University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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About Us
About Us

Meet Our Trojan Family

Charmi Patel, MAI ‘14

Charmi Patel, MAI ‘14

Post-Professional Master's program

Hometown: Mumbai, India

What brought you to occupational therapy?
I always wanted to be in the health care profession. After my high school, when I was applying for grad school, I heard about occupational therapy from a few friends. I got into OT school but I was waiting to get a transfer to PT school. As days passed by and I started to get to know what OT is and how I could bring about a change in the life of others, I decided to stay back as an OT. A doctor adds years to your life, but as an OT I can add life to those years.

What area of practice are you interested in?
Pediatrics and Mental Health

What are some of the occupations you engage in?
Culinary, Badminton, Designing Indian ethnic wear with my mom.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
I would want to time travel with a snap of the finger, so I could be near my family and friends just when I miss them the most.

If you could choose anyone (living or dead) to be your mentor, who would you pick?
One of my seniors from grad school, Pooja Mehta, and my mother.

Rebecca Brito, MAII ‘15

Rebecca Brito, MAII ‘15

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Orange, CA

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I initially wanted to go into physical therapy but after doing some volunteering and observation I realized occupational therapy was a better fit and I enjoyed it more.

What area of practice are you interested in?

I’m interested in working with veterans or working with individuals with low vision.

Describe your background before coming to occupational therapy.

I’ve worked as an English language instructor and an ophthalmic technician and have my degree in human development.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

I love to hike, take trips to the dog beach and bake!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?

Nothing. My top ramen is in the cabinet.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

To freeze time! I would be able to get all my homework/studying done AND get a full 8 hours sleep!

JoAnne Wright, PhD, OTR/L, CLVT, FAOTA

JoAnne Wright, PhD, OTR/L, CLVT, FAOTA

PhD program

Hometown: Salt Lake City, Utah

What brought you to occupational therapy?

I was born with an OT brain - it was great to find a field of practice where I could use this gift.

Why did you decide to pursue your PhD in Occupational Science?

It was new and exciting and made sense to me.

What was the most rewarding part of being in the PhD program?

The greatest thing I got out of my PhD program was an ability to think in a more dynamic and complex way about the world around me and how humans interact. I was awarded the Outstanding Professional Enrichment through the Creative Use of Theory Award and was in the first cohort of doctoral students in occupational science.

What are you are doing now?

Dean of School of Health Sciences; Salt Lake Community College.

Yasi Amanat, MAII ‘15

Yasi Amanat, MAII ‘15

Entry-Level Master's program

Hometown: Calabasas, California

What brought you to occupational therapy?

Once learning about this profession from a friend, I was intrigued by the multi-faceted dimensions of OT. This profession encompasses any and every component of the careers I had wanted to pursue growing up, into one lifelong goal of helping others in leading an active and fulfilling life.

What are some of the occupations you engage in?

Eating, being outdoors, and taking silly pictures with my grandma.

Tell us about your favorite memory from the program so far.

During the summer, in our Kinesiology course, we had the opportunity to go outdoors and play with parachutes. Although we were learning, it was fun playing parachute games together that we had not played since elementary school. We all absolutely loved it!

If we opened your fridge, what would we see?

Yogurt, salad, dark chocolate, and MILD salsa because I can’t handle spicy!

What are two truths and a lie about you?

I practiced gymnastics for 7 years, I only applied to USC for OT school, and I am allergic to kiwi.

Shain Davis, OTD ‘13, MA ‘12

Shain Davis, OTD ‘13, MA ‘12

OTD program

Track: Research Expertise

The OTD program has allowed me to practice as a pediatric occupational therapist while completing my residency on an active research study. In my residency, Beating the Odds: Facilitating Lifestyle Change in Urban Latino Young Adults with Diabetes, I collaborate with a variety of health-care professionals including doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and certified diabetes educators as I work to design a diabetes management intervention manual for young adults. I am taking coursework to further my clinical skills and leadership training and I hope that the intervention manual I develop will be used in the near future to conduct a funded randomized control trial examining the potential benefits of using a Lifestyle Redesign® approach versus traditional medical protocols.

Samruddhi Ghaisas, OTD ‘12, MA ‘11

Samruddhi Ghaisas, OTD ‘12, MA ‘11

OTD program

Track: Research Expertise

As a pediatric occupational therapist in India, I decided to come to USC for Sensory Integration and research experience. As a Master’s student, I took OT 610: Sensory Integration and for my OTD, I completed my residency in the Pressure Ulcer Prevention Study. To aid in my research, I took PM 536: Program Evaluation, which trained me in statistical methods and OT 645: Narrative, Healing, and the Culture of Biomedicine, which helped me understand the intricacies of narratives. My residency helped me understand how a major research-study functions and I developed my own case study focusing on the relationship between the development of pressure ulcers and lifestyle changes in adults with spinal cord injury.

Samia Rafeedie, OTD ‘06, MA ‘05

Samia Rafeedie, OTD ‘06, MA ‘05

OTD program

Track: Educational Leadership

I knew I wanted to pursue a career as an educator so while enhancing my clinical skills and knowledge of occupational science, I also took EDHP 587: Field Work in Higher, Adult, and Professional Education at the USC Rossier School of Education to learn more about pedagogy for adult learners in allied healthcare. For my OTD project, I designed a course entitled, “Integrating Occupational Science into Occupational Therapy Practice” for The Ohio State University, where I completed my residency and taught an elective course for students in the OT program. Obtaining my OTD has opened so many doors for me; it was definitely the best decision I have made for my career.

Michaelann Gabriele, OTD ‘13, MA ‘12

Michaelann Gabriele, OTD ‘13, MA ‘12

OTD program

Track: Policy and Administrative Leadership

In my OTD, I focused on understanding the effects of healthcare policies on the pediatric population’s access and reimbursement to care. I took OT 610: Sensory Integration to develop expertise in a specific area of pediatric practice and PM 585: Child Health Policy, a Preventive Medicine course at the USC Keck School of Medicine for an in-depth look at policy issues that address the pediatric population and insight into how such policies are developed. Through my coursework and residency at a private pediatric clinic, I developed a deeper understanding of business plans and administrative techniques that keep occupational therapy clinics running smoothly and positioned myself for leadership roles as I continue in my career.

Karen McNulty, OTD ‘08, MA ‘04

Karen McNulty, OTD ‘08, MA ‘04

OTD program

Track: Educational Leadership

For my OTD project, I created an occupational therapy intervention program: Lifestyle Redesign® for the College Student. I took courses through the USC Rossier School of Education - EDUC 531: A Survey of Students with Disabilities and EDCO 500: The Counseling Process - where I gained a greater understanding of the history of students with disabilities in higher education and reflected on my own skills as a therapist. I was able to form valuable connections on campus which eventually led to the creation of an OT position in USC Disability Services and Programs. I am now a full-time lecturer at University College Cork in Ireland and the OTD was the key reason I was hired.

 

Janna Kuntz, OTD ‘10, MA ‘08

Janna Kuntz, OTD ‘10, MA ‘08

OTD program

Track: Advanced Clinical Practice

In my OTD, I focused on assisting veterans in their reintegration following combat. I was able to individualize my coursework through two independent study electives: one in qualitative interviewing to help me assess barriers to engagement in rehabilitation and support services and the other in entrepreneurship through the USC Marshall School of Business to guide me in creating a community based, non-profit run by the very population I aimed to serve—combat veterans. Through my OTD, I founded Xtreme Sports 4 Veterans Incorporated and I was able to impact not only the culture of veteran support in my community, but also the lives of many combat veterans and their family members in Montana.

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