaction between the Serial Position Effect and the Generation Effect in people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. The Serial Position Effect is the tendency to remember the beginning and ending portions of a list, but to forget the middle section. There have been studies to map the cognitive profile of the Serial Position Effect in people with Alzheimer's and vascular dementia, but as of yet it has not been evaluated in the MS population. It has been hypothesized that people with cognitive impairments resulting from MS would benefit from learning with the Generation Effect. The Generation Effect is the phenomenon that information is remembered better in comparison to information that is provided or given. It was of particular interest to this research to see if the Generation Effect would play a role in amelioration of the Serial Position Effect in people with MS.
This study sought to map the cognitive profile of the Serial Position Effect in people with various levels of cognitive impairments (participants with MS and healthy controls). In this study students recruited 10 healthy participants between the ages of 18-60 and were involved in the administering of cognitive tests.

Study: An Examination of the Benefits of Combining Two Learning Strategies on Memory of Functional Information in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis and Healthy Controls.

Mentor: Yael Goverover

The Spacing Effect is a phenomenon in which one's memory and learning is improved when learning trials are distributed over time (spaced presentation) compared to consecutive learning trials (massed presentation). Self-generation is another learning strategy where individuals are asked to produce their own words or concepts to improve their learning and memory. Students sought to examine the effect of the combination of generated and spaced conditions on learning and memory in comparison to massed and spaced conditions alone. They hypothesized that the combination of those two learning strategies would yield significant results in terms of learning and memory.
For this project, students recruited five participants between the ages of 45-60. Students were also involved in the administration of cognitive tests and functional info ration related to the topic of the study.

Study: An Investigation of Different Problem Solving Skills and the Effects of Physical Symptoms on Cognitive Performance.

Mentor: Gerald Voelbel

The purpose of this project was to examine the relationship of planning and problem solving skills to a task of hypothesis testing and common physical symptom complaints that are associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The Tower of Hanoi and the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test are both considered measures of executive function. The Tower of Hanoi is a cognitive task that requires planning to solve the puzzle. The Wisconsin Card Sorting Test is a measure of hypothesis testing. The Tower of Hanoi does not require immediate feedback for each step; however, after each step during the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test the participant is given immediate feedback. It is unclear if physical complaints commonly associated with TBI moderate this relationship. This study investigated the relationship between two common clinically useful executive function tasks and how that relationship can be affected by physical complaints. This study collected data from 20 healthy adults above the age of 18.

Study: Development of a Self-Report Questionnaire of Activities of Daily Living.

Mentor: Gerald Voelbel

This project developed a questionnaire that assessed cognitive impairments that can lead to a lack of participation of activities of daily living (ADL). A recent study by Gerald Voelbel and colleagues demonstrated that in individuals with Multiple Sclerosis, poorer cognitive planning skill was related to the level of assistance needed to complete ADL, such as cooking, managing bills, and taking medications. However, the amount of effort required to assess the level of assistance needed during ADL may be decreased with the development of a questionnaire that allowed participants to self-report assistance levels. This project included performing a literature search of relevant research articles and developing a questionnaire that could assess participation and level of assistance needed during ADL.

Study: The Effectiveness of Life Review and Listening-Responding in Decreasing Depressive Symptoms in the Older Adult.

PhD Candidate mentor: Tracy Chippendale

The research question for this study was, "What are the effect(s) of life review and listening responding on depressive symptoms in the older adult?". Students were required to write a theoretical base for the study with a focus on Erik Erikson's last stage of social development. A literature review followed that examined research supporting the effectiveness of life review on decreasing depressive symptoms in older adults. The second part of the project entailed conversations with older adults to determine their interest level in a workshop on life review, as well as information on barriers to participation and incentives for participation. The data gathered will help the primary investigator recruit participants for the study.

Study: Study of Hand Size and Joint Hypermobility in Healthy Young Adults.

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman
PhD Candidate: Siaw Chui Chai

This study sought to explore the differences in hand size measurement and the incidence of joint hypermobility, primarily the elbow, hand and fingers in healthy young adults. The study involved the measurement of hand size using a ruler and the measurement of joint range of motion using a goniometer. Subjects of this study were recruited conveniently among NYU students on campus.

