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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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Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L, CNT(she/her/hers)

Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L, CNT

Assistant Professor

CHP 222R
(323) 442-2154
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Download Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Pineda served in pediatric clinical roles at Tampa General Rehabilitation, All Children’s Hospital, Duke University Medical Center and University of Florida Shands Hospital from 1992 through 2006, where she gained expertise with outpatient and inpatient pediatric therapy, including services to fragile infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. The premature birth of her first child in addition to her ongoing interest in learning, led her to pursue her doctorate to conduct research with premature infants. Her dissertation investigated an educational intervention to promote breastfeeding in very low birth weight infants. Upon graduation with her doctorate in 2006, she began working at Washington University, where she spent 12 years exploring factors that can improve the lives of infants born prematurely.

She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the National Association of Neonatal Therapists. She is the co-chair of the Neonatal Therapy National Certification Board, which aims to validate the experience and knowledge of those practicing in this advanced area of occupational therapy. She joined USC’s faculty in early 2020, and plans to continue her research that can impact the lives of high-risk infants and families, and continue mentoring and advising occupational therapy students.

Research Interests

Dr. Pineda’s research interests include investigating factors associated with cerebral alterations and adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in high risk newborn infants, specifically infants born prematurely. Early factors that can impede function and are being investigated include the environment (low stimulation environments as well as higher stimulation environments), stress, pain, medical complications and interventions, parenting, brain injury and prenatal exposures. Dr. Pineda has investigated the differences in language and sound exposure across different NICU room types (open ward compared to NICU private room) and investigated associations with brain structure and outcome. Dr. Pineda has also developed a sensory-based intervention, the Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program, which is supported by current evidence and aims to engage parents in providing age-appropriate, positive sensory exposures to their infants each day of NICU hospitalization. Dr. Pineda has also developed the Neonatal Eating Outcome Assessment tool, which assesses the most important clinically and research-derived factors associated with feeding skills in preterm infants and can be used to improve the understanding of age appropriate feeding skills, improve early identification of feeding difficulties, and enable targeted interventions to preterm infants with eating problems. Other research interests include neurobehavioral assessment of preterm infants and early identification of developmental challenges, neonatal feeding, neurodevelopmental outcomes, empowering parents and early intervention services.


Innovation Award | 2020
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy

Impact Award | 2020
National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy

Patricia Buehler Legacy Award for Clinical Innovation | 2018
University of Southern California

A. Jean Ayres Award | 2018
American Occupational Therapy Foundation

Award for Research Excellence | 2017
National Association of Neonatal Therapists


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Rehabilitation Science
2006 | University of Florida

Master of Health Science (MHS) in Occupational Therapy
1994 | University of Florida

Bachelor of Health Science (BHS) in Occupational Therapy
1992 | Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University



Journal Articles

Whitehill, L., Smith, J., Colditz, G., Le, T., Kellner, P., & Pineda, R. (2021). Socio-demographic factors related to parent engagement in the NICU and the impact of the SENSE program. Early Human Development. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2021.105486 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Smith, J., Roussin, J., Wallendorf, M., Kellner, P., & Colditz, G. (2021). Randomized clinical trial investigating the effect of consistent, developmentally-appropriate, and evidence-based multisensory exposures in the NICU. Journal of Perinatology, 41, 2449–2462. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-021-01078-7 Show abstract

Heiny, E., Wolf, S., Collins, M., Kellner, P. D., & Pineda, R. (2021). Factors related to enrollment in early therapy services following neonatal intensive care unit discharge. Acta Paediatrica, 110(5), 1468-1474. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15700 Show abstract

Meether, M., Bush, C. N., Richter, M., & Pineda, R. (2021). Neurobehavior of very preterm infants at term equivalent age is related to early childhood outcomes. Acta Paediatrica, 110(4), 1181-1188. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15595 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Roussin, J., Kwon, J., Heiny, E., Colditz, G., & Smith, J. (2021). Applying the RE-AIM framework to evaluate the implementation of the Supporting and Enhancing NICU Sensory Experiences (SENSE) program. BMC Pediatrics, 21, 137. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12887-021-02594-3 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Kwon, J., Kellner, P., Wallendorf, M., Smith, J., & Pineda, R. (2020). Neonatal feeding performance is related to feeding outcomes in childhood. Early Human Development, 151, 105202. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2020.105202 Show abstract

