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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Research
Research

Current PhD Students

Kristine Carandang

Faculty Mentor: Beth Pyatak PhD, OTR/L, CDE

Research Lab: Chronic Conditions in Young Adulthood

Year of Entry: 2013

Kristine Carandang

Education

Master of Science (MS) in Occupational Therapy
2011 | Washington University in St. Louis

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Psychology
2009 | University of Virginia

Research Interests

I am extending upon lessons I learned from conducting diabetes research with Dr. Pyatak to conducting an exploratory analysis of young adults’ activity engagement while living with a rheumatic disease. My work privileges young adulthood as a unique developmental stage that is often overlooked in chronic illness research. My dissertation involves a three-phase mixed methods design, starting with quantitative surveys that ask participants about daily functioning, semi-structured interviews that explore participants’ occupational decisions outside of standardized variables, and ending with narrative interviews that allow for a richer understanding of participants’ experiences and views. With this data, I hope to develop occupational science theory around lifestyle tradeoffs, which involves the decisions that individuals make around activities that promote or deter from various health outcomes. Outside of my dissertation, I am actively concerned with promoting patients’ involvement within healthcare research planning and design. As such, I am involved with multiple patient-directed projects in my role as a researcher, healthcare professional, and patient.

Lucía Floríndez

Faculty Mentor: Sharon Cermak EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Research Lab: Sensory Adapted Dental Environment Lab (SADE-2)

Year of Entry: 2013

Lucía Floríndez

Education

Master of Arts (MA) in Communication
2011 | University of Southern California

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in International Relations; Spanish (double major)
2008 | University of Southern California

Research Interests

I am the Bilingual project coordinator for the SADE Study, looking at the impact of a sensory adapted dental environment on enhancing the oral care experience of children with autism during dental cleanings.

I am a PhD candidate and USC Center for Health Equity in the Americas Fellow whose work merges the worlds of occupation, culture, and public health. My dissertation, Exploring the role of culture related to in-home oral care routines in Latino families, uses a mixed-methods approach to first identify health disparities in oral care for children in Latino families with and without autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and then create a culturally appropriate tool (survey) to give to Latino parents. In phase one, by employing qualitative research methods like narrative interviewing and photovoice to interview 16 families (8 with typically developing children and 8 with children with ASD), I will critically examine the interplay between person and context, and identify how unique aspects of Latino culture and/or ASD diagnosis may influence oral health related occupations. In phase two, I will take the results from the qualitative data to tailor an oral health knowledge, attitudes, and behavior survey to be more culturally relevant to administer to Latino parents.

A Los Angeleno, I identify as a member of the local Latino community, and am passionate about research that explores the role of Latino culture in influencing health behaviors, as well as communicating culturally pertinent health information. Researching the in-home oral health activities of Latino children will expand the understanding of daily occupations in this at-risk population, and help to develop future targeted prevention and intervention programs, ultimately contributing to closing gaps in care and achieving health equity in the field of oral health.

Emily Kilroy

Faculty Mentor: Lisa Aziz-Zadeh PhD, Sharon Cermak EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Research Lab: A-Z Lab

Year of Entry: 2013

Emily Kilroy

Education

Master of Science (MS) in Developmental Neuroscience and Psychopathology
2010 | University College London

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Behavioral Neuroscience (Concentration in Psychology)
2008 | Purdue University

Research Interests

My research focuses on the relationship between social and motor deficits in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I use behavioral and neuroimaging techniques such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to better understand how sensorimotor brain systems contribute to both social and motor deficits in ASD compared to typically developing children.

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