New Faculty Spotlight: Amy Hurst

Amy Hurst

The Department of Occupational Therapy would like to spotlight Associate Professor Amy Hurst, who joined the NYU OT community this semester.

Hurst holds a joint appointment with the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and the Technology, Culture, and Society Department in the Tandon School of Engineering. She is also the director of NYU’s Ability Project, an interdisciplinary research space dedicated to the intersection of disability and technology.

In the Q&A below, Professor Hurst shares more about her background, expertise, and what it’s like to teach future OTs.

Can you tell me a little about your background and research interests?

My undergraduate degree is in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. In my quest to understand the impact of the technology we were learning about, I pretty quickly became interested in accessibility and assistive technology. I went on to get my master’s and PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon — most of my work then was focusing on computer access. There is a ton of accessibility software baked into personal computers, but not many people know how to actually configure it. After finishing my degree, I worked at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) for 8.5 years doing more accessibility research.

While at UMBC, you worked on a National Science Foundation-funded project involving 3D printers. What might people not know about 3D printing?

3D printing is not magic — it can be very frustrating, which is one of the main reasons that a lot of 3D printers gather dust. There is a lot of marketing selling the fanciful idea that you push a button and the machine just goes, but the reality is that there are a ton of other steps that need to happen first. And then, once the machine is actually printing, it doesn’t always work. For a lot of people who are starting out in 3D printing, that’s a surprise. But once you have individuals who can become expert operators, you can empower more people to use the printer.

How can 3D printers benefit people like clinicians and individuals receiving therapy?

One exciting area I have studied in my past work is creating 3D-printed assistive technologies that are customized to a user’s unique needs. Specifically, I’ve studied how clinicians and end-users can learn to design and print personalized grips that can go on walkers, crutches, pencils, forks, and more. One of the advantages of having these items made on a 3D printer is that therapists can reproduce models efficiently — creating a practical sustainability plan if the item gets lost or broken.

What misconceptions might folks have about the intersection of ability/disability and technology?

When designing technology for a large and diverse user group, it is important to create systems that are customizable to accommodate diverse abilities, habits, and preferences. These systems must be flexible as it is common for abilities, habits, and preferences to change (on both short and long timescales). When designing for diverse ability, it is important to remember that some users may be gaining function (in a rehabilitation context), losing function (due to a chronic illness or disability), or experiencing short-term changes in function (due to medication, fatigue, stress, or the weather). We must fully understand a target user group, their context, and experiences to design useful, accessible technology.

Can you tell me more about the NYU Ability Project and your director role?

One of the most exciting things about the Ability Project is that it really is an interdisciplinary collaboration across faculty and students in OT, Tisch, and Tandon. Getting this diverse group together to learn with and from each other is really incredible. That’s one of the things that really excited me about this opportunity at NYU.

This semester, I spent a lot of time on a project with the NYU Dentistry Oral Health Center for People with Disabilities. This is a new dental clinic specifically targeted toward folks with disabilities — which is an entirely new approach to providing dental services for individuals who cannot receive traditional care. We were focused on the waiting room experience, and specifically creating a multi-sensory room where people who are feeling some anxiety around going to the dentist can interact with soothing technology. We’ve been collaborating with folks who have expertise in autism and special education as well as those in dentistry. It’s really interdisciplinary and exciting.

What do you find is the most rewarding aspect of teaching future OT’s?

Teaching accessibility to students who have clinical experience is fantastic. It’s something I hadn’t experienced before — they’re coming into the class with hands-on, personal experience. They can share this perspective and their training with other students, which is very exciting.

NYU OT at the 2019 AOTA Conference in New Orleans

NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy students, faculty, and staff traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana for this year’s American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Annual Conference & Expo.

For the fifth year, the department hosted a booth at the conference, providing an opportunity for faculty and staff to interact with attending alumni, current students, and prospective students interested in learning more about the occupational therapy programs offered through NYU Steinhardt.

