The Department of Occupational Therapy at NYU Steinhardt offers our sincere congratulations to Dr. Sandra Duarte (OTD ’22), the inaugural winner of the Jim Hinojosa Doctoral Award. Duarte, a Colombian native who has been in the field of Occupational Therapy for nearly 15 years, is dedicated to addressing cultural and financial inequalities to better serve children and families in the OT field.
It is a great privilege to have been selected to be the recipient of the inaugural Jim Hinojosa Doctoral Award. Learning and advancing my skillset have been very important to me, and this award gave me the push I needed to complete my OTD and continue to grow professionally. As the first generation in my family to obtain a doctoral degree, it will forever have a great impact in my life and those around me.
Dr. Duarte has been practicing as a school-based occupational therapist for the New York City Department of Education since 2013. She also holds long-term roles in Achieve Beyond and Therapeutic Resources, two New York-based organizations providing pediatric therapy services to children.
Early in her career, Dr. Duarte developed a strong interest in international and community work. She has been a volunteer with the Medical Mission Ecuador for the last nine years and has been involved in multiple projects in both Colombia and Ecuador. Dr. Duarte is currently working on the creation of the non-profit organization Missions for Love Beyond Borders, which looks to generate access to OT through coaching services for families of individuals with disabilities living in underserved communities using telehealth approaches.
“Besides acquiring the tools needed to become a culturally responsive clinician at Steinhardt, I have also learned to use research to inform my decisions in developing low-cost assistive technology and solutions to support individuals with disabilities using a culturally sensitive lens,” says Duarte. “My goal is to continue promoting cultural responsiveness within the occupational therapy practice when mentoring and supporting occupational therapy students and other clinicians.”
In addition to earning her OTD from Steinhardt this spring, Dr. Duarte is also a Board-Certified Telehealth Specialist (BCTS) and a certified yoga teacher for both children and adults. Some of Dr. Duarte’s latest accomplishments include participating in a Startup Sprint through the NYU LESLIE eLAB in 2019 and winning the COTAD Excellence in Mentorship Award in 2020, granted by the Coalition of Occupational Therapy Advocates for Diversity.