Liszka, L., Heiny, E., Smith, J., Schlaggar, B. L., Mathur, A., & Pineda, R. (2020). Auditory exposure of high‐risk infants discharged from the NICU and the impact of social factors. Acta Paediatrica, 109(10), 2049-2056. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.15209 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Heiny, E., Roussin, J., Nellis, P., Bogan, K., & Smith, J. (2020). Implementation of the Baby Bridge program reduces timing between NICU discharge and therapy activation. Journal of Early Intervention, 42(3), 275-296. https://doi.org/10.1177/1053815119900241 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Liszka, L., & Inder, T. (2020). Early neurobehavior at 30 weeks postmenstrual age is related to outcome at term equivalent age. Early Human Development, 146, 105057. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2020.105057 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Heiny, E., Nellis, P., Smith, J., McGrath, J. M., Collins, M., & Barker, A. (2020). The Baby Bridge program: A sustainable program that can improve therapy service delivery for preterm infants following NICU discharge. PLoS ONE, 15(5), e0233411. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0233411 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Wallendorf, M., & Smith, J. (2020). A pilot study demonstrating the impact of the supporting and enhancing NICU sensory experiences (SENSE) program on the mother and infant. Early Human Development, 144, 105000. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2020.105000 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Prince, D., Reynolds, J., Grabill, M., & Smith, J. (2020). Preterm infant feeding performance at term equivalent age differs from that of full-term infants. Journal of Perinatology, 40, 646–654. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41372-020-0616-2 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Liszka, L., Kwon, J., & Wallendorf, M. (2020). Interrater reliability and concurrent validity of the Neonatal Eating Outcome Assessment. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74(2), 7402205050. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2020.039578 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Muñoz, R., Chrzastowski, H., Dunsirn-Baillie, S., Wallendorf, M., & Smith, J. (2020). Maternal milk and relationships to early neurobehavioral outcome in preterm infants. Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing, 34(1), 72-79. https://doi.org/10.1097/JPN.0000000000000460 Show abstract


Book Chapters

Smith, J. R., Raney, M. R., & Pineda, R. (2019). Developmental care. In L. Jain & G. K. Suresh (Eds.), Clinical guidelines in neonatology (pp. 577-586). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Journal Articles

Pineda, R., Roussin, J., Heiny, E., & Smith, J. (2019). Health care professionals' perceptions about sensory-based interventions in the NICU. American Journal of Perinatology, 36(12), 1229-1236. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1676536 Show abstract

Liszka, L., Smith, J., Mathur, A., Schlaggar, B. L., Colditz, G., & Pineda, R. (2019). Differences in early auditory exposure across neonatal environments. Early Human Development, 136, 27-32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2019.07.001 Show abstract

Clubbs, B., Barnette, A., Gray, N., Weiner, L., Bond, A., Harden, J., & Pineda, R. (2019). A community hospital NICU developmental care partner program: Feasibility and association with decreased nurse burnout without increased infant infection rates. Advances in Neonatal Care, 19(4), 311-320. https://doi.org/10.1097/ANC.0000000000000600 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Raney, M., & Smith, J. (2019). Supporting and enhancing NICU sensory experiences (SENSE): Defining developmentally-appropriate sensory exposures for high-risk infants. Early Human Development, 133, 29-35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2019.04.012 Show abstract

Pineda, R., DeGaetano, S., Kindra, M., Hand, T., Craig, J., Fernandez-Fernandez, A., & Collette, D. (2019). Neonatal therapy: A survey of current practice. Journal of Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, 12(3), 285-294. https://doi.org/10.3233/PRM-180565 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Dewey, K., Jacobsen, A., & Smith, J. (2019). Non-nutritive sucking in the preterm infant. American Journal of Perinatology, 36(3), 268-276. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0038-1667289 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Pineda, R., Luong, A., Ryckman, J., & Smith, J. (2018). Pacifier use in newborns: related to socioeconomic status but not to early feeding performance. Acta Paediatrica, 107(5), 806-810. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.14253 Show abstract