This year’s conference included many highlights:

Award Recognitions

  • AOTF Academy of Research: Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy Yael Goverover was inducted into the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) Academy of Research at this year’s AOTA conference. The honor, which is the highest conferred by the AOTF, recognizes elite scientists and scholars who are advancing knowledge in the field of occupational therapy. Read more about Goverover’s recognition and research here.
Yael Goverover posing in front of the AOTA logo.
Yael Goverover, middle, was recognized at AOTA for her contributions to the field.
  • TODOS Service Award: Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Alison Rangel received an award from TODOS (Terapia Ocupacional para Diversidad, Oportunidad y Solidaridad), a Hispanic/Latino-focused professional community of occupational therapy practitioners and students promoting diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism within the profession.

Alumni Reception and Department Honors

The department hosted its annual alumni reception to facilitate connections between former students — the event was also attended by over 30 current students.

The reception featured the broad announcement of two department honors:

  • Jim Hinojosa Distinguished Alumni Award: Dr. Gary Bedell, a two-time alumnus of the department, was awarded the third annual Jim Hinojosa Distinguished Alumni Award for the contributions he has made to the OT profession while working to benefit youth with disabilities. Click here to read a Q&A with Dr. Bedell about his work.

NYU OT Can Dance

For the 2nd year, Academic Fieldwork Coordinator Alison Rangel led a dance break encouraging conference participants to stretch, let loose, and move their bodies to the beat of salsa, merengue, and samba music.

The department’s skill on the dance floor was further solidified when students Lauren Gramatica, Jessica Si, and Daniel Yi took home the top prize in an “OTs Got Talent” dance competition. Click here for a video of their winning performance.

Faculty, Staff, and Student Participation

A large group of students at AOTA holding an NYU flag.
Members of the NYU OT community on the expo floor.

The NYU OT community presented a range of research and findings at this year’s conference.

Kristin Castle – OTD Student

  • RD 4012 – Exploring the Prevalence of Cognitive Deficits Within a Population of Individuals Post Acute Mild Stroke with additional speakers Steve Van Lew, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health; Adrienne Dicembri, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health; Megan Evangelist, MS, OTR/L, NYU Health Langone.
  • RD 7017 – Identifying Cognitive Assessments for Individuals Post-Mild-Stroke in the Acute-Care Setting: A Review of the Psychometrics and Feasibility.
  • RD 5017 – A Clinical Guideline To Promote Return to Work Post-Male-to-Female Gender Reassignment Surgery. Danielle Kearns, MS, OTR, Intensive Therapeutics, Inc and Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU.

Szu-Wei Chen – PhD Candidate

  • GP 7012 – Measuring Leisure Participation in the Adult Population: A Review and Suggestion for Developing a Better Instrument.

Chia-Yang Chiang – OTD Student

  • DD 8004 – Using Social Cognitive Career Theory to Facilitate School-to-Adulthood Transition for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with additional speaker Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU.

Patricia Gentile – Clinical Assistant Professor

  • RD 3018 – Clinical and Nonclinical Factors that Predict Discharge Disposition After a Fall: Considerations for OT in Early Discharge Planning with Melissa James, PhD, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center; R. Robitsek, PhD, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center; Syed Saghir, MD, Department of Medicine, University of Nevada; Marylin Ramos, MS, PT, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center; Frances Perez, LMSW, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center.

Yael Goverover – Associate Professor

  • Research 8020 – The Validity of the Weekly Calendar Planning Activity for People With Multiple Sclerosis. Diane Rose Allid, MA, NYU, and additional speaker Melissa Orenstein, NYU.
  • Short Course 338 – Remembering to Remember in Everyday Life: Prospective Memory as a Critical Aspect of Functional Cognition with additional speaker Erin Foster, PhD, OTD, OTR/L, Washington University.

Tsu-Hsin Howe – Associate Professor

  • RD 5017 – A Clinical Guideline To Promote Return to Work Post-Male-to-Female Gender Reassignment Surgery. Danielle Kearns, MS, OTR, Intensive Therapeutics, Inc and Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU with additional speaker Kristin Castle, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health.
  • DD 8004 – Using Social Cognitive Career Theory to Facilitate School-to-Adulthood Transition for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities with Chia-Yang Chiang, MA, OTR/L, NYC Dept. of Education.

