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

Elizabeth Walker Peterson

Clinical Professor, Occupational Therapy

Entry-level OTD Director of Professional Education, Occupational Therapy

Office Phone



1919 W. Taylor St., 325 AHSB

Mail Code


Office Hours

By appointment


Dr. Peterson is Clinical Professor and Director of Professional Education ( E-OTD), Dept. of Occupational Therapy, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her PhD from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden, and has been a faculty member at UIC since 1993. Her accomplishments as an educator have been recognized with 11 internal awards including the inaugural (2019) American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Distinguished Educator Award. Dr. Peterson’s clinical experience as an occupational therapist is primarily in the area of gerontology/physical disabilities. She has actively engaged in research on fall prevention research involving people living with MS and community-dwelling older adults for over 3 decades, and her work has helped to articulate occupational therapy’s role in interprofessional fall prevention efforts. She contributed to the development and evaluation of Matter of Balance (MOB), the most widely disseminated falls intervention program in the U.S and continues to support program dissemination. Interprofessional education is also an important focus of her scholarly work. Dr. Peterson is a Fellow of the AOTA.

Selected Grants

Health Resources and Services Administration, ENhancement of Geriatric Care for All through TraininG and Empowerment 2.0 (ENGAGE-IL 2.0). Building Age-Friendly Health Systems & Workforce , Co- Investigator. PIs: M. Hasnain & V. Gruss (UIC)

Swedish Research Council, A self-management program to prevent falls in ambulatory and non-ambulatory community dwelling people with multiple sclerosis (PwMS), Co-Investigator. PI: C. Ytterberg (Karolinska Institutet)

Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, Development and Validation of a mHealth Fall Management Program, Co-Investigator. PI: L. Rice (UIUC)

U.S. Department of Defense, Functional Balance Intervention (FBI) for Physical and Cognitive Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, Co-Investigator

Publication Aggregators

Research Gate

Service to the Community

Dr. Peterson founded the IL Fall Prevention Coalition in ’08, and serves as the Coalition Director & 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 OT's role in fall prevention through a publications, conference presentations and CE programs.

Leadership in the Profession

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

National Council on Aging, Member, (Invited): National Home Safety and Home Modification Work Group; Consumer and Professional Education and Training Subcommittee (Initiative is a collaboration between NCOA and the USC Fall Prevention Center of Excellence)

University of Illinois at Chicago, Member (Invited) Center for the Advancement of InterProfessional Practice, Education and Research (CAIPPER) Implementation Taskforce

National Council on Aging , Member (Invited): Planning Committee- 2024 Nat'l Fall Prevention Summit. Committee members charged with developing the 2025 Nat'l Fall Prevention Action Plan

Notable Honors

2019 - OT/OTA Distinguished OT/OTA Educator Award (Inaugural award recipient). , American Occupational Therapy Association

2016 - Award for Excellence in Teaching (AET), UIC

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

2006 - Fellow, American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Occupational Therapy Association


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