NYU OT’s 75th Anniversary Distinguished Alumni Panel

On Friday, October 2, NYU OT welcomed back six distinguished alumni to share their academic and professional experiences with current OT students. The inaugural event got the Department’s 75th anniversary celebrations off to a fantastic start. It provided a great opportunity for alumni to reconnect with the NYU community and interact with current students to share experiences and advice.

The event included remarks from six distinguished alumni, each with their own story behind their success within the field and how they got to where they are now.
The six speakers were:
Anitta B. Fox (’45, ’47): Among the first students at NYU to earn a degree from the Occupational Therapy program
Joan L. Sullivan (’70, ’75): Certified Hand Therapist; Owner of Private Hand Therapy Practice
Danielle N. Butin (’85): Founder and Executive Director of the Afya Foundation; Adjunct Professor at Columbia University
Glen Gillen (’89): Full-time faculty member in the OT program at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons
Suzanne Sanchez (’96): Senior Director of Therapy Services at the New York City Department of Education
Margaret Swarbrick (’96, ’05): Associate Professor at Rutgers University and the Director of the Wellness Institute at Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey

Click here to learn more about the speakers. Thanks to our alumni for coming back to visit!

NBCOT Therapy Ed 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 20th and Thursday, January 21st, 2016. 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.

Occupational Therapy Department Study Finds Writing Workshop Gives Seniors a Sense of Purpose

http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/site/ataglance/files/2015/06/LivingLegends.jpgA unique program combining a life review writing workshop with conversations between seniors and college students enhances the sense of meaning in life for older adults living independently, finds a new study by the Steinhardt School. The study is published in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.

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AT&T and NYU Announce Winners of $100,000 Connect Ability Tech Challenge

Tech ChallengeAt an event marking the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Senator Charles Schumer joined AT&T and NYU’s ABILITY Lab to announce more than $100,000 in prizes awarded to developers of high-tech solutions to improve the lives of people living with disabilities.

A panel of experts, which included Occupational Therapy’s own Anita Perr, judged the competition and awarded $100,000 in prize money that was made available by AT&T and the Rehabilitation Engineering & Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA).

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NYU at the 2015 AOTA Conference

The 95th Annual AOTA Conference and Expo was held April 16-19, 2015, in Nashville, Tennessee. The conference celebrated its 50th anniversary with the theme, “Giving Voice to the Distinct Value of Occupational Therapy.”

For the first time, the department had 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 coordinator. The interaction between prospective students and our representatives was vital for them to learn about the NYU 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 17 at the Omni Nashville Hotel, welcomed alumni, faculty, and students of the department.

Scroll through our slideshow of photos from our exhibition booth and reception below!

The Department extends its congratulations to the many NYU Steinhardt OT faculty, students, and alumni who took part in the annual conference.

The NYU Steinhardt OT faculty participated at the conference through the following lectures and presentations:

Professor Jim Hinojosa and Associate Professor Tsu-Hsin Howe

  • “ePortfolios: The Way of the Future for Self-Assessing and Documenting Competence”

Associate Professor and Department Chair Kristie Patten Koenig

  • “Development of a Middle School Independence Curriculum: An Occupational-Based Program for Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)” with Dora Onwumere, MS, OTR/L; Lauren Harris; and Steven Seidman, OTR/L, all of New York City Department of Education, Brooklyn, NY

Associate Professor Yael Goverover

  • “Performance-Based Assessment for Adults with Cognitive Impairments: Research Findings and Practice Implications” with Mary Radomski, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Courage Kenny Research Center, Minneapolis, MN; Leslie Davidson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA; Deirdre Dawson,PhD, OT Reg (Ont.), University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada; Laurel Smith, MS, OTR/L, United States Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA; and Timothy Wolf, OTD, OTR/L, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

Associate Professor Tracy Chippendale

  • “Perceived Neighborhood Fall Risks and Strategies Used to Prevent Outdoor Falls: Does Age Matter?” with contributing author Marie Boltz, PhD, RN, GNP-BC


NYU Steinhardt OT adjunct faculty and current students participated at the conference through the following lectures and presentations:

Adjunct Professor Patricia A. Gentile

  • “Occupational Therapy Leadership in Designing and Implementing Injury Prevention Programs in Level I Trauma Centers” with contributing author, Mark A. Dekki, MPA. Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, Jamaica, NY

