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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Chan Division News

Latest issue of AJOT features 23 USC-affiliated authors
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Katie Jordan is guest editor of the journal’s special issue on primary care

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By Mike McNulty

Nearly two dozen Trojans authors – including faculty and staff members, students and alumni – were published in the Sept./Oct. 2019 issue of the American Journal of Occupational Therapy. The special issue focused on primary care, an area of occupational therapy research and practice that has significantly grown throughout the past decade. Associate Chair of Clinical Services and Clinical Professor Katie Jordan served as the issue’s guest editor.

“At USC, we’re showing how occupational therapy makes a real difference in primary care,” said Jordan, who oversees all clinical services offered by USC Chan faculty clinicians, including occupational therapy services at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. “Considering the broader context of health care’s shifts toward preventive, team-based approaches, I believe our profession is incredibly well positioned for what’s happening now and for what comes next.”

A number of USC Trojans have been working for years to increase the visibility, presence and contributions of occupational therapy services throughout the USC health enterprise. According to Associate Clinical Professor Ashley Halle, the division’s coordinator of primary care residency and services, USC Chan clinicians and doctoral residents provide primary care services at 12 USC and USC-affiliated across the greater Los Angeles area.

The journal issue also highlighted several of USC Chan’s research and educational programs conducted with primary care settings and populations, including lifestyle-based diabetes management, environmental modifications for adults with autism spectrum disorder and USC’s interprofessional geriatric care curriculum.

Five of the articles in the AJOT issue featured USC Chan faculty as lead authors, including Rebecca Cunningham, Leah Duker, Halle, Jordan and Elizabeth Pyatak. Additional faculty co-authors were Sharon Cermak, Jesús Díaz, Stacey Schepens Niemiec, Samantha Valasek and Cheryl Vigen.

Other co-authors included staff members Jeanine Blanchard and Elia Salazar; former students Maggie King ’16, MA ’17, OTD ’18 and Hee Kyung Sadie Kim MA ’17, OTD ’18; and alumnae Alison Cogan MA ’12, PhD ’17, Kiley Hanish MA ’02, OTD ’11, Sheama Krishnagiri MA ’89, PhD ’12 and Pollie Price MA ’94, PhD ’03.

Given the collaborative, team-based nature of primary care, it’s no surprise that five faculty members from the Keck School of Medicine of USC were also co-authors, including Keck School Dean Laura Mosqueda.

All told, the journal issue expanded the body of evidence supporting occupational therapists’ unique contributions to primary care teams, and demonstrated the distinct value of occupational therapy services for individuals, groups and populations in the contexts and communities where they lead everyday life.

“Occupational therapy practitioners bring a holistic perspective to caring for others, and there is no better place for providing “whole person” services than in primary care settings,” Jordan said.