Harris, R., Gibbs, D., Mangin-Heimos, K., & Pineda, R. (2018). Maternal mental health during the neonatal period: Relationships to the occupation of parenting. Early Human Development, 120, 31-39. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2018.03.009 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Harris, R., Foci, F., Roussin, J., & Wallendorf, M. (2018). Neonatal Eating Outcome Assessment: tool development and inter‐rater reliability. Acta Paediatrica, 107(3), 414-424. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.14128 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Bender, J., Hall, B., Shabosky, L., Annecca, A., & Smith, J. (2018). Parent participation in the neonatal intensive care unit: Predictors and relationships to neurobehavior and developmental outcomes. Early Human Development, 117, 32-38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2017.12.008 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Ryckman, J., Hilton, C., Rogers, C., & Pineda, R. (2017). Sensory processing disorder in preterm infants during early childhood and relationships to early neurobehavior. Early Human Development, 113, 18-22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2017.07.012 Show abstract

Ross, K., Heiny, E., Conner, S., Spener, P., & Pineda, R. (2017). Occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech-language pathology in the neonatal intensive care unit: Patterns of therapy usage in a level IV NICU. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 64, 108-117. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2017.03.009 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Durant, P., Mathur, A., Inder, T., Wallendorf, M., & Schlaggar, B. L. (2017). Auditory exposure in the neonatal intensive care unit: Room type and other predictors. The Journal of Pediatrics, 183, 56-66.e3. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.12.072 Show abstract

Nwabara, O., Rogers, C., Inder, T., & Pineda, R. (2017). Early therapy services following neonatal intensive care unit discharge. Physical & Occupational Therapy In Pediatrics, 37(4), 414-424. https://doi.org/10.1080/01942638.2016.1247937 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Guth, R., Herring, A., Reynolds, L., Oberle, S., & Smith, J. (2017). Enhancing sensory experiences for very preterm infants in the NICU: an integrative review. Journal of Perinatology, 37, 323–332. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2016.179 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Pineda, R. G. (2016). Feeding: an important, complex skill that impacts nutritional, social, motor and sensory experiences [short commentary]. Acta Paediatrica, 105(10), e458-e458. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.13535

Dunsirn, S., Smyser, C., Liao, S., Inder, T., & Pineda, R. (2016). Defining the nature and implications of head turn preference in the preterm infant. Early Human Development, 96, 53-60. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.earlhumdev.2016.02.002 Show abstract

Smith, J. R., & Pineda, R. G. (2016). Determining appropriate sensory exposures in the NICU: Too much, too little, or just right? [Editorial]. Neonatal Network, 35(2), 63-65. https://doi.org/10.1891/0730-0832.35.2.63


Journal Articles

Pineda, R. G., Reynolds, L. C., Seefeldt, K., Hilton, C. L., Rogers, C. E., & Inder, T. E. (2015). Head lag in infancy: What is it telling us? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 70(1), 7001220010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2016.017558 Show abstract

Crapnell, T. L., Woodward, L. J., Rogers, C. E., Inder, T. E., & Pineda, R. G. (2015). Neurodevelopmental profile, growth, and psychosocial environment of preterm infants with difficult feeding behavior at age 2 years. The Journal of Pediatrics, 167(6), 1347-1353. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2015.09.022 Show abstract

McPherson, C., Haslam, M., Pineda, R., Rogers, C., Neil, J. J., & Inder, T. E. (2015). Brain injury and development in preterm infants exposed to fentanyl. Annals of Pharmacotherapy, 49(12), 1291–1297. https://doi.org/10.1177/1060028015606732 Show abstract

McPherson, C., Neil, J. J., Tjoeng, T. H., Pineda, R., & Inder, T. E. (2015). A pilot randomized trial of high-dose caffeine therapy in preterm infants. Pediatric Research, 78, 198–204. https://doi.org/10.1038/pr.2015.72 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Melchior, K., Oberle, S., Inder, T., & Rogers, C. (2015). Assessment of autism symptoms during the neonatal period: Is there early evidence of autism risk? American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(4), 6904220010. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.015925 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Reynolds, L. C., Inder, T. E., Neil, J. J., Pineda, R. G., & Rogers, C. E. (2014). Maternal obesity and increased risk for autism and developmental delay among very preterm infants. Journal of Perinatology, 34, 688–692. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2014.80 Show abstract

Reynolds, L. C., Pineda, R. G., Mathur, A., Vavasseur, C., Shah, D. K., Liao, S., & Inder, T. (2014). Cerebral maturation on amplitude‐integrated electroencephalography and perinatal exposures in preterm infants. Acta Paediatrica, 103(3), e96-e100. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.12485 Show abstract

