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Nana Serwaa Akrofi, OTD

Nana Serwaa Akrofi

Nana Serwaa Akrofi, OTD,  is a Ph.D. student in the Occupational Therapy Department at NYU Steinhart. She has a Post Professional Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) and a Post Professional Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. She received her Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Ghana.

At NYU, Nana Serwaa is mentored by Dr. Janet Njelesani. Nana Serwaa’s research focuses on developing culturally attuned occupational therapy interventions for historically marginalized and under-resourced disability populations. For her OTD studies, her work examined barriers and facilitators to the diagnostic odyssey of autistic children in the Greater Accra region of Ghana.

As an occupational therapist, Nana Serwaa worked with Ghanaian children with disabilities in school, hospital, home health, and community rehabilitation settings. She is certified in implementing Ayres Sensory Integration and is licensed to practice as an occupational therapist in New York, California, and Ghana. She is currently the Newsletter Editor for the Occupational Therapy Africa Regional Group.


Angell, A. M., Carreon, E. D., Akrofi, J. N., Franklin, M. D., Taylor, E. E., Miller, J., ... & Maher, S. O. (2023). Challenges and facilitators to telehealth occupational therapy for autistic children during COVID-19. OTJR: Occupational Therapy Journal of Research.

Akrofi, J., Angell, A. M., Gyamfi, B., & Bodison, S. (2023). Exploring Coloniality in Occupation-Based Education: Perspectives of Ghanaian Occupational TherapistsJournal of Occupational Therapy Education, 7 (4).

Akrofi JNS, Brew YN, Carreon ED, Cornelius IY, Angell AM. Exploring the autism diagnostic odyssey in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana. South African Journal of Occupational Therapy. Vol 53 No 3. December 2023.

Amanda Gahlot, MS, OTR/L, BCPR

Amanda Gahlot

Amanda Gahlot received a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences and a master’s in Occupational Therapy both from Gannon University in Erie, PA. Prior to beginning the PhD in Occupational Therapy program in 2020, she worked as a clinical therapist at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC with a clinical focus on brain injury recovery. She was also taught as adjunct faculty at Trinity Washington University in Washington, DC.

Amanda is mentored by Dr. Yael Goverover and at NYU will have the opportunity to focus on improving upper extremity function after brain injury, specifically understanding the cognitive and perceptual factors that impact motor recovery. In her free time, Amanda enjoys walking and cycling around New York and traveling.

Hayejin Kim, MA, OTR/L

Hayejin Kim

Hayejin Kim is a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Grace Kim. Her research interests include home-based rehabilitation for stroke survivors, telehealth and mobile health programs, and the actual use of the affected arm of stroke survivors in daily life. She is currently working on a study about stroke survivors’ attitudes towards mobile technology and upper extremity exercise programs at home.

These research interests have grown out of her clinical experience. She had an opportunity to shadow therapists using various rehabilitation programs through advanced technologies like virtual reality and robotics when working as a fieldwork intern in a medical center. She also worked as an occupational therapist specializing in adults with neurological disorders at a rehabilitation hospital.

She holds an MA in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California and a BHS in Occupational Therapy from Hanseo University in South Korea.

Yating Lei, MS, OT

OT_PhD_Yating Lei

Yating Lei is a doctoral student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt School. She holds a master's degree in Occupational Therapy from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) and a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Sichuan University in China.

Prior to beginning the PhD in Occupational Therapy program in 2021, she worked as a research assistant at PolyU and got a great opportunity to contribute to various research projects that focused on cognitive and neurological rehabilitation as well as self-regulated learning. In addition, as an occupational therapist, Yating has over three years of clinical experience focusing on the treatment of neurological disorders in adults.

Yating is mentored by Professor Gerald Voelbel. Her research interests include cognitive remediation techniques, digital health applications in rehabilitation medicine, longitudinal outcome measurements and digital biomarkers. She is also interested in executive function and working memory, as well as using of functional and structural imaging methods to identify biomarkers of cognitive deficits.


Kavitha Murthi, MS, OTR, FHEA 

Kavitha Murthi

Kavitha Murthi is pursuing her doctoral studies at NYU Steinhardt in the Department of Occupational Therapy. She works with Vice Dean Kristie Patten on a National Science Foundation (NSF) project titled “Developing Abilities and Knowledge for Careers in Design and Engineering for Students on the Autism Spectrum by Scaling Up Making Experiences.” Through this project, Kavitha intends to explore the impact of interest-driven and strength-based engineering activities on autistic students’ learning and social development. She is very interested in understanding how neurodiverse adolescents interested in engineering and designing participate in maker clubs to problem-solve using the Engineering Design Process (EDP) independently. She is also very keen to bring out authentic autistic voices through her research by involving them in the research process.

