January 2017 Therapy Ed NBCOT Test Prep Course

The NYU Department of Occupational Therapy is pleased to announce that it will once again be hosting its Annual January NBCOT Exam Prep course offered by Therapy Ed. The two-day course will be held at the University on Wednesday, January 18th and Thursday, January 19th, 2017. NYU OT students are eligible for a $30 course tuition discount. To register, please follow the instructions on the NYU OT registration form.

Please visit http://www.therapyed.com/nbcot.htm for additional course information.


AOTF St. Catherine’s Challenge Annual Kickball Tournament and Picnic Fundraiser

On September 16, 2016 over twenty faculty, staff, and students of the Occupational Therapy department participated in the annual AOTF St. Catherine’s Challenge by holding a Kickball Tournament in the East River Park.

The challenge is a student-led initiative to support the profession of occupational therapy by raising funds for research grants provided by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. It helps increase awareness of occupational therapy research that guides practice, and challenges OT students across the country to engage their communities and join together in support of the AOTF’s mission.

A great day was had by all as participants enjoyed a picnic lunch and friendly kickball competition. The event raised over $730 this year (a 60% increase from 2015!) and the department looks forward to holding the event again in 2017.


Department Chair Kristie Patten Koenig Collaborates on ‘Life Animated’ Film Companion Guide for Educators

This fall, Occupational Therapy Department Chair and Associate Professor Kristie Patten Koenig took part in creating the educational guide for the new documentary film Life Animated, directed by academy award winner Roger Ross Williams.

The film follows the inspirational story of Owen Suskind, a young man who as a thriving three-year-old suddenly and inexplicably became silent. For years Owen was unable to connect with others, and could not convey his thoughts, feelings, or needs. It was only through repeated viewings of classic animated Disney films like The Little Mermaid and The Lion King that Owen was able to find useful tools to help him understand complex social cues. The film interweaves animated sequences from the Disney films with scenes from Owen’s life, and shows how the characters allowed him to understand his feelings and to interpret reality.

Koenig’s role was to put together a group of people including NYU faculty, ASD Nest Support Project participators, and self-advocates with autism along with Ron and Cornelia Suskind (Owen’s parents) to develop a guide that can be used by educators when viewing the film. The guide provides tips for leading conversations on autism spectrum disorder, and is available for download. Life Animated won Best US Documentary at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and is currently showing at film festivals across the U.S. and Europe.


Now Accepting Nominations for the 1st Annual Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award

In honor of Dr. Jim Hinojosa’s immense contributions to the NYU Department of Occupational Therapy and to the OT profession as a whole, we are pleased to announce the establishment of the Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award.  This annual 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 Alumni Reception at the annual AOTA Conference. Recipients will receive $500 and will be featured in the Department’s Blog/Newsletter.

We are pleased to announce that the nomination period for the 2017 Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award has opened.  Nominations are open to all NYU OT Alumni. Self Nominations are permitted.  Nominees must have made significant contributions to the profession as demonstrated by advocacy, leadership, generosity, scholarship and mentorship.

Nominations are open through January 15, 2017.

Please follow this link to the application:

Jim Hinojosa Alumni Award Application

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:


OT Adjunct Professor Advises on New Film ‘Cardboard Boxer’

Adjunct professor in the Occupational Therapy department and ’00 graduate of NYU Steinhardt’s Occupational Therapy Post-Professional Program Michael Tranquilli recently served as an OT consultant on the movie Cardboard Boxer (2016), with actor Boyd Holbrook (Narcos, Gone Girl). Tranquilli spent over three weeks working with Holbrook on the streets of New York City in a wheelchair borrowed from the department, training and educating him on how to manually propel curb cuts, sidewalks, ramps, potholes, and maneuver transferring to multiple surfaces in preparation for Holbrook’s role in the film, where he portrays a bilateral lower extremity amputee war veteran.

