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.

Third Annual Jim Hinojosa Distinguished Alumni Award Winner Announced

Photo of Gary Bedell.

We are pleased to announce the recipient of the third annual Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award, Dr. Gary Bedell. The award, named in honor of the late Dr. Jim Hinojosa’s immense impact on the NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy and the entire OT field, recognizes outstanding NYU OT alumni making significant contributions to the profession.

Dr. Bedell is a two-time alumnus of the department, having earned his post-professional master’s degree at NYU in 1986 and his PhD in 1998. He is currently chair of Tufts University’s Department of Occupational Therapy and has dedicated his career to informing the development of interventions, programs, and policies designed to promote meaningful participation of children and youth with disabilities in real-life contexts.

He has authored or co-authored numerous widely-used tools for measuring and promoting participation, including the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP), the Participation and Environment Measure for Children and Youth (PEM-CY), and Social Participation and Navigation (SPAN).

Read on for a Q&A with Dr. Bedell exploring his research, advice for future OTs, and what it was like to work with Dr. Hinojosa.

What inspired you to pursue the occupational therapy profession?

I always knew that I wanted to do something to help other people. I had experienced mental health issues in my high school years, but I was able to overcome them with the support of friends, family, and therapy. I knew I wanted to work with youth with mental health challenges, but I didn’t think that pursuing traditional talk therapy was “me.” Learning from my own experiences, I did some research and discovered the link between OT interventions and mental health. Although my interests ultimately changed as I went on in my field work, one of the nice things about OT is that there are often many available opportunities to explore during your career.

How do you think your education at NYU Steinhardt prepared you to become a leader in the field?

When I was a student, NYU was very pluralistic in terms of research design and purpose — I was able to take many research design courses which served me well in terms of my ability to conduct mixed-methods research in my career. It was emphasized that you have to know how to use the research methods that will best fit your research questions. My experience was also unique because I was an adjunct associate professor at NYU. I was teaching and getting other types of interdisciplinary research and educational opportunities that taught me to be a leader. All of my research and scholarship is interdisciplinary, and I attribute this to the opportunities made available to me at NYU.

You have worked extensively to develop measures and interventions to benefit those with traumatic and other acquired brain injuries. Can you tell us more?

I was awarded a postdoctoral research fellowship at Boston University that focused on children and youth with traumatic and other acquired brain injuries. When I say acquired brain injury, I mean acquired after birth — for example, strokes, brain tumors, seizure disorders, or brain infections. During this period, the international World Health Organization’s International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) was being developed, so a lot of relevant concepts were being discussed, particularly the concept of participation. Very generally, participation means involvement in life situations.

One of my first projects was to develop a survey to follow up with families on their children and adolescent youth discharged from inpatient rehabilitation. The survey included areas that weren’t necessarily being looked at, like their social environment, physical environment, attitudinal environment, and participation. The survey included measures that could be used on their own, such as the Child and Adolescent Scale of Participation (CASP), that is used with other populations and has been translated into multiple languages for use in many countries worldwide. Often one opportunity leads to another, so subsequently I was asked to participate in the development of additional participation measures (PEM-CY) and an app-based coaching intervention to promote social participation among teenagers with traumatic brain injuries called SPAN.

What do you consider your most significant accomplishment in the field?

My measurement and intervention work have had the most world-wide impact, but I feel like my most significant accomplishment was my outreach work and research related to HIV that I conducted during my time at NYU. The outreach focused on the needs of children and families affected by HIV/AIDS, and the research focused on how people with HIV/AIDS, particularly gay men, managed their daily lives and developed strategies based on the experience of living with their symptoms. There was a lot of stigma at the time and people were afraid to work with people with HIV. A lot of the time this fear comes from not knowing, so I think it’s a significant accomplishment that my work helped to raise awareness.

What was it like to work alongside Jim Hinojosa?

