Elizabeth W. Peterson, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Elizabeth Walker Peterson

Clinical Professor, Director of Professional Education, Occupational Therapy

Office Phone



1919 W. Taylor St., 325 AHSB

Mail Code


Office Hours

By appointment


Dr. Peterson has been licensed as an occupational therapist since 1986. Her clinical experiences are primarily in the area of gerontology, in both hospital and community-based settings. Dr. Peterson contributes to several courses in the occupational therapy MS program, often on topics in geriatrics, and she is the lead instructor for Synthesis III, a problem-based learning course that addresses practice-related -challenges that cause moral tension for occupational therapists. She serves as core faculty for UIC’s Interprofessional Education Steering Committee and is engaged in UIC-based educational and research initiatives to support development of interdisciplinary practice skills among health care providers and students. Dr. Peterson’s research interests over the past 20+ years have focused on falls and fear of falling with emphasis on epidemiology, measurement, and interventions for people living with MS and community-dwelling older adults. She has authored or co-authored over 50 chapters or articles in refereed journals and has collaborated or led over 20 funded research projects.

Selected Grants

Health Resources and Services Administration, ENhancement of Geriatric Care for All through TraininG and Empowerment: An Interprofessional Imperative, Co-Investigator (PI: V. Gruss; Co-PI: M. Hasnain)

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Management of Fall Risk in Full Time Wheelchair Users Living with Spinal Cord Injury, Co-Investigator (PI: L. Rice)

Publication Aggregators

Research Gate

Service to the Community

Dr. Peterson founded the IL Fall Prevention Coalition in ’08, and serves as the IL liaison to the Nat’l Council on Aging (NCOA)-led Falls Free Initiative. She is a founding member of the NCOA Falls Free Coalition, and has supported the AOTA’s efforts to solidify occupational therapy’s role in fall prevention through a variety of efforts (e.g., publications, conference presentations, CE programs).

Leadership in the Profession

Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy (ACOTE), Roster of Accreditation Evaluators

American Occupational Therapy Association, Primary Care Workgroup

University of Illinois at Chicago, UIC IPE Steering Committee

American Geriatrics Society/British Geriatrics Society Panel to Update Guidelines for the Prevention of Falls in Older Persons., Expert Panel Member

Notable Honors

2016 - Award for Excellence in Teaching (AET), University of Illinois at Chicago

2014 - Outstanding Academic Leadership, UIC College of Applied Health Sciences

2006 - Fellow, American Occupational Therapy Association, American Occupational Therapy Association

1998 - Amoco Silver Circle Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Illinois at Chicago


PhD, Medical Science, Karolinska Institutet, 2009
MPH, Social & Behavioral Sciences, Boston University, 1989
MS, Occupational Therapy, University of Florida, 1985