This is the second film Tranquilli, who is also a private practice occupational therapist, has consulted on and the second time he has worked with Holbrook. The first film, Little Accidents (2014), portrayed Holbrook as a stroke victim in a West Virginia mining town. For that project, Tranquilli educated Holbrook in the complex array of deficits and behavioral characteristics associated with neurologic injuries such as CVA, hypoxia, aphasia, and the psychosocial aspects present with victims of stroke. Through an activity analysis of each of the characters’ scenes, he designed an occupational profile and a progressive framework for cognitive, motor, and speech patterns, that helped to guide the actor’s conceptualization of each scene.

Cardboard Boxer follows Willie (Thomas Haden Church), a homeless man living on LA’s skid row who is coerced by a group of rich teenagers with a video camera to fight others on the street for money. His solace from the violence is reading the words of a diary he finds, written by a young girl who is grieving the loss of her mother. Pinky (Boyd Holbrook) helps Willie decipher the cursive script that the diary is scrawled in. Together they share in the pain of her words, and are moved by her plight so much that they attempt to find her. The film also stars Terrence Howard (Empire, Crash) and is currently playing (as of 9/16/16) at Village East Cinema (181-189 2nd Ave. NY, NY 10003).


Summer 2016 Class Notes

Tracey Bates (MS ’09) works in the outpatient center at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington D.C., focusing on oncology (breast, head, and neck) Lymphedema and implementing the head and neck Lymphedema program for the hospital.


Robert M. Bieber (MA ’72) Retired in 2015 as a risk manager, and is presently working as a personal trainer.


Rhoda Scherer Cohen (BS ’49, MA ’76) worked as an OT throughout her whole career—and is now working with them since having developed CIDP and having a shoulder recently replaced. She now shares with her OT how she used to practice in her early career, and is learning how they do it now.

Patrick Dolan (MA ’96) is currently work at Albany Memorial Hand Center.

Per Erik Edlund (MA ’82) has recently retired from Landvetter Airport in Sweden as Project Director and Business Controller.

Rita Fleming-Castaldy (PhD ’08) has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the American Occupational Therapy Association’s centennial history project called “OT Archive”.  Dr. Fleming-Castaldy is responsible for the curation, development, and review of historical materials which will commemorate occupational therapy’s first 100 years. She is working with an editorial board comprised of leaders in the field (including Dr. Jim Hinojosa) to identify people and events which have significantly influenced the profession to be highlighted during the AOTA’s centennial celebration in 2017.

Shirin Golshani (MS ’14) is one of the founding leaders and volunteer VP in charge of Clinics of a non-profit organization called Angel City Sports, where sports programming and competition is put on for children and adults with physical disabilities including amputees. She is also currently a full-time school-based OT for Los Angeles Unified School District going into year three.

Renee Elizabeth Keny (George) (MA ’06) has spent the past 10 years since graduation on a journey from the east coast to the mid-west in Chicago, helping students with special needs in clinics, homes, and schools. As she looks forward to the next 10 years, she’s so happy to say that she ran into former Steinhardt professors at the AOTA conference in Chicago this year (see pic)!

Renee Keny (MA 06′) with former NYU OT professors at the 2016 AOTA Conference

Andrea Krauss (BS ’79) has been in academia since 1990, starting her teaching career at Touro College. She is currently the Director of the OT Program at York College CUNY. In addition, Andrea maintains a small private practice providing consultation to families that have children with behavioral issues secondary to SID, ADHD and autism.

Robbie Levy (MA ’82) has moved her private practice, Dynamic Kids Inc., to a larger space in Hartsdale, NY further exemplifying her long term commitment to the local community. The office now has a dedicated EI treatment space, two sensory gyms, an enhanced fine motor room and private office space. Besides providing on site mentorship, Robbie continues to be a national speaker for PESI Education and local and regional Child Development organizations.

Karen Ling (MS ’14) Started a shop named Inclusive Greetings with her husband, an MD. The greeting cards bring awareness to disability inclusion, diversity and equality with a goal is to initiate conversations, connect, and bridge the gap between people with different backgrounds.

Jeannine Giustino Nonaillada (MA ‘15) defended her dissertation ‘Educating Healthcare Providers and Hospital Staff on Geriatrics and Shared Decision-Making: Evaluation of an Online Program’ and graduated with her PhD in Social Work with a concentration in gerontology from Fordham University this May 2016.