Before starting her journey at NYU, Kavitha received her master's in Occupational Therapy in the UK and completed her undergraduate studies in Occupational Therapy from the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences in India. She has experience working with a diverse population of children with developmental disabilities in both Mumbai and Edinburgh. Apart from this, she has contributed to various research projects, the most notable being the Global Co-operation on Assistive Technology with the World Health Organization through her nomination from the World Federation of Occupational Therapists in 2019.

Dora Onwumere, MS, OTR/L

Dora Onwumere

 Dora Onwumere is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Occupational Therapy at New York University Steinhardt School under the supervision of Vice Dean Dr. Kristie Patten. Dora holds a Master of Science degree in occupational therapy from New York Institute of Technology (with distinction) and a Bachelor of Science degree from Stony Brook University with a concentration in Healthcare Management. Dora has over 15 years of clinical experience, primarily in pediatrics in various settings, including private practice, early intervention, and the NYC Department of Education (DOE) ASD Nest program. In the DOE, Dora served as an ASD (ASD Nest and Horizon Programs) Senior Instructional Therapist, a role that afforded her the privilege of collaborating with occupational therapists across all five NYC boroughs and at NYU. As part of the ASD programs, Dora helped develop workshops and training for therapists and staff on inclusion and evidence-based practices for autistic students. She has co-presented several times at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). In addition to a publication in OT Practice, developing the OT Starter Guide for the Nest Program, and co-authoring the Independence Checklists and Independence Curriculum, Dora is the first practicing occupational therapist in the DOE to receive an IRB (Institutional Review Board) approval to conduct a quasi-experimental research study which was published in February 2020 in the Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention. Dora's focus and passion are in working with autistic individuals and examining intervention's efficacy using strength-based approaches and inclusive practices. She is a married mother of two adorable children and loves watching her children evolve into empathetic, kind, and loving human beings. Her mission is to serve as a shining example for her children and the children that she works with daily.

Dora is a published author: 

  • Onwumere, D.D., Cruz, Y.M., Lauren I. Harris, L.I., Malfucci, K.A., Seidman, S., Boone, C., & Patten, K. (2020) The Impact of an Independence Curriculum on Self-Determination and Function in Middle School Autistic Students. Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, DOI: 10.1080/19411243.2020.1799904 

  • Onwumere, D., Seidman, S., Harris, L., & Koenig, K. P. (2016). Developing an occupational therapy–based independence curriculum for middle school students with autism. OT Practice, 22(2), 13–17.

  • She co-authored a chapter: Cohen, S., & Hough, L. (2013) The ASD Nest Model: A Framework for Inclusive Education for Higher Functioning Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders. AAPC Publishing.

Meirav Rosenfeld, MS, OTR/L

Meirav Rosenfeld sitting on a couch in front of an abstract piece of wall decor.

Meirav is a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Yael Goverover. Meirav holds a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Tel-Aviv University (TAU) in Israel.

Meirav has diverse clinical experience as an occupational therapist across populations and settings, both in Israel and Massachusetts. Prior to joining the program at NYU in 2021, she worked with pediatric populations as well as adults with neurological conditions in an outpatient rehabilitation center. In addition, she served as a teaching assistant at the Department of Occupational Therapy at TAU.

Meirav is particularly interested in the domain of functional cognition and cognitive impairments. Through her PhD, she plans to concentrate on the development and implementation of ecological evaluations and cognitive preventive intervention plans for at-risk populations such as individuals with chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, cancer survivors), the elderly, and people who experience decline related to social circumstances. Within this context, Meirav aspires to explore opportunities to utilize technological advancements such as connected devices and telehealth platforms for research and clinical purposes. In her free time, Meirav enjoys spending time with family and friends, practicing yoga and Pilates, and cooking.

Judy Wilson, OTR

Judy Wilson

Judy Wilson is a part-time PhD student in the Research in Occupational Therapy program. She has her BS in Occupational Therapy from Tufts University and her MA in Anthropology from Hunter College. She has worked in Bellevue Hospital since 1990 and is currently the assistant director of the Occupational Therapy Department there. She is involved in projects with the Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems, including helping create the Sexuality and Intimacy After Brain Injury training program. She contributed to the “Occupational Profile” chapter to the texts The Texture of Life (2004, 2009, 2014). Her research interests include health disparities and traumatic brain injury.