Nine members of the USC Trojan Family are cited as authors across three new research articles published in the July/August issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy.
Professor Sharon Cermak co-authored Atypical Sensory Modulation and Psychological Distress in the General Population. By examining a community-based sample of 204 adults who completed standardized assessments, Cermak and her co-author found the group with atypical sensory modulation — characterized by over- or underresponsiveness to sensory stimuli in one or more sensory systems — displayed considerably more psychological distress symptoms than that of the comparison group. The authors conclude that ASM may be a risk factor for developing other mental health concerns.
Seven USC Trojans — four faculty members, a staff member, an Occupational Science PhD student and an alumnus — authored Napping and Nighttime Sleep: Findings From an Occupation-Based Intervention. Authors include assistant professor Natalie Leland, alumnus Donald Fogelberg PhD ‘08, Occupational Science student Alix Sleight MA ‘12, OTD ‘13, PhD ‘18, research assistant professor Cheryl Vigen, staff member Jeanine Blanchard MA ‘99, PhD ‘10, research professor Mike Carlson, and associate dean, chair and professor Florence Clark.
The research team analyzed a sub-sample from the Lifestyle Redesign randomized controlled trial to describe sleeping behaviors and trends over time among an ethnically diverse group of community-living older adults. Of those participants who reported daytime napping at baseline, 36 percent no longer napped at follow-up. Among participants who stopped napping, those who received an occupation-based intervention replaced napping time with nighttime sleep, and those not receiving an intervention experienced a net loss of total sleeping hours.
Sleight also authored Toward a Broader Role for Occupational Therapy in Supportive Oncology Care with research assistant professor Leah I. Stein Duker MA ‘06, PhD ‘13, Postdoc ‘15.
Sleight and Duker advocate for an extended framework for those practitioners working in oncology beyond current conceptualizations of occupational therapy for cancer survivors that too often focuses solely on physical interventions. With a wider focus on function, the authors suggest that practitioners can better address the full spectrum of physical and psychosocial care for expanding the profession’s involvement in supportive oncology care.
AJOT publishes peer-reviewed research six times each year examining the effectiveness and efficiency of occupational therapy practice so that occupational therapy professionals can make informed, evidence-based decisions about best practice.
By Yasmine Pezeshkpour
Fariborz Maseeh ScD delivered the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy commencement speech on May 13.
Maseeh founded the Kids Institute for Development and Advancement (KiDA) in 2008 after his son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder at the age of 2. Maseeh credited much of the success of KiDA to division students and the guidance of associate dean and chair Florence Clark PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA.
The class of 2016 consisted of 10 bachelor of science, 156 master of arts, 53 doctor of occupational therapy and one doctor of philosophy graduates.
During his commencement speech, Maseeh took a moment to recognize Clark for 28 years of leadership at USC Chan. Graduates and guests joined in with a standing ovation for Clark, who is set to step down as associate dean at the end of 2016.
USC Chan students won three of the top six student scholarships, as ranked by dollar amount, that are administered by the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Founded in 1965, AOTF is a non-profit organization that administers more than 50 annual scholarships to students enrolled in accredited or developing occupational therapy programs in the United States.
Sarah Chang MA ‘16 received a $5000 North Coast Medical Scholarship. Joseph Christian Ungco MA ‘16 received a $5000 OccupationalTherapy.com scholarship. Leah Goodman MA ‘16 received a $2500 Kappa Delta Phi Scholarship.
Fariborz Maseeh will be the keynote speaker at the USC Chan Division’s 74th commencement ceremony on Friday, May 13.
Maseeh is founder and managing principal of Picoco LLC, an investment management firm that manages various assets and funds, and the sole founder and president of The Massiah Foundation, a charitable organization investing in transformational situations for broad public benefit.
A renowned expert in the field of micro-electro-mechanical systems, Maseeh founded IntelliSense in 1991 with the goal of reducing time and expense when creating next-generation micro-scale devices. Under his leadership, IntelliSense created the first custom design, development and manufacturing operation and became one of the world’s fastest-growing companies.
Maseeh holds more than 60 scientific publications in business strategy, fabrication technologies and design of software for micro-scale devices, and he has authored many patents and trademarks. He has given numerous invited talks at various organizations on science, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In 2008, Maseeh founded Kids Institute for Development and Advancement, an integrated center of excellence for the treatment of children with autism serving families in Orange County. KIDA offers education, therapy and social skills under one roof at its state-of-the-art facility.
After earning his bachelor of science degree in engineering with honors and master’s degree in applied mathematics from Portland State University, Maseeh earned a master of science degree in engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and a doctorate of science in engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Today he serves as a board member of the MIT Corporation, is the chair of MIT’s Sponsored Research visiting committee, and is a member of MIT’s Sloan School of Management and Brain and Cognitive Sciences visiting committees. He is a member of the Board of Fellows at Harvard Medical School, and a council member of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.
By Jenny Martínez OTD, OTR/L
The Good Neighbors-funded STAR program connected me with a USC research laboratory during my senior year in high school. I worked in the Alcohol and Brain Research Laboratory under Dr. Ronald Alkana and Dr. Daryl Davies. I spent several hours each day during and after school in the lab engaging in various research-related activities. I learned to read research articles, operated lab equipment, collected data for my research project, developed research posters and presented my work. I also received a stipend to work in the lab full-time during the summer with graduate students and STAR alumni mentors.
The STAR program gave me early, immersive and unparalleled exposure to the scientific process and academia that would have otherwise been out of my reach. I met people who helped me apply to college, taught me about college and graduate school, shared their experiences with me and supported me as I made decisions about my education. I find that I am continuing to build on the base of networking, research and professional skills that I started developing in STAR even to this day as an occupational therapist and faculty member here at USC.
Programs like these make higher education and professional careers accessible. They are truly worthwhile efforts toward addressing the devastating effects that a decreased availability of social capital, finances, and access to high-quality resources can have. These initiatives teach new knowledge, provide meaningful experiences, increase confidence and socialize students to professional skills and behaviors, all while expanding support networks that will be there even beyond college admission.
USC’s 21st Good Neighbors campaign, with a fundraising goal of $1.6 million, runs through the month of October.