Study: The Role of the Occupational Therapists in Inclusive Classrooms of New York City

PhD Candidate mentor: Chiao-Ju Fang

This project focused on the roles and responsibilities of school-based occupational therapists (OTs) working in New York City public school institutions. The questions in this study were: 1) What is considered best practice in occupational therapy for inclusion in New York City? and 2) What steps do we, as staff members, need to take to get there? This project utilized interview data obtained from occupational therapists who work in inclusive classrooms in New York City, to obtain a context-rich picture of current experiences.


Fall 2008

Jane Bear-Lehman, Associate Professor and Department Chair, taught the two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (summer 2008) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (fall 2008). This sequence was comprised of guided research projects for students in addition to lectures and laboratory sessions. Below is a sampling of the group projects presented during the summer and fall of 2008 by Professional Program students.

Study: To what extent do individuals who have had total knee or total hip replacements use the adaptive equipment provided to them during their rehabilitation at The Burke Rehabilitation Hospital?

Faculty Mentors: Sally Poole
Clinical Mentor: Serena Berger (Burke)
Students: Friedman, Daniella;  Miller, Melissa Jennifer;  Rabinovich, Asya

Patients at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital, White Plains, New York are given a package of adaptive equipment to facilitate their adherence to safety precautions during the post-operative period following knee or hip joint replacement surgery.  This study sought to determine the cost-effectiveness of providing adaptive equipment to hip arthroplasty patients.  The therapists at Burke have collected data about both the kind of equipment issued and also about how this equipment is used by patients at home. Thus, students at NYU performed data analysis using SPSS in order to learn which pieces of equipment were used more often than others, and whether factors such as age, gender or body traits were relevant to the use of the equipment. 

Study: Ongoing Program Evaluation and Development: NYU Entry-Level OT Program - Perceptions of Older Adults.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
Students: Fried, Elisheva; Klein, Sarit; Moskowitz, Elisheva; Muller, Erica

Students assessed how the entering professional OT class perceived older adults.  A survey was developed by selecting questions (from an established AOTA survey) pertaining to attitudes towards working with older adults and beliefs about older adults. The survey was administered using the electronic survey tool Zoomergang, data was collected, and analyses were performed as part of this initial phase of the ongoing program evaluation project.

Study: To what extent are hand strength outcome scores influenced by knowing what the score is while engaged in voluntary isometric contraction against the instrument?

Faculty Mentors: Jane Bear-Lehman
PhD Candidate: Gwen Weinstock
Students: Elbogen, Risa;  Reisman-Rothberger, Cheryl;  Weinstein, Chana; Schoenfeld, Rachelle

This study explored the impact of visual feedback on grip strength scores.   The hand-held Jamar dynamometer is commonly used to assess hand strength.  This hand-held tool is designed such that the outcome score cannot be visually seen while the test is underway.  Alternatively, the Jamar hand-held pinch meter allows for the host to see how the gauge advances during the voluntary squeezing effort.  The study sought to investigate to what extent scores are higher when the host can monitor the gauge compared to when the gauge cannot be monitored.  Two testing scenarios were set up: one that allowed for feedback during the test administration, and one that did not allow feedback during testing.  

Study: What is an effective way to measure thumb opposition?

Faculty Mentor:  Jane Bear-Lehman
Clinical Doctoral Student: Pamela Lawton
Students: Braham, Susan; Carbo, Janelle

The traditional method of using a ruler to measure the completion of thumb opposition is the primary method that therapists rely on to document and chart the progress of those who have impaired movement at the CMC joint.  A new tool has been designed and marketed for the measurement of thumb opposition.  This study looked at the utility of this new tool in a sample of normal adult women and a sample of women who have experienced injuries affecting their CMC joints and are undergoing treatment in NYC. 

Study: The influence of Homework and Home Treatment Programs on Family Life.

Faculty Mentor:  Jim Hinojosa
Students: Eckert, Danielle; Fiumara, Emily; Young, Jessica; Welch, Paula

This study sought to describe and understand the experiences and perceptions of parents and their children about engaging in homework/home treatment.  Homework is an activity that most school-age children are expected to participate in and for children with disabilities this may include a home treatment program.  Homework is also a common activity in which parent-child friction occurs.   The focus of this study was how homework and/ or home treatment programs are experienced and perceived by parents and siblings and how it influences family life.  To gain this knowledge, families with children between the ages of 8-11 were interviewed about their homework or home treatment experiences.

Study: An Efficacy Study of Handwriting Interventions for School-Aged Children, Grades 1-2.