Hermine D. Plotnick (MA ’63) spent 37 years working in the NYS Office of Mental Health, most of that time at Creedmoor Psychiatric Center beginning as a staff occupational therapist, and then, Unit Chief, with part time adjunct positions at Columbia University. She is also an associate professor and founding program director of the OT programs at York, LaGuardia Community College and NY Institute of Technology.

Linda Rowe (MA ’84) is currently the owner of Support By Design OT, SLP, PT, PLLC Pediatric Therapy practice.

Natasha R. Sexius (MS ’07) currently runs a private practice for adults and pediatrics in Trinidad, West Indies. She is also part of a team starting up the first OT master’s program at The University of the Southern Caribbean in Trinidad commencing September 5, 2016.

Jessica Sibley (MS ’11) recently began working heavily with the autistic and/or non speaking community using Rapid Prompting Method to help students learn to spell to communicate on stencil boards. She has also become more heavily focused on Motor learning and skill acquisition for clients, and has recently started her own private practice, Minds in Motion OT.

Lindsey Vestal (MS ’11) is the owner of the Functional Pelvis, practice specializing in pelvic floor therapy “house calls”, a convenient, comfortable, and holistic operation for clients that incorporates their environment.  Lindsey has two children Avery, 4 and Liam, 2.


Faculty Achievements: Grants and Publications

A complete list of achievements by the faculty of the Department of Occupational Therapy.


Kristie Koenig, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy

Co-Principal Investigator: “IDEAS: Inventing, Designing and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum”. (Principal Investigator Wendy Martin, PhD). National Science Foundation (NSF). Funded for 9/16 to 8/19. $215,660 (subaward).

Principal Investigator: “Ghanaian Institute for the Future of Teaching and Education (GIFTED) Women’s Fellowship Program- Phase II”. (Co-Investigator Rose Vukovic, Ph.D.). Banco Santander. Funded for 4/16 to 12/18. $418,000

Principal Investigator: “Oh the Places Students with ASD Can Go: Development of the ASD Nest High School Model. FAR Fund. Funded 9/30/15-10/1/16. $50,000

Principal Investigator: “NYU ASD Nest Support Project.” NYC Department of Education. 7/1/15-6/30/16. $1,375,000


Anita Perr, Clinical Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy

User-centered Stroke Rehabilitation Video Game Using the Kinect. Funded by NYU Research Challenge Fund. $12,000. July 1, 2016- June 30, 2017.

NYU Global Institute of Advanced Study. (2015-16)). Awarded to Anita Perr and Marianne Petit as co-PIs. $30,000; funded to develop and hold NYU/NYU Shanghai Assistive Technology Workshop. Workshop held 3/12-13/2016.



Yael Goverover, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Goverover, Y., Haas, S., & DeLuca, J. (Accepted May 2, 2016). Money Management Activities in Persons with Multiple Sclerosis. Archives of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.

Genova, H., Genualdi, A., Goverover, Y., Chiaravalloti, N. D., Marino, C., & Lengenfelder, J. (Accepted March 29, 2016). An Investigation of the Impact of Facial Affect Recognition Impairments in Moderate to Severe TBI on Fatigue, Depression, and Quality of Life. Social Neuroscience.

Goverover, Y., Genova, H. Smith, A., Chiaravalloti, N., & Lengenfelder, J. (accepted March 16, 2016). Changes in activity participation following traumatic brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation.

Goverover, Y., Chiaravalloti, N., & DeLuca, J. (2016). Brief International Cognitive Assessment for Multiple Sclerosis (BICAMS) and performance of everyday life tasks: Actual reality. Multiple Sclerosis, 22, 544-550.


Kristie Koenig, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy

Tomcheck, S., & Patten Koenig, K. (2016). Occupational Therapy Practice  Guidelines for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association.


Gerald Voelbel, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Voelbel, G.T., Wu, Z., Tortarolo, C., & Bates, M.E. (2016). Executive Dysfunction and Processing Speed Predict Nonverbal Problem Solving Deficits in a Substance Use Disorder Population. International Journal of Brain Disorders and Treatment. 2(1), 1-5.

