Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
X/Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Bobbi Pineda | Occupational Therapy NICU Lab

About Bobbi Pineda

Dr. Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L has been conducting clinical research in the NICU for more than 10 years. The focus of her work has been on defining factors that impede function and developing interventions to optimize outcomes. She developed the Neonatal Eating Outcome Assessment, a new neonatal feeding assessment for infants prior to and at term equivalent age. Dr. Pineda also has expertise in early neurobehavioral assessment and is a trainer for the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Assessment Scale. She is co-chair for the Neonatal Therapy Certification program, which aims to validate experience and knowledge among those who do therapy in the NICU. Her team has also developed and implemented the Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program, and she is the recipient of an NICHD RO1 that is looking at the SENSE program’s effect on brain development and outcomes in preterm infants in the NICU. As a scientist and the mother of three preterm children, she constantly strives for a better understanding of how to improve outcomes for those who start their lives in the NICU.

About the Occupational Therapy NICU Lab

In the Occupational Therapy NICU Lab, we seek to better understand the impact of the environment, medical conditions and interventions on brain structure and functional outcome of the developing infant. Most of the current work involves premature infants born prior to 32 weeks gestation and who are hospitalized in the NICU. Short term and long term outcome measures are used that include infant neurobehavioral assessments and feeding evaluations, in addition to maternal, social and environmental assessments. The OT NICU lab also conducts research centered around engaging parents, accessing early intervention services, developing assessment tools, and new technologies and interventions to optimize outcome.

Recent developments from the OT NICU lab include:

  • The development of the Neonatal Eating Outcome Assessment: a standardized assessment that can be used from the time that feeding is initiated through the neonatal period in order to delineate alterations in the infant’s feeding trajectory.
  • The development and implementation of the Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program: a comprehensive approach to ensuring multi-modal positive sensory exposures across hospitalization for high-risk infants in the NICU.
  • The development and implementation of the Baby Bridge program: a program designed to address challenges associated with the transition from NICU to home and to ensure timely therapy services following NICU discharge.

About the residency

We are seeking an OTD resident who is passionate about gaining experiences with research in the NICU. This OTD Research Track opportunity will require the OTD resident to reside in St. Louis, Missouri where the RO1 SENSE trial is being conducted. The resident will be involved in obtaining informed consent, participating in sensory exposures for preterm infants in a level IV NICU, engaging in data collection including aEEG and neurobehavioral assessments, and contributing to other lab activities as needed. There will be opportunities for learning advanced neurobehavioral assessments and high-risk infant feeding, fully engaging in research within the NICU with direct hands on experience, and being involved in peer-reviewed publication and presenting at national conferences. Hours required: 40 hours/week during the summer semester and 30 hours/week during the fall and spring semesters.

Financial support

Individuals may apply for competitive division scholarship awards. These scholarships will cover up to 18 units of tuition.

Contact information

For additional questions, please contact Dr. Pineda at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).