Faculty Mentor: Jim Hinojosa
Clinical Doctoral Student: Karen Roston
Students: Duncan, Celeste; Greenberg, Lauren; Lewin, Rebecca; Strand, Vanessa

Handwriting is the principal reason in school-based settings for referral to occupational therapists.  In this research project, students assessed the efficacy of two treatment approaches: an intervention focused on practice and an intervention focused on visually directed activities.  In order to compare the two interventions, two Handwriting Clubs were established for improvement of children's legibility.  Standardized handwriting assessments were administered by the researchers and the data was analyzed.

Study: Ongoing Program Evaluation and Development: NYU Entry-Level OT Program - Multi-Cultural Awareness as Part of the New Curriculum.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
Students: Abrams, Dena; Olshanitsky, Russell; Rivera, Odalis Gladys; Kado, Masayo

One goal of the OT program at NYU is to educate students to prepare them to work with clients from a variety of racial, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds.  This study assessed the professional OT class' multi-cultural awareness and sensitivity.  Questions pertinent to the topic were selected from an established AOTA survey and presented using the electronic survey, Zoomerang. Surveys were administered and data collected from first year OT students. Analyses were performed for this initial phase of the ongoing program evaluation project.

Study: What are the inter-rater and intra-rater reliabilities of the "Posture and Fine Motor Assessment of Infants"?

Faculty Mentor: Tsu-Hsin Howe
PhD Doctoral Candidate: Tien-Ni Wang
Students: Lesin, Rachel; McKenzie, Kesha; Morimoto, Sonoko; Mouldovan, Talia; Pierozzi, Christina

Posture and fine motor assessment of infants (PFMAI) is a clinical assessment designed to help therapists rate qualitative aspects of a child's motor response. In this project, students recruited 6 infants (between 2 and 6 months of age, or a group of 6 infants between 6 and 12 months of age) and videotaped them performing assigned tasks in a naturalistic environment. Students scored infants' performance using PFMAI and analyzed data to determine the reliability of the assessment results.

Study: Feeding Problems in Preterm Infants.

Faculty Mentor: Tsu-Hsin Howe
Students: Berkovits, Nurit; Gross, Rochelle; Rekant, Leah; Steinberg, Rachel

This interpretative literature review examined documented feeding problems associated with preterm infants. It relied on printed source material and followed a systematic review format to determine what was known in the current research.

Study: Exploratory study on infants who have feeding problems.

Faculty Mentor: Tsu-Hsin Howe
Student: Fary, Mackenzie; Khan, Razia; Lynch, Sarah; Pevsner, Janet; Rosenthal, Rachel

There is a high incidence of feeding problems in premature infants. However, there is no instrument available at the present time to help therapists learn about an infant's feeding history systematically from their primary caretakers.   This study developed a questionnaire suitable for collecting such information and established its reliability for clinical use. Students conducted interviews with care takers who have babies under age of 18 months and administered questionnaires.

Study: Study of the Face Validity of the Social Skills Measurement Checklist.

Faculty Mentor: Paula McCreedy
Students: Klein, Alexandra; Klymasz, Cristina; Tammam, Dalia; Zheng, Jennie

This study reviewed the Social Behaviors Checklist for face validity and addressed its utility for occupational therapy.  The Social Behaviors Checklist was previously developed by a student research group in an effort to explore the documentation of occupational therapists in describing children exhibiting problematic behaviors in school settings.

Study: Survey of Preferred Interests in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Faculty Mentor: Kristie Koenig
Students: Rodriguez, Alexandra; Spiegelman, Esther; Weinstein, Nicole; Zabell, David

Utilizing the web-based program, survey monkey, this study developed a survey that sought to identify how preferred or circumscribed interests have been utilized in school/work, social, leisure, and everyday activities by adults who are diagnosed with ASD.

Study: Comparison of Children's Participation and Enjoyment of Activities between Children with ASD and Typically Developing Children.

Faculty Mentor: Kristie Koenig
Students: Landau, Sherry; Mayes, Guillermo; Picazo, Frena Lynne; Turetsky, Dina

In this study, students interviewed an age- and gender-matched sample of typically developing children (grades K-2) and gave the CAPE/PAC in order to conduct a comparison with children with ASD.  Students performed data analysis to assess the differences between the two groups.

Study: The Clinician's View of Accessibility.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Ettlinger, Elisheva; Hines, Jessica; Siev, Elissa

This study sought to determine how rehabilitation clinicians address environmental accessibility with their clients. After a literature review including the definitions of environmental accessibility and an overview of the legislation that governs access in the US, students developed a survey containing questions related to environmental access, disability and activity performance.  The survey was administered to OTs, PTs and ATPs in order to gather the necessary information regarding the clinicians and the clients with whom they work.