Jim really was my first true mentor in my career — I’m indebted to him. He allowed me to be me, had a great sense of humor, was very generous with his time, and offered me so many opportunities! He asked me to be part of a lot of interdisciplinary research collaborations with other faculty and saw something in me that gave me the confidence to be a part of those teams. He also encouraged me to enroll in NYU’s PhD program, encouraged me to publish early on before my PhD, and helped my research dissemination efforts, which exposed me to other local and national and opportunities.

What advice do you have for OTs beginning their careers?

It will all come together! It is important to be your authentic self and continue to develop knowledge and skills — a lifelong process — and seek out opportunities because it’s usually those opportunities that lead to other opportunities. There are so many options within the OT field. The key is to find a place where you feel valued and supported that does work that is important to you and those you serve.

2nd Annual Jim Hinojosa Distinguished Alumni Award Winner

Photo of Dr. Paula KramerWe are pleased to announce the recipient of the second annual Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award, Dr. Paula Kramer. The award, named in honor Dr. Jim Hinojosa’s immense contributions to the NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy and to the OT profession as a whole, seeks to recognize an outstanding NYU OT alumni who has made significant contributions to the profession.

Dr. Kramer is a three time graduate of NYU, and has written or co-authored 9 books and over 100 book chapters. Her focus is the translation of theory into practice, clearly describing the process and defining the concepts that are foundational to theory development. Together with Dr. Jim Hinojosa, she translates the abstract aspects of theory into a clear and understandable format. As a scholar, she has influenced practice by detailing how practitioners use the profession’s applied body of knowledge to provide theoretically based practice. Dr. Kramer was also named one of AOTA’s 100 Most Influential People in Occupational Therapy. Read on to learn more about Dr. Kramer, what brought her to the profession, and what she sees for the future of OT.

 

Tell us a little bit about your background, and your path to becoming an OT.

I had bad scoliosis when I was younger and surgery was recommended.  At that time, the process required an extended hospital stay with limited movement, including staying in bed.  My doctor recommended occupational therapy.  My occupational therapist taught me how to perform most ADL skills with my limited movement, but more importantly, she taught me that I was still a productive, functional person even with these limitations.  I learned that the limitations did not define me, I defined me.  That was an amazing gift. That made me love occupational therapy, and I wanted to become an occupational therapist ever since.

 

How do you think your education at NYU prepared you for becoming a leader in the field?

Being educated by leaders helps you to become a leader. I have three degrees from NYU, all in OT (which I would not necessarily recommend, but it did work for me). My baccalaureate gave me the basics that I needed to start my career.  My masters allowed me to grow and explore a more specified area of practice, working with children, understanding learning disabilities. And it taught me the critical importance of theory. Taking courses across campus in different departments was helpful and beginning to work with Anne Cronin Mosey was invaluable.  Throughout my doctorate, I was constantly encouraged to grow and stretch, and see what could be instead of what was. This is the essence of leadership, seeing future possibilities and being willing to grow to get there.

 

You have worked extensively in changing policy and education in the OT field, can you tell us a little about your accomplishments there?

I started my service to the profession locally with the Metropolitan New York District and NYSOTA.  I soon became involved with the Accreditation Council, I was interested in how education programs were developed and regulated. Around 1990, I was honored to Chair the new revision of the educational essentials now called the Standards. It was the first set of Standards developed independently by occupational therapists without the involvement of the Council for Allied Health Education and the American Medical Association.  I shocked to discover that the term “occupation” was not in our educational standards and that there was limited mention of theory.  I was proud to have championed the inclusion of both in the 1991 Standards.

 

Can you tell us about your writing and co-authoring of OT literature with Jim Hinojosa?

Jim and I have a fantastic relationship. He has been one of the most important people in my professional life, as well as being a great friend. Professionally, it is rather a co-mentorship.  He makes me think differently.  I can express myself and what I think about the profession or the topic we are working on, and he will give me his perceptions and together we can come to a consensus of what we want to put forward. He is one of those people that make you stretch and grow. I am very proud of all of the work we have done together, and I have enjoyed the collaboration so much.

 

What do you see for the future of the OT profession? What do you hope to accomplish in the future with your work?