Halkitis, P.N., D’Avanzo, P., Stults, C.B., Levy, M.D., Krause, K.D., Kupprat, S.A., Voelbel.G.T., Urbina, A.E., Kapadia, F. (2016). Neurocognitive functioning in an urban clinic-based sample of adults ages 50 and older living with HIV. Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Service.

Tsu-Hsin Howe, Associate Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Lee, T.-I., Howe, T.-H., Chen, H.-L., & Wang, T.-N. (In Press). Predicting handwriting legibility in Taiwanese elementary school children. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70,

Hinojosa, J. & Howe, T.-H. (2016). EPortfolio: The scholarly capstone for the practice doctoral degree in occupational therapy. Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 3(4), Article 10, DOI: 10.15453/2168-6408.1203.

Shi, Y. & Howe, T.-H. (2016). A survey of occupational therapy practice in Beijing. Occupational Therapy International, 23(2), 186-195, DOI: 10.1002/oti.1423

Howe, T.-H., Sheu, C.-F., Hsu, Y.-W., Wang, T.-N., &Wang, L.-W. (2016). Early neurodevelopmental assessments as predictors of neuromotor outcomes in preterm children at 5 years of age. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 48, 231-241; DOI: 10.1016/j.ridd.2015.11.003


Janet Njelesani, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Njelesani J., Fehlings L., Tsang A., Polatajko H. (2016). The influence of context on occupational selection in sport-for-development programming. Societies; 6(3), 24; doi:10.3390/soc6030024

Njelesani, J. (2016). Rethinking rehabilitation: Theory and practice book review. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy; doi: 10.1177/0008417416651962


Tracy Chippendale, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Chen, S. & Chippendale, T. (2016). Factors associated with IADL independence: Implications for OT practice. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, Early online.

Chippendale, T., Gentile, P. A., James, M. K. & Melnic, G. (2016). Indoor and outdoor falls among older adult trauma patients: A comparison of patient characteristics, risk factors, and outcomes. Geriatrics and Gerontology International, Early online.

Chippendale, T. (2016). The “Aging Other”. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 17, 96.

Bear-Lehman, J., Chippendale, T. & Albert, S. (2016). Approaches to Screening and Assessment in Gerontological Occupational Therapy. In Barney & Perkinson (Eds.) Occupational Therapy with Aging Adults: Promoting Quality of Life through Collaborative Practice. St. Louis: Elsevier.


Jim Hinojosa, Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy

Koenig, K.P. & Hinojosa, J. (In Press). Additional developmental assessments and treatment. In D. Kober, & D. Treadwell-Deering (Eds.) The Handbook of Autism: A Concise Guide. Singapore: World Scientific

Hinojosa, J. & Howe, T-Hsin (2016) EPortfolio: The Scholarly Capstone for the Practice Doctoral Degree in Occupational Therapy. The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy, 4(3), Article 10. http://dx.doi.org/10.15453/2168-6408.1203

Kalina, J. T., & Hinojosa, J. (2016). A Protocol for Improving Loneliness in People with Multiple Sclerosis. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 32, 130-145 doi:10.1080/0164212X.2015.1130106

Koenig, K.P. & Hinojosa, J. (In press). Additional developmental assessments and treatment. In D. Kober, & D. Treadwell-Deering (Eds.) The Handbook of Autism: A Concise Guide.




NYU at the 2016 AOTA Conference

The 96th Annual AOTA Conference and Expo was held April 7-10, 2016, in Chicago, Illinois. This year’s conference theme was Evidence and Outcomes: Empowering the Profession.

The department had for the second year in row an exhibition booth to promote our post-professional programs (MA, DPS, and PhD). Prospective students had the opportunity to meet with and speak to our associate director of enrollment, various faculty, and our fieldwork administrator. The interaction between prospective students and our representatives was vital for them to learn about the NYU Steinhardt post-professional occupational therapy programs.

The department was also excited to hold its annual alumni dessert reception during the conference. The event, which was held Friday, April 8 at the Hilton Chicago, welcomed alumni, faculty, and students of the department.











