Theresa Carroll’s scholarship focuses on identifying OT’s distinct value in supporting adolescents with disabilities as they transition to adulthood. She collaborates with local community organizations to deliver innovative OT services to young adults with disabilities. She also participates in local and national groups to promote OT roles in post-secondary transition.
Research and Scholarship
The Scholarship of Practice model asserts that education, scholarship and practice are equally valuable, interdependent, and mutually enhancing. Our scholarship has long been recognized for addressing issues important to individuals and communities, resulting in interventions that enhance health, well-being and participation. See below for descriptions of faculty scholarship that illustrate the broad range of current efforts and impact.
Supporting Adolescent Transition to Adulthood
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Developing Occupation-Based Self-Management Interventions
Heidi Fischer works to enhance participation, inclusion and advocacy with people who have disabilities or chronic health conditions. She and her team contributed to the development and implementation of occupation- based, self-management interventions in the rehabilitation setting. She also participated in the creation of novel collaborative and interdisciplinary self-management services for the department’s faculty practice.
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Focusing on the Impact of the Environment
Gail Fisher designs resources that help students and therapists use theory to guide their practice. Her publications include assessments and practical tools that focus on how the client’s physical, social and occupational environments impact their lives. She also studies how the health care policy and payment context affects access to therapy and the role of occupational therapists.
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Strategizing Equitable Participation & Social Justice
Joy Hammel’s research focuses on four major areas: participatory action research with disability communities to identify key environmental barriers and supports to community living and societal participation; designing and testing innovative community living, participation and environmental programming; evaluating the impact of policy and systems changes on civil rights; and building community capacity and empowerment.
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Supporting Clinical Practice Change
Piper Hansen works to advance the use of best practices in neurorehabilitation and creating change in healthcare systems to support best practice. This includes projects that explore new assessments and interventions to improve consumer outcomes and demonstrate change as a result of occupational therapy services. Her additional research focus is on the use of knowledge translation frameworks and models in rehabilitation to reduce the amount of time required to translate research to practice and improve the use of established evidence based practice. This includes increasing the use of occupation focused assessments and interventions in rehabilitation.
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Promoting Behavioral Health
Celeste Januszewski prepares practitioners to collaborate with individuals who have serious mental illness in supporting them on their road to recovery. Her studies examine the challenges that individuals face when they move from nursing homes into the community. Other research focuses on behavioral health policy and the use of evidence-based tools in recovery-oriented health systems.
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Developing Technology for Pediatric Care
Mary Khetani directs the Children’s Participation in Environment Research Lab (CPERL). The CPERL team cares about advancing client-centered care and outcomes in pediatric rehabilitation. Lab members harness technology to build innovative tools that can accelerate family-engaged and participation-focused care planning and outcomes monitoring with individuals, organizations, and systems.
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Promoting Healthy Productive Aging
Jenica Lee’s scholarship seeks to understand supports and barriers to everyday technology use and participation in meaningful activities at home, work and in the community as people age. She aims to develop and implement best practice assessments and resources to promote healthy productive aging and caregiver support.
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Improving Healthcare Justice for People with Disabilities
Susan Magasi‘s research concerns peer support interventions to improve health care justice (including access quality and outcomes) for people with disabilities. She works closely with members of the disability community to shape and implement her research. She is recognized for her expertise in qualitative methods and knowledge translation.
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Developing Health Services Innovations for Social Justice
Mansha Mirza works to enhance health and social services for low- income, underserved communities, with a special focus on immigrant and refugee newcomers. Her current research focuses on policy and programmatic innovations such as organizational capacity-building, language access trainings, and collaboration with community health workers and peer mentors.
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Addressing Falls and Fear of Falling
Elizabeth Peterson‘s research focuses on falls and fear of falling: epidemiology, measurement and interventions for community-dwelling older adults and people living with multiple sclerosis. Her research also examines fall prevention practices among health care providers, fall prevention behaviors among service recipients, and strategies to evaluate interprofessional education efforts.
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Contributing to Neurorehabilitation and Fieldwork Education
Kathy Preissner advances best practices for people with multiple sclerosis. She has developed and tested group-based interventions for fatigue and caregiving, creating resources to translate knowledge to
practice. Her contributions to fieldwork education include a study to validate new items of the AOTA Fieldwork Performance Evaluations for occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant students.
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Promoting Family Engagement in Early Childhood
Ashley Stoffel’s scholarship includes promoting family-centered services to young children and families in diverse early intervention and community settings. She is developing and providing OT services through the UIC OT Faculty Practice: Children, Youth & Families. She is the UIC OT discipline and training coordinator for UIC’s LEND program (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities).
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Addressing Health Disparities
Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar’s research focuses on understanding health disparities experienced by people from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds who have disabilities or chronic health conditions, as well as their families. She and her community partners are developing and validating culturally relevant community-level interventions. They are addressing organizational, environmental, and systemic factors that promote health equity and well-being.
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Applying Conceptual Practice Models
Renée Taylor is director of the UIC Model of Human Occupation Clearinghouse. Her research includes the biopsychosocial predictors and correlates of post-infectious fatigue syndrome; patient-provider communication (i.e., Intentional Relationship Model); and how disabled individuals reconfigure their occupational lives (i.e., Kielhofner’s Model of Human Occupation).