I think the future of the profession is bright.  We have many opportunities as long as we keep focusing on how we change the functional performance of our clients.  We are finally becoming better known, but still have a ways to go, and it is important that we continue to promote the profession aggressively. I think the profession is somewhat at a crossroads with the decision to move to a doctoral level.  Personally, while I am aware of the potential drawbacks, I think we have to make the jump.  Our world recognizes education and titles, and to have our colleagues in physical therapy, at the doctoral level without having our profession at that level will put us at a disadvantage in the clinical world.  My personal goals are more in the area of continuing to write to improve areas of practice and knowledge especially in pediatrics and the importance of theory related to occupation.

Grace Kim Publishes Research on Robotics to Improve Hand Function in Stroke Patients

Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy Grace Kim‘s study Photo of Grace Kim Randomized Trial on the Effects of Attentional Focus on Motor Training of the Upper Extremity Using Robotics With Individuals After Chronic Stroke was recently published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. The study is also co-authored by NYU Steinhardt’s Mitchell Batavia, Associate Professor in the department of Physical Therapy, and Jim Hinojosa, Professor Emeritus in the department of Occupational Therapy.

The study focused on individuals with stroke and moderate-to-severe arm impairment living in the community. The individuals participated in a four-week arm training protocol on a robotic device in an outpatient clinic.

Highlights of the study include:

•Participants improved on motor outcomes after engaging in high-repetition robotics arm training.

•There were no differences between external focus or internal focus of attention on retention of motor skills after 4 weeks of arm training.

•Individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment may not experience the advantages of an external focus during motor training found in healthy individuals.

•Attentional focus is most likely not an active ingredient for retention of trained motor skills for individuals with moderate-to-severe arm impairment.

Class Notes: Fall 2017

Ali Ahmad, PhD (PhD 2015) is currently working in the clinic as the head of the hand therapy unit at Ministry of Health – Kuwait.

James Battaglia, MA OTR/L CHT (MA 2001) has recently been appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy program in the Health Professions Department at Hofstra University. He is currently working toward completion of his EdD in Learning and Teaching at Hofstra as well. His paper Toward a Caring Curriculum: Can Occupational Therapy be Taught in a Caring Context?, was published in the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and a co-authored paper with his wife Dana Battaglia entitled, Faculty mentoring in communication sciences and disorders: Case study of a doctoral teaching practicum, was published in the Academy of Educational Leadership Journal in late 2016.

Paula Kramer (BS 1973, MA 1977, Ph.D. 1993) was recently named Professor Emerita of University of the Sciences.

Katherine Malfucci (MSOT 2012) started working last year as a Senior Instructional Therapist mentor with the Nest program, a New York City Dept. of Ed. ASD program that partners with NYU to include students with ASD in general ed classrooms. It has been a great inspiration to work with and learn from therapists throughout the city who do such wonderful, innovative work with our students.  This year she also began working at Back to Health, an outpatient clinic in Brooklyn, providing care for clients of all ages with musculoskeletal injuries and disabilities.

Sara Monheit-Peress (MA 1981) is married to Louis Peress (a COTA and Real Estate Broker) and is practicing Occupational Therapy in Las Vegas.

Jaimie Porter OTR/L CBIS (MSOT 2011) currently works in Acute Inpatient Rehabilitation at Mount Sinai Hospital, originally on the Brain Injury Rehab unit and currently on the Spinal Cord Injury Rehab unit, and has recently become a Certified Brain Injury Specialist.

Jackie Tamayo, MS, OTR/L (MS 2012) is a hand therapy resident at OrthoCarolina ’16-’17, obtained CHT, and is a hand Specialist at Calif. Orthopaedic Institute in San Diego.

Audrey H. Weiss (MA 1995) wrote the cover story in the August (2016) edition of OT Advance Magazine. The story titled Hitting the High Notes…starting an OT music group for special-needs students is easier-and more fun- than you thought, is about her OT music group which she runs in schools and clinics. 