Kristie Koenig Receives NSF Grant for IDEAS Project in Collaboration with the ASD Nest Support Project and Others

The IDEAS Project: Inventing, Designing, and Engineering on the Autism Spectrum was awarded a 3 year, $1.1 million National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant! The project is a collaboration between Education Development Center, Inc.’s Center for Children and Technology (EDC|CCT), the ASD Nest Support Project at Steinhardt, NYU Tandon School of Engineering, New York Hall of Science, and SRI International’s Center for Education and Human Services.

IDEAS will work with three New York City Department of Education ASD Nest middle schools and the special educators and therapists to collaborate with engineers and the New York Hall of Science for after school clubs that foster interests in STEM in order to develop meaningful occupations and career pathways.

This innovative project will help build new knowledge about how theoretically grounded and research based techniques for supporting students with ASD can be incorporated into an existing after school program.

EDC|CCT led by Wendy Martin, PhD is the Principal Investigator. ‪Steinhardt Occupational Therapy professor and chair Kristie Patten Koenig is the Co-Principal Investigator, and will direct a subaward that includes both NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and NYU Tandon School of Engineering, along with Co-Investigator, Luke Dubois, Co-Director and Associate Professor of Integrated Digital Media.

Dr. Koenig is also the Principal Investigator of the ASD Nest Support Project – NYU Steinhardt, which is funded by the NYC Department of Education every year to support the NYC DOE ASD Nest program. ASD Nest has over 1000 children with ASD being educated in inclusive classrooms, in 39 schools in all five boroughs of Manhattan.


Q & A with Retiring Occupational Therapy Professor Jim Hinojosa

In an interview with SpOTlight, Hinojosa talks about his 25 years at NYU, his reflections on the profession, and life after retirement.

How did you get your start in Occupational Therapy?

I got into OT by accident. I was a biochemistry major at Colorado State, giving tours to prospective students. I used to joke on the tour that the home economics program brought women into the school. Well, the Dean overheard me one day and let me know that there were many programs under that home economics umbrella, one of them being OT at the time. I looked into it and it ended up being a combination or what I really wanted to do. I got to take all the basic sciences that I was interested in and also got to take art, weaving, and other interesting topics. It really worked for me.

What was your path to NYU?

After completing my master’s at Columbia and my doctorate at NYU, I was an associate professor at Downstate Medical Center-SUNY. The chair of the Occupational Therapy department at NYU at the time knew there was an upcoming opening for the director of post-professional programs, so I applied and was hired. After five years, I was promoted to a full professor, and I’ve been here ever since. During my time here I taught primarily theory. My whole core knowledge that I’m known for is the theoretical base of practice and how it influences day-to-day practice.

What were your favorite aspects of working in the department?

I taught mostly post-professional classes that are relatively small, and therefore I got to create assignments that relied on a lot of involvement with the students. It helped me really get to know them as they’re developing various projects or looking at a particular theory. Really getting to know the students as individuals had been the most rewarding.

Do you have any stand-out memories from your 25 years here?

One memory that sticks out is that of so many student’s achievements after they have finished the program. Many of my doctoral students have surpassed me and my expectations of what I thought they would achieve, worldwide. I have past students who are now deans in schools across the country, program directors, and directors of research in their institutions. One of the most meaningful experiences is when I get to go to a conference and students come up to me and thank me for particular focus that they have or something that I had offered in a class. It feels good to know their time in the department influenced them in such a positive way.

What about life after NYU? Any big plans for retirement?

I think that with retirement will come more control of my own time. I don’t want to make too many particular plans or goals right now, but I want to use it as an opportunity to grow in a way that I will find interesting, like trying out some volunteer work. Also, I have to find a way to fit all the contents of my NYU office into my current (small) apartment!

What kind of legacy would you like to leave at Steinhardt?

I’d like to think I will leave the legacy of a strong focus on theory-based practices in the classroom, as well as some of the things that I introduced into the curriculum like textbooks that are still being used today. Also, the conceptualization of both the PhD program and the clinical doctorate program. My colleagues and students are all incredible people. They are skilled, knowledgeable, and stimulating to work with. I’ve been very fortunate.