Jenny Martínez OTD, OTR/L, BCG
Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy
Room: CHP 101E
Jenny MartÍnez’s expertise center on bridging the gap between science, policy and practice with the goal of improving quality of care and diminishing systemic health disparities. Specifically, she is interested in best practices for stakeholder engagement, knowledge translation and implementation, qualitative inquiry and culturally sensitive care for older adults and marginalized populations.
To this end, Dr. MartÍnez has a history of disseminating research on how stakeholder engagement within post-acute care research can improve health outcomes for older adults and distinguish occupational therapy’s distinct value amidst changing legislation. She has investigated the role of language discordance within a rehabilitation episode of care and developed a tailored, occupation-based intervention for older Latino adults. In addition, Dr. MartÍnez actively mentors current and future students to promote workforce diversity, inclusive practices and cultivate agents of change.
Dr. MartÍnez’s clinical experience spans both inpatient and outpatient settings with a focus on adults across the life continuum. Within the Chan Division, she teaches courses in developing occupation-based community programs and communication strategies with Spanish-speaking clients.
Dr. MartÍnez is an American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Emerging Leader (2015-16), Chairperson of AOTA’s Gerontology Special Interest Section (2016-19) and recipient of the 2016 AOTA Gary Kielhofner Emerging Leader Award. She holds an AOTA Board Certification in Gerontology.
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
2011 | University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA)
in Occupational Therapy
2010 | University of Southern California
Bachelor of Science (BS)
in Occupational Therapy
2009 | University of Southern California
Bachelor of Science (BS)
in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
2009 | University of Southern California
Schepens Niemiec, S. L., Blanchard, J., Vigen, C., Martínez, J., Guzmán, L., Concha, A., Fluke, M., & Carlson, M. (2018). Evaluation of ¡Vivir Mi Vida! to improve health and wellness of rural-dwelling, late middle-aged Latino adults: Results of a feasibility and pilot study of a lifestyle intervention. Primary Health Care Research & Development, 19, 448-463. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1463423617000901 Show abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility and efficacy of a culturally tailored lifestyle intervention, ¡Vivir Mi Vida! (Live My Life!). This intervention was designed to improve the health and well-being of high risk late middle-aged Latino adults and to be implemented in a rural primary care system.
Background. Rural-dwelling Latino adults experience higher rates of chronic disease compared with their urban counterparts, a disparity exacerbated by limited access to healthcare services. Very few lifestyle interventions exist that are both culturally sensitive and compatible for delivery within a non-metropolitan primary care context.
Methods. Participants were 37 Latino, Spanish-speaking adults aged 50–64-years-old, recruited from a rural health clinic in the Antelope Valley of California. ¡Vivir Mi Vida! was delivered by a community health worker-occupational therapy team over a 16-week period. Subjective health, lifestyle factors, and cardiometabolic measures were collected pre- and post-intervention. Follow-up interviews and focus groups were held to collect information related to the subjective experiences of key stakeholders and participants.
Findings. Participants demonstrated improvements in systolic blood pressure, sodium and saturated fat intake, and numerous patient-centered outcomes ranging from increased well-being to reduced stress. Although participants were extremely satisfied with the program, stakeholders identified a number of implementation challenges. The findings suggest that a tailored lifestyle intervention led by community health workers and occupational therapists is feasible to implement in a primary care setting and can improve health outcomes in rural-dwelling, late middle-aged Latinos.
Wong, C., Martínez, J., Fagan, B., & Leland, N. E. (2018). Understanding communication between rehabilitation practitioners and nurses: Implications for post-acute care quality. Journal of Applied Gerontology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0733464818794148 Show abstract
Objective: This study examined post-acute care (PAC) rehabilitation practitioner’s perspectives on communication.
Method: This is a secondary data analysis of a larger qualitative study, which included PAC rehabilitation provider (n = 99) focus groups that were held in a purposive sample of 13 skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).