Study: Underlying Mechanisms of Handwriting Ability in Primary School Children.

PhD Doctoral Student: Tzu-Ying Yu
Students: Reid, Caitlin; Soled, Tamar; Weinblatt, Alyssa; Zimmerman, Nora

Proficient handwriting is one of the scholastic skills that children need to acquire in order to meet the common demands of classroom work at primary school. Unfortunately, handwriting difficulties are commonly observed in children at primary schools. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors involved in a handwriting task in primary children.


2007

Jane Bear-Lehman, Associate Professor and Department Chair, taught the two-semester course sequence: E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (summer 2007) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (fall 2007). This sequence was comprised of guided research projects for students, in addition to lectures and laboratory sessions. Below is a sampling of the group projects presented during the summer and fall of 2007 by Professional Program students.

Study: Current Postoperative Management of Zone V and VI Extensor Tendon Injuries.

Faculty Mentor: Sally Poole
Student: Siaw Chui Chai

This study investigated the current postoperative management of zones V and VI extensor tendon injuries.  The information was collected from a sampling of Certified Hand Therapists from the New York metropolitan area.

Study: A Look at Occupational Therapists' Documentation of Social Skills and Social Competency among Children Exhibiting Problems with School-Related Occupations.

Faculty Mentors: Paula McCreedy and Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Lolia Halperin, Ching-I Hsu, and Rachana Rajendra Mhatre

This study analyzed the social skills and competency of children exhibiting difficulties with school-related occupations, as reflected in notes taken by occupational therapists at the SPOTS (Special Programs in Occupational Therapy Services) clinic in New York.

Study: Responsiveness of the Chinese Version of the Manual Ability Measure.

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman
Student: Chiao-Ju Fang

This study was designed to determine the validity of the Chinese version of the Manual Ability Measure (MAM) in assessing the effectiveness of hand therapy intervention.  

Study: Test-Retest Reliability and the Relationship between Self-Report and Results of the Performance Measurement of Hand Function.

Faculty Mentor:  Jane Bear-Lehman
Student: Cheng-Hao Lee

The purpose of this study was to examine the test-retest reliability of the Taiwanese version of the Manual Ability Measure (T-MAM), and to examine the relationship between the T-MAM, a self-reported questionnaire of hand ability, and the Purdue Pegboard Test, a performance-based measurement of hand dexterity.  Subjects were a sample of Taiwanese individuals receiving out-patient occupational therapy services. 

Study: Using the Minnesota Handwriting Assessment and the Handwriting Checklist to Screen Handwriting Legibility in Children Between the Ages of 5 and 8 in a Special Education Program.

Faculty Mentor:  Jim Hinojosa
Students: Colleen Shine and Shannie Easterby

The purpose of this study was to verify whether or not the Handwriting Checklist can determine the need for a full occupational therapy evaluation in special education children who have been referred to therapy due to handwriting deficits.  The Minnesota Handwriting Assessment (MHA) was used to assess the legibility of the students' handwriting and the Handwriting Checklist was used as a screening tool.

Study: The Effects of Exercise on Attention in Children with Autism.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Marla Burroughs, Rebecca Gilchrist, Julia Kogan, and Inna Vinokurov

This study examined the relevant literature in order to investigate the development of knowledge regarding the impact of exercise on attention.

Study: Evaluating Memory and the Learning of Functional Tasks: Spaced, Massed and Spaced Self- Generated Conditions among Healthy Controls and Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.

Faculty Mentor: Yael Goverover
Students: Rebecca Kannapell, Cristina Septien, Maia Watkins, and Alla Zlotnikov

This study examined whether using a combination of self-generated strategy with special learning trials would improve functional information learning in persons with Multiple Sclerosis.

Study: An Examination of the Benefits of Applying the Combined Generation and Spacing Effect in Healthy Candidates and Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.

Faculty Mentor: Yael Goverover
Students: Tracey Bates, Michelle Cerbone, and Gloria Juarez

This study sought to identify the effect of spaced-generated learning conditions on memory and recall in healthy individuals and individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.

Study: An Interdisciplinary Approach: The Use of Video Tracking Systems in Pediatric Occupational Therapy.

