University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube


Meet the Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Students

Shain Davis, OTD ‘13, MA ‘12

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Arameh Anvarizadeh, OTD ‘07, BS-MA ‘06

Track: Policy and Administrative Leadership

I was and still am very interested in how public policy impacts the health and wellness of communities. In my OTD coursework, I made sure to take classes in the USC Price School of Public Policy and I also took leadership courses so that I can continue to develop programs, create organizational structures, and be an influence in the growth of associations, academia, and facilities in which I am involved. I believe that it is because of my OTD that I have received so many career growth opportunities including: program development committees, guest lectures/presentations, video presentations, labor/management committees, state and national association leadership, AOTA Emerging Leader program, non-profit board, and leadership roles at my facility.

Chantelle Rice, OTD ‘09, BS-MA ‘08

Track: Advanced Clinical Practice

I wanted to expand occupational therapy services at USC into the realm of diabetes management. In additional to my occupational science and occupational therapy coursework, I took PM 599: Public Health Approaches to Diabetes, a Preventive Medicine course at the Keck School of Medicine, for the most recent medical-based research and client-center practice and ANTH 604: Bodies and Practice, an Anthropology course, to increase my ability to perceive the “lived-experience” of illness from the clients’ perspective.  For my OTD project, I created the USC Lifestyle Redesign® Diabetes Program and at the conclusion of my OTD, I was hired by the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice to continue to implement that program.