Results: Participants emphasized the importance of bidirectional communication between rehabilitation and nursing. Three themes were identified: (a) communication between rehabilitation practitioners and registered nurses or licensed practical nurses, (b) communication between rehabilitation practitioners and certified nursing assistants, and (c) communication between rehabilitation practitioners and nursing leaders. Two subthemes within each of the three themes were further characterized to understand how information was exchanged: (a) static communication and (b) action-oriented communication.
Conclusion: Our findings highlight opportunities for better communication in PAC between rehabilitation practitioners and nursing and thus lay a foundation for future efforts to improve care coordination through enhancing interdisciplinary communication.
Schepens Niemiec, S. L., Blanchard, J., Vigen, C. L., Martínez, J., Guzmán, L., Fluke, M., & Carlson, M. (2018). A pilot study of the ¡Vivir Mi Vida! lifestyle intervention for rural-dwelling, late-midlife Latinos: Study design and protocol. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/1539449218762728 Show abstract
Older, rural-dwelling Latinos face multiple health disparities. We describe the protocol of a pilot study of a community health worker–occupational therapist-led lifestyle program, ¡Vivir Mi Vida! (¡VMV!), designed for delivery in primary care and adapted for late-midlife, Latino rural-living patients. Using mixed methods, we collected feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy data on ¡VMV!. Forty 50- to 64-year-old Latinos participated in a 16-week lifestyle intervention led by a community health worker–occupational therapist team. We conducted pre- and post-intervention assessments to evaluate the efficacy of ¡VMV! in improving psychosocial and clinical health outcomes. Focus groups and interviews were held post-intervention with participants and key stakeholders to assess feasibility and acceptability. This is the first trial designed to evaluate a lifestyle intervention that includes collaboration between occupational therapists and community health workers within primary care. The detailed description of methodology promotes research transparency and reproducibility of a community health worker–occupational therapist-led lifestyle intervention.
Schepens Niemiec, S. L., Carlson, M., Martínez, J., Guzman, L., Mahajan, A., & Clark, F. (2015). Developing occupation-based preventive programs for late-middle-aged Latino patients in safety-net health systems. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(6), 6906240010p1-6906240010p11. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.015958 Show abstract
Latino adults between ages 50 and 60 yr are at high risk for developing chronic conditions that can lead to early disability. We conducted a qualitative pilot study with 11 Latinos in this demographic group to develop a foundational schema for the design of health promotion programs that could be implemented by occupational therapy practitioners in primary care settings for this population. One-on-one interviews addressing routines and activities, health management, and health care utilization were conducted, audiotaped, and transcribed. Results of a content analysis of the qualitative data revealed the following six domains of most concern: Weight Management; Disease Management; Mental Health and Well-Being; Personal Finances; Family, Friends, and Community; and Stress Management. A typology of perceived health-actualizing strategies was derived for each domain. This schema can be used by occupational therapy practitioners to inform the development of health-promotion lifestyle interventions designed specifically for late-middle-aged Latinos.
Martínez, J., & Leland, N. (2015). Language discordance and patient-centered care in occupational therapy: A case study. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 35(2), 120-128. https://doi.org/10.1177/1539449215575265 Show abstract
The accumulative burden of a growing non-English speaking minority population and health disparities in the United States demonstrate the urgency of examining occupational therapy practices and defining care that is timely, effective, safe, and patient-centered. In this context, we investigate an occupational therapy episode of care from the perspectives of patient, caregiver, and primary occupational therapy care provider. Treatment sessions were observed and one-on-one semistructured interviews were conducted with the participants. Several themes describing areas of concern in communication and care delivery emerged, including expectations for care, the therapy relationship, professional identity, and pragmatic constraints. The use of untrained interpreters compromised treatment effectiveness and safety. This case highlights potential areas of concern in therapy when working with a diverse patient population. Abundant opportunities exist for occupational therapy to situate itself as an equitable, responsive, valuable, and essential service.