Ph.D. candidate Grace Kim

  • “Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics: An Interdisciplinary Pediatric Program for Service and Research” with Jan Rowe, DrOT, OTR/L, FAOTA, Children’s of Alabama, Wilsonville, AL; Deek Cunningham, MS, OTR/L, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL; Karmen Fischbach, MS, OTR/L, Jefferson County Board of Education, Birmingham, AL; Shannon Bennett, PhD; Lisa Rivera, MS, OTR/L, all of Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, NY


We would also like to recognize the participation of the following alumni:

Gary Bedell ‘86, ‘98
Lisa Davis ‘80
Diane Powers Dirette ‘97
Nancy Finkelstein-Kline ‘98
Glen Gillen ‘89
Sharon Gutman ‘97
Neil Harvison ‘04
Laurie Knis-Matthews ‘05
Fengyi Kuo ‘98
Ai Lian Lim ‘09
Supawadee Lee ‘02
Marianne Mortera ‘04
Alisha Ohl ‘12
Laurette Olson ‘02
Meira L. Orentlicher ‘08
David Pallister ‘95
Christine Peters ‘06
Mara Podvey ‘09
Christine Rotko ‘73
Joyce Sabari ‘92
Sarah A. Schoen ‘01
Steven Seidman ‘94
Francine M. Seruya ‘09
Chinyu Wu ‘95

If there are any names that have been left out erroneously, please let us know, so we can include them here.

Dr. Tsu-Hsin Howe Appointed Director of Post Professional Program

In January 2015, Dr. Tsu-Hsin Howe was named Director of the Post-Professional Programs, where she joins Dr. Sally Poole, director of the Professional Program and Dr. Kristie Patten Koenig, department chair as part of the academic leadership team. Dr. Howe has been with the department as a faculty member since Fall 2007, and has since established an active research agenda. Her research focuses on examining motor behaviors in children who are at high-risk for developmental delay.

She was recently awarded a University Challenge Grant to work with faculty from NYU Polytechnic to develop and calibrate a sensor mat in order to assess infants’ postural development sequence based on the characteristics of their pressure distributions in prone positions. This research will eventually produce information for use within special populations including children with Erb’s palsy, Cerebral Palsy, Torticollis, developmental disabilities and prematurity. Dr. Howe also has ongoing research collaborations with Mount Sinai Medical Center studying feeding outcomes of preterm infants beyond the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) environment. The focus is to investigate the potential feeding issues preterm infants might have after discharged from the NICU and the possible effects on parental stress. Finally, Dr. Howe collaborates with Dr. Tien-Ni Wang, an assistant professor at National Taiwan University and alumnus of the PhD program in Occupational Therapy Research, to develop a digitized handwriting outcome measure for Chinese characters that assesses handwriting legibility and kinematic characteristics.

Dr. Howe received a BS in occupational therapy from National Taiwan University, and both an MA and PhD in occupational therapy from NYU’s Department of Occupational Therapy. She practiced in both community and hospital-based settings for more than 20 years, including 15 as a pediatric clinical specialist in Mount Sinai Medical Center of New York City before coming back to her alma mater. At NYU, she teaches classes on pediatric and research topics at both the master’s and doctoral levels. She is trained in neuro-developmental treatment in pediatrics and is certified to administer the Neonatal Oral Motor Assessment Scale.

AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge

Anita Perr, clinical associate professor of occupational therapy and a member of the ABILITY Lab, joined the Lab with AT&T to host a hackathon that kicked off the AT&T NYU Connect Ability Challenge. Perr is also a judge for the event. The challenge is a three-month global $100,000 software competition that leverages mobile technology to improve the lives of people living with disabilities. Teams will build technology prototypes that will help improve life for people with disabilities. By matching people with the power to develop influential technology and client users with disabilities, the challenge hopes to facilitate the development of user-centered technology that can be used by a number of people quickly.

The challenge has been open for submissions since April 6 and will remain open until June 24. It’s open to individuals, teams and organization with more than 50 employees. Perr has expressed her excitement of working with AT&T and the ABILITY Lab’s participation in the event. “The Challenge makes a strong statement on inclusion by encouraging and expecting developers to work with technology users in their design process,” Perr said in a RESNA article.

