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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Mattingly among three USC faculty honored as 2017 Guggenheim Fellows

, in General News, Student News, Alumni News

Fellowship to support writing new book on stigma

By Mike McNulty with Susan Bell and Ian Geckler/USC News

Professor Cheryl Mattingly

Professor Cheryl Mattingly

Professor Cheryl Mattingly has been honored with a 2017 Guggenheim Fellowship, one of only three USC faculty members to receive the prestigious award. She joins a diverse cohort of 173 scholars, artists and scientists from across North America selected from a pool of almost 3,000 applicants by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise.

Mattingly, who holds a joint appointment in the Department of Anthropology at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, is a medical and psychological anthropologist who is inspired by phenomenology, the philosophy of ethics and narrative theory.

Her research — including Boundary Crossings, a longitudinal study of health care trajectories in 30 African-American children with illnesses and/or disabilities, their families and the practitioners who serve them — has focused on the experience of disability, family care and health disparities for minority populations. Throughout her work, she has aimed to document more than large-scale forces of social injustice.

The Guggenheim Fellowship will enable her to concentrate on her new book, Category Trouble: Stigma as Moral Experience. The book will explore recent attention to “moral striving” in anthropology that has highlighted how people struggle to transform or exceed the lives they inhabit — aspirations that can sometimes increase suffering. The writing will be more experimental than in her previous works, she said.

“Can I write compelling nonfiction short stories that also have a certain theoretical, even existential, resonance? Can my stories help us rethink stigma as a painful and personal lived experience, as a social marker of marginalized groups and also as a feature of the human condition?”

Since its establishment in 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has granted more than $350 million in Fellowships to more than 18,000 individuals including scores of Nobel laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, poets laureate, and members of the various national academies. The program remains an especially significant source of support for scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Mattingly said she was stunned at the news she had won a Guggenheim, but added that she felt a special connection to the honor.

“There is deep significance for me in receiving a Guggenheim because of the program’s long history as a supporter of innovation and creativity, especially in the arts and humanities,” Mattingly said.

“Although anthropology is generally classified as a social science, I have always been a humanities-oriented type. One reason I gravitated toward anthropology as a discipline was because its research approach and methods encouraged us to listen carefully to the stories people told us and to record those stories ‘in their own words.’”

Mattingly is perhaps best known to occupational therapists for her scholarship, beginning in the 1980s, on the clinical reasoning of occupational therapy practitioners. Along with Maureen Fleming, Mattingly’s 1991 articles published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy as well as their 1994 book, Clinical Reasoning: Forms of Inquiry in a Therapeutic Practice, are considered seminal works on the topic of occupational therapists’ clinical reasoning and actions during patient care encounters.

Two Chan students named Schweitzer fellows

, in General News, Student News

Projects aim to improve health status of vulnerable L.A. populations

By Mike McNulty

2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows Allie Schmiesing MA ’18 and Erin Malia Sako MA ’18/Photo by Kelly Tongoi

2017-18 Schweitzer Fellows Allie Schmiesing MA ’18 and Erin Malia Sako MA ’18/Photo by Kelly Tongoi

Erin Malia Sako MA ’18 and Allie Schmiesing MA ’18, first-year students in the division’s entry-level occupational therapy professional program, have been selected to the 2017-2018 class of Los Angeles Albert Schweitzer Fellows.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship supports university graduate students who conceive and implement projects designed to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Schweitzer Fellows partner with area organizations to identify an unmet health need, design a 200-hour service project with demonstrable impact, and usher the project from conception to implementation.

Sako will conduct her fellowship at the Painted Brain where she will serve people in Central Los Angeles County who are labeled with mental illness and address the need for accessible, affordable community-based programs that focus on managing stress and reducing stigma. With a community space located in Los Angeles’ Koreatown district, Painted Brain aims to provide sustainable community-based programs and solutions using arts, advocacy and enterprise for people living with mental health challenges.

Schmiesing has designed a program for older adults living in the greater Los Angeles community based upon research in the gerontology and occupational science literature that supports the use of reminiscence and inter-generational programs to improve quality of life among older adults. In conjunction with partners Front Porch and LifeBio, Schmiesing will facilitate participants’ reflection and storytelling to improve positive self-concept and quality of life across a variety of measures.

In 2016, 100 percent of new USC Chan graduates passed national certification exam

, in General News, Student News

By Mike McNulty

According to new data released by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy®, all 132 of USC’s new graduates successfully passed the Occupational Therapist Registered OTR® certification examination during the 2016 calendar year. This 100 percent passing rate was also accompanied by the highest average passing score of any Trojan cohort during the past three years on record.

OTR

The OTR certification examination — a four-hour test including three clinical simulations and 170 multiple choice items — is designed to validate a person’s essential knowledge for effective occupational therapy practice. NBCOT is the national certification organization for occupational therapy professionals in the United States which oversees the OTR examination. In California, OTR certification is a requirement for new clinicians to receive a license issued by the state in order to practice.

“Thank you to all of our faculty members whose diligent efforts ensure USC students are prepared for earning their national certification,” said USC Chan Associate Dean and Chair Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA. “And congratulations to our 132 newest Trojan occupational therapists who will surely have long and successful careers ahead of them.”