Now Accepting Nominations for the 2nd Annual Jim Hinojosa Award

The annual Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award was established in honor of Dr. Jim Hinojosa‘s immense contributions to the NYU Department of Occupational Therapy and to the OT profession as a whole. This award seeks to recognize an outstanding NYU OT Alumni who has made significant contributions to the profession. The award will be presented at the Department’s 2018 Alumni Reception at the annual AOTA Conference. Recipients will receive $500 and will be featured in the Department’s Blog/Newsletter.

The nomination period for the 2018 Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award is open through January 15, 2018. In order to submit a nomination, please complete the form below.

Follow this link to the Application: 
2018 Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award Nomination Form

 

Alum Katie Tietz Writes Book for Healthcare Professionals

This fall Katie Tietz debuted her book Self-Care for the Healthcare Professional: How to gain confidence, take control, and have a balanced and successful careerKatie, who is currently an occupational therapist at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, California is also a certified mindset coach, a skill she uses both in her practice and to inspire her writing, which is a combination of personal stories, educational content, and activities at the end of each chapter. Read on to learn more about what motivated Katie to write her book.

What sparked your interest in becoming an OT?

Honestly, I just kind of followed what felt right.  Before becoming an OT, or even knowing what an OT was, I worked with children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities.  I worked in a variety of settings… as a respite worker in the home and community, in an adult learning center, and a pre-school as a 1:1 aide.  The child I worked with in pre-school had major food aversions.  At the adult learning center we worked on building daily life skills.  As a respite provider I worked on community integration and encouraged appropriate leisure pursuits.  I was drawn to these jobs because they promoted independence and quality of life.  I thought there could be no better career than to bring this to others.  That’s when I found out what occupational therapy was, and it was a no brainer.  It wasn’t really an interest that was sparked… it was more like a realization of a true calling.

Why did you want to write a book focusing on self-care for healthcare professionals?

I wanted to write this book because I think self-care is incredibly important.  It’s important for all people, but in a career where you give so much of yourself to others, I would argue that it’s even more important.  I would even go as far to say that if you’re not practicing self-care as a healthcare professional, it could become a patient safety issue.  If you are burned out and frustrated with your career, that leaves a lot of room for error… not to mention the negative energy that you drag around with you, from patient to patient.  I wanted to write this book so that healthcare professionals can learn how to serve others from their overflow, instead of scraping the bottom for any last drops in an already empty cup.  As the saying goes, we have to fill our cups first before we can give to others.

Do you find that self-care for health professionals is a “taboo” topic when the focus is supposed to be care for patients/clients?

I think that it certainly can be.  We’re all givers.  We all have strong empathy for others.  We wouldn’t be in this profession if we weren’t.  So naturally, as givers, when the topic arises of ‘taking’ (taking time for your own self-care), it might make us feel uncomfortable, selfish, or even guilty – and those aren’t nice feelings!  Unless you have someone telling you that you don’t have to feel guilty and that self-care is not selfish, then you’ll likely continue down that spiral of burnout and compassion fatigue.  Then what does that look like for your patient?  What does that look like for your loved ones?  What does that look like for you?  My goal is really to modify that thinking pattern that self-care in healthcare is somehow forbidden.  I think that by practicing daily self-care we actually do better by our patients and loved ones.  We are able to give more, provide more, and practice more patience and understanding.  With that in mind, self-care should be a part of our job descriptions, not the taboo topic that it can sometimes be.

How did your own experiences shape the writing of the book, and how did your time at NYU Steinhardt influence your professional life?

My own experience is what made this book!  Both of my experiences as a new graduate OT and the daughter of a mother who was in and out of hospitals and sub-acute nursing facilities for years, is what prompted me to write this book.  I saw the signs of early burnout in myself as a provider and I saw many nurses, doctors and therapists who clearly struggled with compassion fatigue and burnout when my mom was in the hospital.  My experiences acted like this informal needs assessment – and this book, I guess you could say, is the treatment plan!

My time at NYU Steinhardt undoubtedly helped to shape this book as well.  Every single day I think of Kristie Koenig’s words to us during our pediatrics course.  She said, “It’s really easy to be a bad OT.”  When I began my career I started to realize just how true that statement had been.  It was disheartening at first, but that statement continues to motivate me to this day!  My time at NYU, all of the professors, all my classmates… they mean so much to me.  They set the bar high for professional standards, and personally they all hold a very special place in my heart.