Danielle Kearns – PhD Student

  • RD 5017 – A Clinical Guideline To Promote Return to Work Post-Male-to-Female Gender Reassignment Surgery with Tsu-Hsin Howe, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, NYU, and additional speaker Kristin Castle, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health.

Grace Kim – Assistant Professor

  • RD 1003 – Perspectives on Mobile Technology Use and Home Exercise Programs in Stroke Rehabilitation with additional speakers Stephanie Katz, NYU; Nicole MacWhirter, NYU; Hannah Cohen, NYU.

Chang Dae Lee – PhD Candidate

  • PA 1006 – The Necessities of Postoperative Delirium Prevention as a Standard Practice in OT Acute-Care Intervention.

Janet Njelesani – Assistant Professor

  • Research 5010 – OTs’ Roles in Addressing Bullying Against Students With Disabilities with additional authors Beth Schweitzer OTR/L, NYU; Aisha Faulkner OTR/L, NYU; Hayden Jeon OTR/L, NYU.

Alison Rangel – Academic Fieldwork Coordinator and OTD Student

  • Institute 007 – (AOTA) Becoming an Academic Fieldwork Coordinator. Jaynee Taguchi Meyer, OTD, OTR/L, University of Southern California and Jamie Geraci, OTR/L, Occupational Therapy Education Consultants with additional speakers Jeanette Koski, OTD, OTR/L, University of Utah; Rebecca Ozelie, DHS, OTR/L, Rush University.

Mary Shea – Adjunct Faculty

  • Workshop 208 – Effective OT Services in ALS Care and Disease Progression. Amber Ward, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, BCPR, ATP/SMS, Carolinas Neuromuscular ALS/MDA Center, Atrium Health and additional speakers Cathy Carver, PT, ATP/SMS, UAB/Spain Rehabilitation Center.

Brocha Stern – PhD Candidate

  • RD 1004 – Pain in the Hand . . . or Head? A Mindset Shift for Pain Assessment and Intervention in Hand Therapy with additional speakers Hannah Gift, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, SSM Health Physical Therapy – Select Medical Rehabilitation.
  • RD 2024 – The Dangers of Specialization: Appreciating the Interdependence of Body Systems in Upper Extremity Health with additional speakers: Hannah Gift, MOT, OTR/L, CHT, SSM Health Physical Therapy – Select Medical Rehabilitation.
  • RD 3002 – A Conceptual Framework of Self-Management After Acute Musculoskeletal Hand Injury.
  • Research 2018 – “I Don’t Have a Magic Wand”: The Why and How of Patient Education in Outpatient Physical Rehabilitation. Abigail Brody, NYU with authors Promita Banik, NYU; Alisa Doshi, NYU; Prema Khan, NYU; Joy Sarraf, NYU, and additional speakers Emma Gentile, NYU; Emma Hecht, NYU; Kathryn Pelech, NYU.

Margaret Waskiewicz –  OTD Student

  • RD 1008 – It Takes Two: An Evidence-Based Approach to Incorporating Task-Oriented Training With Bilateral Arm Training for Motor Relearning. Samantha Levine, MS, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health-Rusk Rehabilitation.
  • Short Course 138 – Road Map to Evidence-Based Practice (EBP): Practical Application of Vision 2025 in an Outpatient Neuro Rehabilitation Setting. Claribell Bayona, OTD, OTR/L, CSRS, NYU Langone Health with additional speaker Nandita Singh, MPH, OTR/L, NYU Langone Health.

Faculty Achievements: Grants and Publications Fall 2018 – Spring 2019

Patricia Gentile – Clinical Assistant Professor

  • Youngstown, M. J. & Gentile, P.A. (2019). Supervision. In B.Schell & G. Gillen (Eds.) Williard and Spackman’s Occupational Therapy (13th Ed.) Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Yael Goverover – Associate Professor

