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
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Leah Stein Duker | Tailored Environmental Modifications (TEM) Lab

About Leah Stein Duker

Dr. Leah Stein Duker PhD, OTR/L’s research is focused on designing and studying the efficacy of tailored environmental modifications to alleviate behavioral stress, physiological distress and pain in children undergoing difficult healthcare procedures and in their caregivers. Her research interests include autism, pediatric oncology, sensory processing, Multisensory Environments and both traditional wired and innovative wireless techniques for measuring psychophysiological stress and anxiety.

About the Tailored Environmental Modifications (TEM) lab

How do environmental factors — including the physical, social, attitudinal, and political environment — impact stress?

The Tailored Environmental Modifications (TEM) Lab focuses on the broad-ranging effects of environmental factors on stress, well-being, and activity engagement during challenging healthcare encounters, and the efficacy of TEM interventions to alleviate these challenges. Using a variety of quantitative, qualitative and mixed method research methodologies, the TEM lab features highly interdisciplinary team science, bringing together collaborators from a diverse array of fields such as occupational therapy, dentistry, primary care, oncology, and engineering. Research in our lab focuses on the: (1) identification of environmental barriers and facilitators to positive healthcare encounters; and (2) development and evaluation of evidence-based TEM interventions to improve healthcare experiences for consumers and healthcare providers.

Current studies include the examination of healthcare encounters in: children with dental fear and anxiety, children with autism, and children with Down syndrome during dental care; adults with autism at primary care visits; children with cancer during chemotherapy infusions; children receiving treatment in the Emergency Department; and older adults with mild dementia and/or mild cognitive impairment living in the community.

As the OTD Resident in the TEM Lab, you may engage in the following activities:

  • Assist with academic and research-related writing associated with the lab studies and projects (e.g., grants, IRBs, manuscripts).
  • Assist with recruitment efforts in the Los Angeles area.
  • Assist with the assessment of study participants.
  • Attend weekly lab meetings.
  • Use and scoring of psychophysiological data (electrodermal activity) to measure stress and anxiety.
  • Present at local and/or national conferences.

The choice as to which specific study or studies the resident participates in will be based on study need as well as resident interest.

The residency will begin in August and continue through the academic year. The resident will dedicate 30 hours/week during fall and spring semesters and 40 hours/week in the summer semester.

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, contact Dr. Duker at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).