Faculty Mentor: Anita Perr
Students: Alison Goldberg, Nicole Harden, and Lane Soden

This literature review established the therapeutic value of virtual reality in pediatric occupational therapy.

Study: Using the Handwriting Checklist to Determine the Influence of Gender on Pencil Grasp Development in First and Second Grade Children.

Faculty Mentor: Jim Hinojosa
Students: Carly Jacobson, Ilana Dubin, Carianne Kent, and Esther Kahan

This study used the Handwriting Checklist to determine the influence of gender on the grasp patterns of first and second grade children.

Study: The Influence of Gender on Grasp Development in First and Second Grade Children.

Faculty Mentor: Jim Hinojosa
Students: Lauren Brukner, Adina Friedman, Liron Sherer, and Leah Weiss

This study sought to determine the influence of gender on the grasp patterns of first and second grade children.

Study: A Quantitative Analysis of Organizational Culture among 2nd Year New York University Occupational Therapy Students.

Faculty Mentor: Francine Seruya
Students: Rachel Fishman, Laura Kevlin, Sara Rogers,and Jennifer Shedlock

The purpose of this exploratory study was to determine the organizational culture of current OT students by quantitative measurement.

Study: Assessing the Reliability and Validity of the Durometer.

Faculty Mentors: Anita Simons and Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Megan Gotlieb, Chaim Lapp, and Rebecca Rosenblum

This study examined the validity and reliability of the durometer tool for the effective measurement of scar pliability.

Study: Ongoing Program Evaluation and Development: New York University Entry-Level Occupational Therapy Program - Perceptions of Older Adults.

Faculty Mentors: Karen Buckley and Sally Poole
Students: Bridget Burke, Shannon Hearty, Yuko Ichihara, and Jennifer Vasquez

Students assessed the entering professional OT class's perceptions of older adults. Surveys were administered and data was collected from the entering and on-going classes.

Study: Accreditation, Program Evaluation, and Curriculum Development: The Effectiveness of New York University's Professional Program in Occupational Therapy.

Faculty Mentor: Karen Buckley
Students: Sarah Bowen, Wendy Lee, and Jennifer Lista

This project obtained the perceptions of recent graduates regarding the curriculum's effectiveness in preparing them for employment as occupational therapists.

Study: NYU Student Feedback: Academic Preparation for Clinical Fieldwork Success and a Review of the SEFWE Form.

Faculty Mentors: Paula McCreedy and Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Kelly Lynn Baitinger, Janelle Bullen, Chane Moser, and SmitaPrakash

The purpose of this study was to review and evaluate current NYU occupational therapy student feedback regarding their academic preparation for fieldwork, as reported on the Student Evaluation of Fieldwork Experience (SEFWE) from. In addition, researchers also reviewed and evaluated the usefulness and efficiency of the SEFWE form in communicating that information.

Study: Inherent Personal Influences that Contribute to a Traumatic Hand Injury.

Faculty Mentors: Sally Poole and Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Aliza Brand, Karen Rabinowicz, and Sarah Sandhaus

The purpose of this study was to explore the personal characteristics that contribute to traumatic hand injuries.

Study: To What Extent Do Individuals Who Have Undergone Hip Surgery Use the Adaptive Equipment Provided to Them During Rehabilitation Therapy?

Faculty Mentor: Sally Poole
Students: Keiva Anderson, Umair Farooq, and Danison Suveeharan

This study sought to determine the cost-effectiveness of providing adaptive equipment to hip arthroplasty patients at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains, New York.

Study: Grip Strength Testing - Does Visual Feedback Impact Scores?

Faculty Mentor: Jane Bear-Lehman
Students: Margaret Burdo, Jennifer Eisenberg and Laura Vasquez

This study explored the impact of visual feedback on grip strength scores.


Fall 2006

Taught by Associate Professor and Department Chair Jane Bear-Lehman, the two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design (summer 2006) and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research (fall 2006), comprises guided research projects for students, in addition to lectures and laboratory. Below is a sampling of the group projects presented on December 6th and 8th, 2006, by Professional Program students upon completion of the sequence.

Study: From Classroom to Clinic: Does NYU's Professional Program in Occupational Therapy Prepare Students for Level II Fieldwork?

Faculty Members: Karen Buckley, M.A., OT/L, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Heather Anderson, Melissa Kong, Lauren Selsky, and Christina Szermer

Program evaluation is a valuable tool for reviewing and assessing the effectiveness of an educational program. In this study, an online survey given to students in NYU's Professional Program in Occupational Therapy was used to determine the extent to which they felt the curriculum effectively prepared them for Level II fieldwork.