  • Goverover, Y., Toglia, J., & Deluca, J. (2019). The weekly calendar planning activity in multiple sclerosis : A top-down assessment of executive functions. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 0(0), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1080/09602011.2019.1584573.
  • Goverover, Y., Genova, H. M., Smith, A., Lengenfelder, J., & Chiaravalloti, C. D. (2018). Changes in Activity Participation Following Multiple Sclerosis. International Journal of MS Care.
  • Saleh, S., Sandroff, M. B., Vitiello, T., Owoeye, O., Hoxha, A., Hake, P., Goverover, Y., Wylie, G. R., Yue, G. H., & DeLuca, J. (2018). The Role of Premotor Areas in Dual Tasking in Healthy Controls and Persons with Multiple Sclerosis: An fNIRS imaging study. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 12, 1-11.
  • Kalb, R., Beier, M., Benedict, R.H.B., Charvet, L., Costello, K., Feinstein, A., Gingold, .J, Goverover, Y., Halper, J., Harris, C., Kostich, L., Krupp, L., Lathi, E., LaRocca, N., Thrower, B., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Recommendations for Cognitive Screening and Management in Multiple Sclerosis Care. Multiple Sclerosis.
  • Chiaravalloti, N. D., Goverover, Y., Costa, S. L., & DeLuca, J. (2018). A Pilot Study Examining Speed of Processing Training (SPT) to Improve Processing Speed in persons with Multiple Sclerosis. Frontiers in Neurology, 9,685. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2018.00685 (Manuscript ID: 389748).
  • Stern, B., & Goverover, Y. (2018). An occupational perspective of everyday technology use for men with multiple sclerosis. The British Journal of Occupational Therapy. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308022618777985.
  • Akbar, N., Sandroff, B., Wylie, G., Strober, L.B., Smith, A., Goverover, Y., Motl, R.W., DeLuca, J., & Genova, H. (2018). Progressive resistance exercise training and changes in resting-state functional connectivity of the caudate in persons with multiple sclerosis and severe fatigue: A proof-of-concept study. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation. doi: 10.1080/09602011.2018.1449758. PMID: 29618280.
  • Stern, B. Z., Strober, L., DeLuca, J., & Goverover, Y. (2018). Subjective well-being differs with age in multiple sclerosis: A brief report. Rehabilitation Psychology, 63(3), 474-478. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/rep0000220 PMID: 30113202.
  • Goverover, Y., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Assessing everyday life functional activity using actual reality in persons with MS. Rehabilitation Psychology. 63(2), 276-285. doi: 10.1037/rep0000212. PubMed PMID: 29878832.
  • Goverover, Y., Sandroff, B., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Dual-task of fine motor skill and problem-solving in individuals with multiple sclerosis: A pilot study.  Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 99(4):635-640. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2017.10.012. PMID: 29108966.
  • Goverover Y., Chiaravalloti, N., O’Brien, A., & DeLuca, J. (2018). Evidenced based cognitive rehabilitation for persons with multiple sclerosis: An updated review of the literature from 2007-2016. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, 99(2), 390-407. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2017.07.021. PMID:28958607.
  • Costa, S. L., DeLuca, J., Sandroff, B. M., Goverover, Y., & Chiaravalloti, N. D. (2018).The role of demographic and clinical factors in cognitive functioning of persons with relapsing-remitting and progressive multiple sclerosis. Journal of International Neuropsychology Society, 24(2), 139-146. doi: 10.1017/S1355617717000777. PMID: 28830576.
  • Kalina, J., Hinojosa, J., Strober, L., Bacon, J., Donnelly, S., & Goverover, Y. (2018). A randomized controlled trial to improve self-efficacy in persons with Multiple Sclerosis: The Community Reintegration for Socially Isolated Patients (CRISP) program. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 72, 7205205030p1-7205205030p8. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2018.026864.

Tsu-Hsin Howe – Associate Professor

  • Howe, T.-H., Hinojosa, J., & Sheu, C.-F., A qualitative study of Latino-American mothers’ perspectives on feeding their young children (2019). American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
  • Howe, T.-H., Sheu, C.-F., & Wang, T.-N. (2019). Feeding pattern and parental perception of feeding issues of preterm infants in the first 2 years of life. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 73, 7302205030. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2019.029397.
  • Kramer, P., Hinojosa, J. & Howe, T.-H. (2019). Frames of Reference for Pediatric Occupational Therapy. 4th Editions. Baltimore, MD: Wolters Kluwer.
  • Howe, T.-H. (2018). Oromotor Therapy. In J. Ongkasuwan & E. C. Chiou (Eds), Pediatric Dysphagia: Challenges and Controversies (pp. 119-134). New York, NY: Springer.