AT&T has an ongoing relationship with NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering. This year’s focus on assistive technology is timely, as it coincides with the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The four exemplars come from a variety of backgrounds. Gus Chalkias, who teaches computer access at Baruch College’s Computer Center for Visually Impaired People, is blind and is interested in navigation or wayfinding technology and technology to ease participation in recreational activities. Xian Horn, who teaches and is a public speaker, has cerebral palsy and is interested in hands-free mobile technologies with an emphasis on communication apps, such as social media, texting, email, etc. Paul Kotler, who is a student, blogger, advocate, and educator, has autism and uses a tablet and keyboard to write. He is interested in non-verbal communication solutions, easy document saving and retrieval. He is also interested in technology to monitor stress and anxiety to offer relief. Jason DaSilva, who is a filmmaker, has multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair. He is interested in hands-free solutions, detailed wheelchair accessibility information, such as door width, accessible business entrances, locations of elevators, and accessible restrooms.

The winners of the competition will be honored during a celebration in late July 2015. Click to learn more about the NYU ABILITY Lab, a collaborative research and education space co-directed by NYU Steinhardt’s Department of Occupational Therapy, NYU Tisch’s ITP, and NYU Poly’s Integrated Digital Media Program.

Shantel Isaac Receives a 2015 President’s Service Award

The NYU Department of Occupational Therapy congratulates Shantel Isaac, Professional Program Class of 2016, for receiving a 2015 President’s Service Award. The 31st annual ceremony, which was held April 21 at the Kimmel Center for University Life, recognized Isaac “For her altruistic nature and positive leadership as community outreach officer of the Occupational Therapy Class of 2016.” The award is given to student organizations and individual leaders for their distinguished achievements and service to NYU. Congratulations Shantel!

Frieda J. Behlen Scholarship Awardees for 2015 Announced

(From left to right) Precious Herrera, Charlene Woo, Callah Kimble

The NYU Steinhardt Department of Occupational Therapy is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2015 Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarships. This year’s awardees are Precious Herrera, Callah Kimble, and Charlene Woo. These three exceptional students will each receive a $3,500 tuition award for their Summer 2015 semester.

Precious Herrera is interested in pursuing a career in the areas of mental health, pediatrics, and neuroscience. Beyond that, she hopes to do work with women education and empowerment, as well as take her career abroad in developing countries. As an officer for the Class of 2016, she helps in the planning of social events and fundraiser opportunities for the department and her classmates, as well as supporting her fellow class officers in establishing connections with other NYU programs such as physical therapy and speech-language pathology (Communicative Sciences and Disorders). By volunteering for a non-profit in the Bronx, she has educated youth on occupational therapy and her experiences in NYU’s program. She hopes to someday be able to establish an OT curriculum at her undergraduate alma mater and eventually return to NYU as an adjunct professor.

Callah Kimble is interested in the emerging practice of sensory integration rooms in psychiatry. Originally from California, she chose to enroll in NYU’s OT program 3,000 miles away from home and has been inspired by the passion and commitment of the NYU OT faculty. She has made a priority out of attending the annual AOTA conference and is her class’ AOTA co-representative, a position that involves helping organize the trip and urging others to attend. Eventually, she wants to work as an OT in an inpatient psychiatric unit and, more specifically, practice as a clinician in an inpatient eating disorder unit/clinic. She also places a strong emphasis on community involvement and, as a result, is a member of the New York State Occupational Therapy Association, the Occupational Therapy Association of California, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Charlene Woo has watched her passion for occupational therapy evolve during her time at NYU. Coming into the program, she wanted to work in outpatient pediatrics, but her fieldwork experiences have led her to develop a connection to geriatrics and palliative care. She is her class’ co-chair, writes for the department’s SpOTlight blog, and attends NYU’s Therapy Collective events where speech language pathologists and physical therapists discuss their respective professions. She represents NYU at events for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, including NAMI Walks, and helps bring participants to their events as well. Whether she establishes a career by opening a private practice or by advocating for additional end-of-life care, she hopes to make a difference in occupational therapy.

The Frieda J. Behlen Occupational Therapy Scholarship is an endowed fund created principally by gifts from alumni of the occupational therapy programs at NYU. Income generated by the endowment is awarded annually to students who demonstrate superior academic achievement as well as financial need. With growth in the fund’s balance from new gifts, the amount given out has been able to increase and will continue to do so. The award takes the form of a tuition aid applied toward summer courses. Professional Program second-year students are eligible to apply.

The fund was named to honor the memory of Frieda J. Behlen, founder and longtime chair of NYU’s Department of Occupational Therapy. Ms. Behlen was known for never hesitating to find monies, even if from her own pocketbook, to enable deserving students to complete their studies.

To contribute to this and other Department of Occupational Therapy funds please visit http://www.nyu.edu/giving/.