Study: Normative Measurements of Arm Girth: A Comparison of Dominant and Non-Dominant Upper Extremities

Faculty Member: Sally Poole, M.A., OT, CHT, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Ruth Oppenheimer, Diane Liebman, Ruth Metzger, and Angela Bussolini

This study aimed to establish standardized data regarding normal adults' dominant and non-dominant arm girths. The goal and primary purpose of the study is to aid clinicians looking for an accurate baseline in the treatment of an edematous upper extremity.

Study: Hip Arthroplasty and Assistive Devices at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital

Faculty Members: Sally Poole, M.A., OT, CHT, Clinical Assistant Professor
Project Advisor: Serena Berger, M.A., OTR, Burke Rehabilitation Hospital in White Plains
Students: Rachel Goldberg, Janet Krzemienski, Byron Miller, and Sarah Siegel

The authors of this study created a survey to gather qualitative and quantitative information regarding patients' use of assistive devices after undergoing a hip arthroplasty. An additional questionnaire was later given to both patients and occupational therapists at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital to determine the face validity of the original survey.

Study: Multicultural Sensitivity in First Year NYU Occupational Therapy Students

Faculty Member: Karen Buckley, M.A., OT/L, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Elaine Chang, Shannon DeMoss, and Vivian Shapiro

Based on the belief that occupational therapy students need to be prepared for work with individuals who have different values, beliefs, and behaviors than those of their own, this study was conducted to examine multicultural awareness. The study explored how multiculturalism is taught to students in occupational therapy and what the perceived level of multicultural sensitivity is for first year occupational therapy students at NYU. Results of the study may be used to influence curriculum or course changes.

Study: Measuring Scar Tissue Post-Carpal Tunnel Release

Faculty Member: Jane Bear-Lehman, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA, Associate Professor
Project Advisor: Anita Simons, M.A., OTR, CHT
Students: Yakima Brown, Christen Garcia, Tamara Ricaforte, and Sunny Tsang

This exploratory study looked at the use of the Durameter in measuring scar tissue density over a four-week period post-carpal tunnel release while the subjects participated in occupational therapy treatment.

Study: Barriers Contributing to the Use of Services Provided by the Adaptive Design Association

Faculty Member: Anita Perr, M.A., OT, ATP, FAOTA, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Nina Britz, Jeannine Fletcher, Susanne Griffin, and Lauren Rosenbaum

This descriptive, retrospective study investigated whether participants used the skills they had learned in the Adaptive Design Association, Inc. (ADA) programs. This group of students analyzed data from surveys collected by the ADA. The study was requested by the ADA to determine the effectiveness of their work and to plan changes for their training programs.

Study: Does Transitional Pencil Grasp Affect Legibility in First Graders?

Faculty Members: Jim Hinojosa, Ph.D., OT, FAOTA, Professor and Chair
Project Advisor: Karen Roston, Ph.D., OTR
Students: Erin Gregg, Christine Kozlik, Donna Riggio, and Kadiya Romeo

As part of a larger study related to handwriting legibility, students administered the Minnesota Test of Handwriting to determine how pencil grasp, particularly transitional pencil grasp, affects handwriting accuracy. First graders from a public school in New York City participated in this research study.

Study: Boredom: The Evasive Feeling

Project Advisor: Antonietta Corvinelli, M.A., OTR
Students: Shannon Kraus and Erin Nastro

The purpose of the study was to qualitatively research and seek to understand the experience of boredom in typically developing adults. The participants in the study were interviewed twice using a boredom protocol created by the advisor to generate themes using constant comparison analysis.

Study: Functional Application of the Spacing Effect

Faculty Members: Yael Goverover, Ph.D., OT, Assistant Professor
Students: Patricia Campbell, Linda Huang, Sarah Matthews, and Annsley Miller

This study examined "spacing effect," the phenomena of an individual's learning and memory improving when trials are distributed over time ("spaced presentation") compared to consecutive learning trials ("massed presentation"). The spacing effect was studied in two functional tasks (paragraph learning and map route learning) in healthy adults.