Amy Hurst – Associate Professor

  • Hamidi, F., Kumar, S., Dorfman, M., Ojo, F., Kottapalli, M., & Hurst, A. (2019). SenseBox: A DIY Prototyping Platform to Create Audio Interfaces for Therapy. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction (TEI ’19). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 25-34. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/3294109.3295633.
  • Kearney-Volpe, C., Holloway S., & Hurst, A. (2019). Entertainment for All: Understanding Media Streaming Accessibility. Proceedings of CHI ’19 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA ’19). (To Appear).
  • Kearney-Volpe, C., Hurst, A., & Fitzgerald, S. (2019). Blind Web Development Training at Oysters and Pearls Technology Camp in Uganda. Proceedings of Proceedings of the 16th Web for all Conference. (W4A ’19). (To Appear).

Kristie Patten Koenig – Department Chair and Associate Professor

  • Patten Koenig, K. (2019). A strength based frame of reference for autistic individuals. In P. Kramer, J. Hinojosa & T. Howe (Eds.). Frames of reference for pediatric occupational therapy (4th edition).
  • Patten Koenig, K. & Shore, S. (2018). Self-determination and a shift to a strengths based model. In R. Watling & S. Spitzer (Eds.), Autism: A  Comprehensive Occupational Therapy Approach, 4th edition, Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.
  • Co-Principal Investigator: “Developing Abilities and Knowledge for Careers in Design and Engineering for Students on the Autism Spectrum by Scaling Up Making Experiences.” (Principal Investigator Wendy Martin, PhD). National Science Foundation (NSF#1850289). Funded for 8/19 to 7/22. $514,629 subaward of $1,999,775 total award.
  • Principal Investigator: “Ghanaian Institute for the Future of Teaching and Education (GIFTED) Women’s Fellowship Program-Phase III.” (Co-Principal Investigator Rose Vukovic, Ph.D.). Banco Santander. Funded for 1/19 to 12/20. $278,000.
  • Principal Investigator: “NYU ASD Nest Support Project.” NYC Department of Education.  2018-2023 $8,401,750 Year 1: 11/1/18-6/30/19. $1,680,350.
  • Principal Investigator: “Long Beach, CA ASD Nest Training and Support.” Long Beach Public School District. 11/1/18 – 6/30/19. $36,500.
  • Principal Investigator: “ASD Nest supports, consultation, and professional development.” Norwalk Public School District. 3/1/18 – 6/30/19. $120,059.
  • Co-Principal Investigator: “IDEAS: Inventing, Designing and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum.”(Principal Investigator Wendy Martin, PhD). National Science Foundation (NSF#1614436). Funded for 9/16 to 8/19. $300,734 subaward of $1,193,170 total award.

Janet Njelesani – Assistant Professor

  • Njelesani, J. (2019). “A child who is hidden has no rights”: Responses to violence against children with disabilities. Child Abuse & Neglect, 89, 58-69. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2018.12.024.
  • Qualitative Research Affinity Group. NYU Steinhardt. Co-Applicant with Audrey Trainor and Natasha Strassfeld.

Gerald Voelbel – Associate Professor

  • Newman, R.M., Alfano, C., Radomski, M.V., Pergolotti, M., Wolf, T, Sleight, A., Leak, A.B., Voelbel, G.T., de Moor, J., Nitkin, R., Daniels, E., Braveman, B., Walker, R.K., Williams, G., Winters-Stone, K.M., Cheville, A., Campbell, S., Lawlor, M., King, A., Ness, K., Srivastava, P., & Lyons, K.D. (2019). Catalyzing Research to Optimize Cancer Survivors’ Participation in Work and Life Roles. OTJR: Occupation, Participation, and Health.
  • Co-Principal Investigator: “Verbal Working Memory and Attention Remediation for Adults with Traumatic Brain Injury.” Global Research Incubator Award, $15,040. Funded: 9/19 – 8/20.