USC alumni last achieved a collective 100 percent examination pass rate during the 2014 calendar year, when all 118 new graduates successfully earned their OTR certification.

USC Chan appoints new associate dean, chair

, in General News, Student News, Alumni News

Dr. Grace Baranek to lead USC’s occupational science and occupational therapy program

By John Hobbs MA ’14
Updated article was originally released on Aug. 23, 2016.

The USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy welcomes newly appointed associate dean and chair, Grace Baranek on Feb. 1.

Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Baranek comes to USC from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she had been a faculty member for 20 years. She was most recently the associate chair for research in UNC’s Department of Allied Health Sciences and a professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

“There is no one better among those in the occupational science and occupational therapy community to lead our program into its next phase of excellence,” said Florence Clark, the division’s outgoing chair and associate dean who has served as its administrative leader since 1989. “I am excited to see what Dr. Baranek will create as we enter into the 100th anniversary of the occupational therapy profession and the 75th anniversary of occupational therapy at the University of Southern California. There is no doubt that her leadership will give USC Chan a very special luster and take it to new heights through its exceptional educational programs, innovative practice and scientific discovery.”

The August 2016 announcement of Baranek’s appointment came after an extensive nationwide search, led by Dr. Avishai Sadan MBA ’14, dean of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, after Clark announced her intention in 2015 to step down from administrative duties to focus on research and teaching.

“It has been an incredible honor to work shoulder to shoulder with Florence,” Sadan said. “She’s a force of nature, and I can confidently say the occupational science discipline and occupational therapy profession have taken quantum leaps because of Dr. Clark’s hard work and scholarship.”

The USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, like the USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy, is a division within USC’s dental school.

Focus on Autism

Baranek received a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois at the Medical Center before pursuing her master’s and PhD degrees in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Her body of research is heavily geared toward autism and related development disorders — a key area of study for USC Chan.

Baranek is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her research concentrations include early identification and intervention for children with ASD and related developmental disorders as well as understanding the impact of sensory experiences upon the lives of individuals with ASD.

In addition to publishing numerous research articles on autism — including one that won the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award and another that earned her the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology 2013 Editor’s Award — Baranek has added to the science behind autism by conducting interdisciplinary research.

She was co-director of the Program for Early Autism: Research, Leadership and Service, an interdisciplinary project at UNC Chapel Hill aiming to develop early assessment and intervention tools for ASD. She also served as the principal investigator of the Sensory Experiences Project, a 10-year research grant studying sensory features among children with autism spectrum disorder.

Baranek has been an AOTA Fellow since 2005, an AOTF Academy of Research member since 2008 and maintains active memberships with the American Occupational Therapy Association, the International Society for Autism Research and the International Society for Occupational Science.

While Baranek assumes her position on Feb. 1, she has already been involved with the division’s ongoing international initiatives. In October, alongside Clark and USC Provost Michael Quick, she welcomed a delegation from Peking University Health Science Center to USC to announce a new partnership that will create one of the first graduate program in occupational therapy in China.

Clark will take a year-long sabbatical before returning to focus on teaching, research and continuing to expand USC Chan’s global presence throughout Asia and the Pacific Rim.

Five Trojans aboard 2017 Rose Parade float

, in General News, Student News, Alumni News

Occupational Therapy Association of California float commemorates 100-year anniversary of profession’s founding

Float rendering courtesy of the Occupational Therapy Association of California/Fiesta Floats

Float rendering courtesy of the Occupational Therapy Association of California/Fiesta Floats

On the morning of Jan. 2, 2017, five USC Trojans will be floating high above the streets of Pasadena, Calif., during the world-famous Tournament of Roses® Rose Parade.

The Trojans will be riding on board Celebrating a Century of Occupational Therapy, the parade float sponsored by the Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) (PDF). The float commemorates the 1917 founding of the profession of occupational therapy and launches OTAC’s year-long public education campaign to highlight the impact of occupational therapy services upon individuals and society.

The riders with USC connections — current and former faculty members and alumni — include USC Chan associate dean and chair Florence Clark, adjunct clinical instructor Lisa Deshaies, OTAC president Heather Kitching MA ‘02, OTD ‘10, former faculty member Lela Llorens and Jesus David Vidana BS ‘01, a U.S. Marine Corps reservist who sustained a severe brain injury in the line of duty.

The parade caps more than five years of fundraising and organizing efforts led by associate clinical professor Sarah Bream, who has served as chair of OTAC’s Centennial Float Committee.

“The opportunity to work with such a visionary Board of Directors and dedicated committee as well as to interact with the profession around the country has been an extremely rewarding experience; beyond what I could have imagined,” Bream said in an OTAC press release.

The Rose Parade, which dates back to its inaugural running in 1890, includes floats covered in flowers and other organic botanical materials, marching bands and equestrian units and is followed later in the day by the Rose Bowl college football game, the 2017 edition of which features the USC Trojans football team. The parade is viewed in person by hundreds of thousands of spectators on the parade route and is broadcast on multiple television networks in the United States and more than 100 international territories and countries.

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