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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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Health and Wellness

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

Clinical Health and Wellness

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…

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

Clinical Faculty Health and Wellness

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…

How to cope with a complicated winter amid COVID-19 ⟩
November 17, 2020

Chan in the Media Faculty Health and Wellness Pandemic

Days are getting shorter, the pandemic continues and the holidays may be more isolating than ever. USC experts offer advice on how to make the best of it.

By Gary Polakovic and David Medzerian / USC News Months of being in isolation can take a toll on your psyche, especially during the holiday season. (Illustration/iStock) "Winter is coming, and it will be challenging," said Ashley Uyeshiro Simon, an associate professor of clinical occupational…

A trio of faculty members explore how VR can help combat neurological diseases ⟩
August 4, 2020

Chan in the Media Faculty Health and Wellness Research

USC’s Sook-Lei Liew, Judy Pa and James M. Finley are researching the benefits of virtual reality for patients with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or stroke.

By Chandrea Miller / USC News From left, Sook-Lei Liew, James M. Finley and Judy Pa in the USC SMART-VR Center. (Photo courtesy of Sook-Lei Liew) They've been called one of the most junior teams to lead such a high-profile USC collaboration. "I'm not sure if this is good or bad," said Sook-Lei Liew…

USC-designed smartphone app aims to get older adults “Moving Up” ⟩
June 3, 2020

Chan in the Media Clinical Faculty Health and Wellness Research

Less than 10% of people aged 65 and up meet the national guidelines for physical activity. USC researchers are seeking to increase this figure through Moving Up, a mobile phone app geared toward older adults.

By Rishbha Bhagi / USC Viterbi School of Engineering Stacey Schepens Niemiec has long been passionate about using technology to improve the health and wellness of older adults. She became concerned with the widening of a “digital divide” among older adults that was limiting their access to…

Making a difference: Occupational therapy fellowships impact homeless healthcare in Los Angeles ⟩
May 20, 2020

Chan in the Media Clinical Community and Partners Health and Wellness

By Matthew Lee / USC Homelessness Initiative Julian Prado works at the JWCH Center for Community Health, located in the heart of Los Angeles’ Skid Row. The community clinic is a specially designated Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) to serve individuals experiencing homelessness, providing…

Managing Stress ⟩
April 15, 2020

Health and Wellness Pandemic

Stress Management Tips for National Stress Awareness Day, from Dr. Tracy Jalaba of the USC OT Faculty Practice.

By Tracy Jalaba OTD, OTR/L In its most basic definition, stress is our body’s response to a demand. With the introduction of the COVID-19 pandemic and all the protective measures put in place to try to wrangle it, there has been no shortage of new demands for our bodies to try to adjust to! While…

For student Timothy Wang, it’s OK to fall asleep in class ⟩
March 13, 2020

Health and Wellness Students

In support of Day4Naps, a global narcolepsy awareness day on March 14, Wang shared with student ambassador Kaho Ishizuki more about his condition and how it has shaped his life and aspirations.

Timothy Wang is a bachelor’s-to-master’s student in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. After spending his childhood in Houston, he moved to Los Angeles two years ago to attend college. He enjoys spending time with his friends and family, reading, photography,…

The Art of Occupational Therapy ⟩
January 30, 2020

Academics and Courses Faculty Health and Wellness Students

For Amber Bennett, arts and crafts have always been meaningful. From constructing doll houses to making stained glass pieces and weaving baskets, Bennett has engaged in creative projects for as long as she can remember

By Noelle Schorn “Engaging in something meaningful to you can contribute to your health.” For Amber Bennett, arts and crafts have always been meaningful. From constructing doll houses to making stained glass pieces and weaving baskets, Bennett has engaged in creative projects for as long as she…

Video: Intelligent desk that promotes office worker health, wellness and productivity ⟩
November 21, 2019

Faculty Health and Wellness Research

When you think of an intelligent machine, what comes to mind? Associate Professor Shawn Roll, co-principal investigator of the "Coadaptation of Intelligent Office Desks and Human Users to Promote Worker Productivity, Health and Wellness" study, helps explain the future of intelligent workspaces in…

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