Do you have plans for more writing? What’s next for you?

I would love to do more writing in the future!  I really enjoy the writing process and the creation aspect.  Although I don’t have anything specific to write about at the moment, I’m sure that life will unfold and opportunities will arise.  And as Anita Perr used to tell us, “Always say yes to an opportunity!”

In terms of what’s next, my goal is to get this book in the hands of as many healthcare professionals as possible.  I truly believe that it will change lives when utilized to it’s full potential.  I’m currently bringing this information to the staff at my own hospital, co-creating our “Lighthouse Initiative” with a couple of my brilliant co-workers, and hope to spread the message to other hospitals, clinics, and universities as well.  I also plan to continue my coaching with Health Pro Mindset and help healthcare professionals to maximize their personal and professional potentials!

Faculty Spotlight: Grace Kim

We sat down with new OT faculty member and alumna of the department PhD program here at NYU Steinhardt Grace Kim to learn more about her research and experiences in the classroom during her first year as a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy.

How has your first year as faculty here at NYU Steinhardt gone?

I think really good so far, since it is something really new. It’s a long roller coaster, ups and downs, you slow down and speed up and don’t know whats around the corner. So far all of my experiences have been so positive.

What classes did you teach this year? Did anything stand out to you about them?

In the fall semester, I co-taught Clinical Neurology with Professor Karen Buckley, who is retiring this year. I also taught two Research Interpretations classes, which are more project-based. In that class, I supervised a small group of our entry level MS students, who complete a certain aspect of an ongoing project during the class. It is a nice, different approach to teaching. The class is more hands on and presents realistic scenarios students may encounter in clinical settings. The students are able to have an actual project at the end, which often manifests as a paper or poster at a future conference, so I really enjoy teaching this class.

In the spring, I co-taught Evidence Based Practice with fellow new faculty member Janet Njelesani. That class consists of post-professional OTD students who have their own perspectives and experiences in the field, so the classes end up having a rich dialogue, a different type of learning than the entry level MS students. Teaching both types of students has really helped acclimate me to the program.

What is your background, and what brought you to NYU Steinhardt?

I’m originally from California but have spent the past 15 years in New York. I completed my master’s degree in OT at Columbia University, and then worked clinically at various hospitals in the city.

Most recently, I was at Cornell Medical Center in a clinical research position. At that point, I wanted to do my PhD, and that’s how I ended up in the part-time post-professional PhD program in the OT department at NYU Steinhardt. Six years later as I was finishing up my dissertation I applied for the faculty opening here in the OT department. I’m so happy the timing worked out so well and that I ended up with the position.

Now that you are at NYU, are there any particular research topics you are focusing on?

My research interest historically has always been in neurological populations, specifically stroke and how damage to the brain manifests itself functionally in people in such different ways that you’d never imagine. Here at NYU I’m interested at this point in delving deeper into how we can integrate everyday technologies, specifically mobile wireless technologies, into community and home settings where patients are spending their time when not at a clinic.

I’d like to focus this research on how can we utilize mobile apps, such as motion sensor data (like fit bits) to be able to asses patients when they are in their natural environment, and provide feedback for them when they are moving around in the space, and also as a way to communicate with patients when they are not in therapy.

We don’t know what patients are able to do at home currently even though we give them recommendations. Technology has given us a lot of different opportunities to figure out how we can improve. Giving patients external structure through technology can help to remind patients and keep them motivated with relevant feedback, and empower them to participate in their own care and rehab.

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

I think I like that it is still very new to me, so I am still learning as well along with my students. I like to know that you have to be present, everything is happening in real time in the classroom, you have to think on your feet, and sometimes it goes off in a different direction that surprises you. This reminds me that it is the same as treating patients, where the time can go in a various number of ways and you have to problem solve as things are happening, and you have to go with that, and remind students that you always have to think on your feet as an OT.