Study: Adolescent/Adult Sensory Profile: Sensory Avoiding Behaviors Related to Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder

Faculty Member: Dr. Mary Donohue, Clinical Professor (retired)
Project Advisor: Fran Babiss, Ph.D., OTR, South Oaks Hospital in Amityville, NY
Students: Kathryn Magill, Brandon Morris, and Kirsten Seacor

The focus of this study was to determine if individuals who meet the DSM-IV criteria for bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder were more predisposed to having sensory avoidant behaviors as well. Understanding these variations in sensory processing patterns could prove essential in determining appropriate interventions for individuals with emotional disorders.

Study: Social Skills and Sensory Regulation in Five- to Seven-Year-Old Boys: An Exploratory Study

Faculty Member: Jane Bear-Lehman, Ph.D., OTR, FAOTA, Associate Professor
Students: Rebecca Berg, Ronni Armellino, Lauren Cardoni, and Shannon Mistretta

From the conception of sensory integration theory, anecdotal observations of sensory regulation dysfunction existing concomitantly with social skills dysfunction have pervaded the literature. This study reviewed evaluation reports in boys identified with sensory regulatory behavior in relationship to behaviors derived from the Social Skills Rating System.

Study: Behavioral Indicators Associated with ADHD and Taste Sensitivity: An Exploratory Study

Faculty Member: Paula McCreedy, M.Ed., OTR/L, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Amy Albenda, Abby Futterman, Marisa Gruber, and Alyssa Wanamaker

The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate whether children displaying indicators of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are more likely to demonstrate oral-motor and taste sensitivities. If early detectors of ADHD are established, they can be used as red flags to facilitate in the diagnosis of ADHD.

Study: Social Identity Among Pediatric Occupational Therapists: An Exploration of Organizational and Professional Commitment

Project Advisor: Francine Seruya, M.A., OTR
Students: Elissa Pinter, Rachel Rauch, Rachel Waltuch, and Deena Weinstein

The social context of a particular work setting plays a significant role in establishing a therapist's degree of social identity as an individual. With a strong sense of social identity, an individual can experience an increase in the development of their organizational commitment, professional commitment, and job satisfaction. This study compared the job satisfaction of occupational therapists in school and non-school based settings.


Fall 2005

The two-semester course sequence, E40.2724 Occupational Therapy Research: Project Design, taught during the summer of 2005, and E40.2725 Occupational Therapy Research, taught in the fall of 2005 by Associate Professor Jane Bear-Lehman, comprises guided research projects for students, in addition to lectures and laboratory. Below is a sampling of the group projects presented on December 6th & 8th, 2005, by Professional Program in Occupational Therapy students upon completion of the sequence.

Study: Perceptions of Older Adults

Faculty Members: Karen Buckley, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Geralin Kulpecz, Lauren Landy, Michelle Sanchez

Analysis of NYU occupational therapy students' attitudes toward older adults, for on-going program evaluation and development.

Study: Is There a Difference in Arm Girth when Comparing the Dominant and Non-dominant Arm?

Faculty Members: Sally Poole, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Eileen Carroll, Kristen Ryan, Jody Sabel, Lily Seigel

Currently, there is no normative data that provides baseline measurements comparing the dominant and non-dominant arm for limb size. This information will be useful clinically when setting goals for individuals who experience a change in limb size due to edema orlymphadema.

Study: Patient Use of Adaptive Equipment After Discharge

Faculty Members: Sally Poole, Clinical Assistant Professor
Project Advisor: Serena Berger, M.A., OTR
Students: Jennifer DiCaro, Pepie Lapsatis, Michelle Seruya, Kelly Szczerba

Total knee and total hip replacement patients were surveyed on their use of adaptive equipment (either provided to them or available for purchase) following discharge from Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, NY. Our research sought to identify trends and usage patterns among people of varying demographic characteristics, such as age, gender, diagnosis, and body mass index.

Study: Multi-Cultural Awareness of First and Second and Third Year Occupational Therapy Students at New York University

Faculty Members: Karen Buckley, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Irene Dionisio, Stephanie Freudenberger, Kellee Ng, Tara Pena

Based on the belief that occupational therapy students need to be prepared to work with individuals who have different values, beliefs, and behaviors than those of their own, we conducted a study to take a first look about our own cultural attitudes and self-awareness. Results of the study may be used to influence curriculum or course change.

Study: Is There an Objective Measurement Tool that Can Measure Scar Tissue Density?

Project Advisor: Anita Simons, M.A., OTR, CHT
Students: Amy Benjamin, Christy Freja, Sonya Jagtiani, Jihee Chung

The purpose of this pilot study was to survey the current measurement tools available to evaluate scars and whether or not the Durometer is the most objective tool for clinical use.

