University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD) Degree | Previous Projects

Development of a Child Care Quality Rating System

Monica Mathur’s interests in early intervention led her to courses OT 650 (Development of Adaptive Skills) and OT 610 (Sensory Integrative Dysfunction), which helped her consider best intervention practices for children within the context of their natural environments. Related courses PM 536 (course in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC — Program Evaluation and Research) and SOWK 603 (course at the USC School of Social Work — Merging Policy, Planning and Research for Change in Families and Children’s Settings) prepared her to develop an effective grant proposal and fueled her capacity to influence a large audience. During her residency at the Los Angeles County Office of Child Care, which offers recommendations to the County Board of Supervisors on how to improve the quality, supply of, and accessibility to, early childhood services, Dr. Mathur created her project, “Development of a Child Care Quality Rating System.” The project was used to assess services provided by child care centers throughout Los Angeles.

LEARN Program for At-risk Youth

Following through on a suggestion from his USC faculty mentor, Denver Niño pursued his interests in developing interventions for teens by conducting a needs assessment at Santana House Youth Action Center, a service operated by his residency site, Violence Intervention Program (a program of LAC+USC Medical Center). He learned that many teen clients of Santana House wanted to pursue alternatives to the risk-taking behaviors commonly found in their neighborhoods, such as gang involvement, substance abuse and violent behavior. Drawing on concepts he mastered in his USC occupational science courses and in PM 564 (course in the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Keck School of Medicine of USC — Public Health Leadership and Management) and PPD 675 (course at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development — Institutional Context of the Public Sector), Dr. Niño developed as his O.T.D. project “LEARN — Life Skills, Education, Awareness, Resilience, New Outlook: An Occupation-Based Youth Enrichment Program Devoted to Attaining the Skills for the Job of Living.” The LEARN program is a 12-week series of didactic and participatory activities that give at-risk youth the opportunity to acquire mastery of housing and community resources, self-care, social development and productive work and study habits.

Lifestyle Redesign® Program for Residents of Assisted Living Communities

In addition to OT 650 (Development of Adaptive Skills) and OT 651 (Adaptation and Disability), which helped her understand the occupational science literature and develop her ideas, Tina Yang completed PPD 599 (directed research in Special Topics at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development), which offered knowledge in how to navigate the nonprofit organization and GSBA 599 (directed research in Special Topics at the USC Marshall School of Business), which prepared her to market herself and her residency project to consumers. Her residency was at a nonprofit assisted living community, where she examined first-hand the needs of older adults with multiple physical challenges. Dr. Yang developed a Lifestyle Redesign® program for residents of assisted living communities to better address the unique needs of the frail elderly population. Recently, she secured a position as Director of Rehabilitation at a large senior living facility.

Development of an Introductory Occupational Science Course

Samia Rafeedie was interested in pursuing a career as an educator. In addition to OT 650 (Development of Adaptive Skills) and OT 583 (Lifestyle Redesign®), she took PPD 545 (Policy, Planning and Development course — Human Behavior in Public Organizations) and EDHP 587 (Higher and Post-Secondary Education course at the USC Rossier School of Education — Field Work in Higher, Adult, and Professional Education). Dr. Rafeedie completed her residency at The Ohio State University Department of Occupational Therapy, where she developed her skills as an instructor. With this first-hand experience in higher education, she better understood individual, group and organizational behaviors and thus was able to develop the course material for her project. The project addressed how occupational science informs practice, and was designed as an introductory course for occupational therapy students.

Re-green: A Lifestyle Redesign® Wellness Program for Environmental Sustainability

Inspired by her residency at the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice, where she worked with weight management clients using Lifestyle Redesign® principles, Camille Dieterle applied the same approaches to helping people adopt more eco-friendly ways of everyday living in the workplace and at home. Her project, Re-green: A Lifestyle Redesign® Wellness Program for Environmental Sustainability, targeted the USC community and included an hour-long workshop on “Going Green” and an 8-week series, “Green Lifestyle Redesign®.” The project considered more sustainable choices across the modules of food, waste, happiness, chemicals, transportation and time use, energy and water and nature as stress relief. Dr. Dieterle’s coursework included BUCO 533 (at the USC Marshall School of Business — Managing Communication in Organizations), which helped her develop strategies to establish a program that is delivered to numerous departments across a large organization, and GSBA 520 (at the USC Marshall School of Business — Business Fundamentals for Non-Business Professionals).