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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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News and Events

Latest Chan Division News

USC faculty win 2021 AOTF honors >
February 8, 2021

Three USC Chan faculty members have been honored with annual awards from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. Shawn Roll PhD Program Director and Associate Professor Shawn Roll was named to the AOTF Academy of Research in Occupational Therapy. Inclusion in the academy recognizes exemplary,…

Support children’s mental health by embracing failure >
February 7, 2021

This year's Children's Mental Health Week is February 1-7. The week focuses on the importance of children and young individuals' mental health. Associate Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy Dr. Shelby Surfas is a specialist in the area of pediatric mental health, and currently serves as the Director of Occupational Therapy at the USC University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) based at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. There, she has primarily addressed a nationally prevalent gap in occupational therapy services for children with mental health needs, while providing awareness and education, along with direct and consultative services, which have grown more than 500 percent since she became director. Dr. Surfas (interviewed by Student Ambassador Lamoni Lucas ’21) talks about pediatric mental health, the importance of children experiencing failure, and the crucial tips to support young individuals' mental health.

In occupational therapy, we encourage our students, our families and ourselves to be authentic, take risks and fully experience life. Treatment goals in pediatric intervention highlight the success of occupational engagement and participation. These may include learning to ride a bicycle, performing…

Pyatak named to NIH study section >
February 1, 2021

Associate Professor Beth Pyatak Associate Professor Elizabeth Pyatak has been invited to serve as a member of the Biobehavioral Medicine and Health Outcomes Study Section of the NIH Center for Scientific Review. Her four-year term begins July 1, 2021. Pyatak’s scholarship focuses on translational…

Faculty winners in AOTA elections >
January 29, 2021

USC Chan faculty members and alums Arameh Anvarizadeh ’05, MA ’06, OTD ’07 and Ashley Halle ’08, MA ’11, OTD ’12 will soon be contributing their talents to the national occupational therapy professional association, as each won their respective races for volunteer leadership positions,…

New study shows children with autism have less activity in brain region that observes, simulates movements >
January 28, 2021

Team of USC and UCLA researchers first to pinpoint reduced frontal lobe activity, helping explain some social characteristics unique to autism.

By Mike McNulty A brain region responsible for processing visual observations of others’ movements then mapping those movements upon one’s own body schema is significantly less activated in children with autism spectrum disorder, compared to typically-developing children and to children with…

Pineda named double recipient of inaugural NBCOT awards >
January 27, 2021

New award highlights the work of outstanding, certified occupational therapy practitioners.

Assistant Professor Bobbi Pineda The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy has named Assistant Professor Bobbi Pineda a recipient of both an Innovation Award and an Impact Award, two new honors designed to highlight outstanding, certified occupational therapy practitioners across…

OTD Alumni Talk About Finding Their First OT Jobs >
January 8, 2021

As many of our Master's students have already applied to the OTD Program and some continue to consider their options for next year, five recent alumni from our OTD Program — Ana Sanchez, Elissa Taylor, Nicole Wright, Ozan Yay, and Patrice Zhao — discuss their experiences searching and applying for jobs under unprecedented circumstances with our OTD Student Ambassador Daniel Padilla Vega.

Where did you complete your OTD Residency? Ana: I completed my residency at Mt. San Antonio College (Mt. SAC), which is a community college. Elissa: LAC+USC Medical Center’s Adult West Primary Care clinic (supported by the USC LRCC research lab). Nicole Wright OTD, OTR/L, CIMI Nicole: I completed…

Three faculty members on ballot in 2021 AOTA elections >
January 6, 2021

Meet the Trojans looking to make a nationwide difference for the good of the profession.

Editor's update: According to election results released in late Jan., Anvarizadeh and Halle won election for their respective positions. Congratulations, and Fight On! USC Chan faculty members Arameh Anvarizadeh, Sarah Bream and Ashley Halle are each running for volunteer leadership positions in the…

USC applying for 2022 move to accredited entry-level OTD >
December 9, 2020

USC's post-professional OTD graduates have traditionally worn cardinal colored gowns at Commencement. (Photo by Amber Morgan) The USC Chan Division has formally initiated the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education® process to transition its current accredited entry-level…

Celebrating unsung heroes during National Family Caregivers Month >
November 25, 2020

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a nationwide observance that recognizes those who dedicate their time and effort towards caring for family members in need. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of family caregivers and praise their strength and support. Within occupational therapy, including the family in treatment provides a wealth of benefits, and families can also act as a catalyst for further healing and engagement.

Six members of the USC Chan Division — faculty members Allison Chu, Celso Delgado, Janet Gunter, Stacey Schepens Niemiec, and students Delaney Smith MA ’21 and Adam Strizich MA ’21 — discuss the importance of including families in occupational therapy.

By Calvin Lee MA ’21 Allison Chu OTD, OTR/L Chu: It’s often been said that when you get married, you’re not just marrying that person but you’re marrying their family as well. Similarly with OT, when you’re working with a client, you’re not just working with the client but you’re also…

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