Study: Parents' Satisfaction with their Children's Assistive Technology Devices and Services Provided by Adaptive Design Association

Faculty Members: Anita Perr, Clinical Assistant Professor
Students: Diana Alberti, Mary Holahan, Andrea Johnston, Ruth Siebers

Over the phone, 12 parents completed the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology, version 2.0 (QUEST) regarding their child's assistive technology device and services provided by the Adaptive Design Association (ADA). The ADA is a non-profit organization aimed at providing practical, affordable, and custom-fabricated equipment for children with disabilities. Results showed that the parents were generally quite satisfied with the individual factors of devices and services offered by ADA. Weight was the highest-rated device factor; therefore, the light-weight cardboard used to construct ADA's devices is obviously a strong design feature. A majority of the participants did not receive follow-up services, pointing to a possible area for improvement in ADA's services. Further research is recommended to better understand the effectiveness of ADA's devices and services.

Study: Handwriting: Relationship Between Accuracy and Wrist Position in First and Second Graders

Faculty Members: Dr. Jim Hinojosa, Professor
Project Advisor: Karen Roston, OTR
Students: Sarah Folland, Allyson Lipton, Patricia Morris, Adina Rogers

Legible handwriting is an essential ingredient for success in school. This study uses the Minnesota Test of Handwriting to determine how wrist position affects the accuracy of handwriting. Fifty-six 1st and 2nd graders from a public school in New York City participated in this research study.

Study: Parental Homework Involvement in Gay and Lesbian Family Structures

Faculty Members: Dr. Jim Hinojosa, Professor
Students: Claire Devine, Megan McCartney, Laura Staton, Tara Whyte

This exploratory study examined the amount of time parents spend helping their children with homework. Specifically, the amount of time spent in homework activities by gay/lesbian and "heteronormal" family structures were of interest.

Study: Impact of the Spacing Effect on Learning and Memory

Faculty Members: Dr. Yael Goverover, Assistant Professor
Students: Jamie Errickson, Lisa Jager, Amy Lichtenstein

This study examined "spacing effect," the phenomena that an individual's learning and memory improves when trials are distributed over time ("spaced presentation") compared to consecutive learning trials ("massed presentation"). The spacing effect was studied in two functional tasks, paragraph learning and map route learning.

Study: Parasuicidal Behaviors as Measured by the Adult Sensory Profile: A Pilot Study

Faculty Members: Dr. Mary Donohue, Clinical Professor
Project Advisor: Fran Babiss, PhD, OTR
Students: Kristine Beacham, Natalie Burkley, Natasha Burt, Tierney Frawley

"Parasuicide" refers to the nonfatal, self-injurious behaviors often exhibited by individuals who meet the DSM-IV criteria for BPD. The focus of this study is that of self-mutilation. The purpose of the study is to find if there is a link between sensory processing and self-mutilation, with the ultimate goal of incorporating sensory integration into treatment.

Study: Attitudes of Students towards Spirituaity in Occupational Therapy Curriculum and Future Practice

Faculty Members: Dr. Mary Donohue, Clinical Professor
Students: Susanna Chan, Katharyn Krokey, Brian Mims, Ellen Quan

Building upon a 2001 study by Collins, Paul and West-Frasier entitled, "Utilization of Spirituality in Occupational Therapy: Beliefs, Practices, and Perceived Barriers," and a study by Taylor, Mitchell, Kenan and Tacker (2000), an interactive survey using the Zoomerang program was carried out examining attitudes of students regarding spirituality in the curriculum at NYU's Department of Occupational Therapy. Perspectives on definitions of spirituality, its place in the domain and practice of occupational therapy, and barriers in addressing spirituality in occupational therapy were studied and can be further researched in the future.

Study: Qualitative Inquiry Regarding Therapists' Perception of Barriers Impeding Returning Veterans' Readjustment to Life Roles

Faculty Members: Dr. Mary Donohue, Clinical Professor
Students: Jennifer Castellano, Joselyn Goldstein, Arlene Labeste

Our qualitative study looked at the services provided to veterans that help with their readjustment to previous life roles, especially the role of worker. We interviewed three therapists (1 Army OT, 2 Readjustment Counselors) who have worked with veterans for at least five years to discuss veterans' experiences upon return, including common emotions felt, vocational problems, and barriers to receiving and/or seeking readjustment services.