Madlinger-Lewis, L., Reynolds, L., Zarem, C., Crapnell, T., Inder, T., & Pineda, R. (2014). The effects of alternative positioning on preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit: A randomized clinical trial. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 35(2), 490-497. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2013.11.019 Show abstract

Pineda, R. G., Neil, J., Dierker, D., Smyser, C. D., Wallendorf, M., Kidokoro, H., Reynolds, L. C., Walker, S., Rogers, C., Mathur, A. M., Van Essen, D. C., & Inder, T. (2014). Alterations in brain structure and neurodevelopmental outcome in preterm infants hospitalized in different neonatal intensive care unit environments. The Journal of Pediatrics, 164(1), 52-60.e2. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.08.047 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Crapnell, T. L., Rogers, C. E., Neil, J. J., Inder, T. E., Woodward, L. J., & Pineda, R. G. (2013). Factors associated with feeding difficulties in the very preterm infant. Acta Paediatrica, 102(12), e539-e545. https://doi.org/10.1111/apa.12393 Show abstract

Zarem, C., Kidokoro, H., Neil, J., Wallendorf, M., Inder, T., & Pineda, R. (2013). Psychometrics of the Neonatal Oral Motor Assessment Scale. Developmental Medicine & Child Neurology, 55(12), 1115-1120. https://doi.org/10.1111/dmcn.12202 Show abstract

Reynolds, L. C., Duncan, M. M., Smith, G. C., Mathur, A., Neil, J., Inder, T., & Pineda, R. G. (2013). Parental presence and holding in the neonatal intensive care unit and associations with early neurobehavior. Journal of Perinatology, 33, 636–641. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2013.4 Show abstract

Reynolds, L. C., Crapnell, T., Zarem, C., Madlinger, L., Tiltges, L., Lukas, K., & Pineda, R. G. (2013). Nursing perceptions of clinical research in the neonatal intensive care unit. Newborn and Infant Nursing Reviews, 13(2), 62-66. https://doi.org/10.1053/j.nainr.2013.04.002 Show abstract

Zarem, C., Crapnell, T., Tiltges, L., Madlinger, L., Reynolds, L., Lukas, K., & Pineda, R. (2013). Neonatal nurses’ and therapists’ perceptions of positioning for preterm infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Neonatal Network, 32(2), 110-116. https://doi.org/10.1891/0730-0832.32.2.110 Show abstract

Pineda, R., Castellano, A., Rogers, C., Neil, J., & Inder, T. (2013). Factors associated with developmental concern and intent to access therapy following discharge from the NICU. Pediatric Physical Therapy, 25(1), 62–69. https://doi.org/10.1097/PEP.0b013e31827a822c Show abstract

Pineda, R. G., Tjoeng, T. H., Vavasseur, C., Kidokoro, H., Neil, J. J., & Inder, T. (2013). Patterns of altered neurobehavior in preterm infants within the neonatal intensive care unit. The Journal of Pediatrics, 162(3), 470-476.e1. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.08.011 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Pineda, R. G., Stransky, K. E., Rogers, C., Duncan, M. H., Smith, G. C., Neil, J., & Inder, T. (2012). The single-patient room in the NICU: maternal and family effects. Journal of Perinatology, 32, 545–551. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2011.144 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Smith, G. C., Gutovich, J., Smyser, C., Pineda, R., Newnham, C., Tjoeng, T. H., Vavasseur, C., Wallendorf, M., Neil, J., & Inder, T. (2011). Neonatal intensive care unit stress is associated with brain development in preterm infants. Annals of Neurology, 70(4), 541-549. https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.22545 Show abstract

Pineda, R. (2011). Direct breast-feeding in the neonatal intensive care unit: is it important? Journal of Perinatology, 31, 540–545. https://doi.org/10.1038/jp.2010.205 Show abstract

Pineda, R. G. (2011). Predictors of breastfeeding and breastmilk feeding among very low birth weight infants. Breastfeeding Medicine, 6(1), 15-19. https://doi.org/10.1089/bfm.2010.0010 Show abstract


Journal Articles

Pineda, R., Foss, J., Richards, L., & Pane, C. (2009). Breastfeeding changes for VLBW infants in the NICU following staff education. Neonatal Network, 28(5), 311-319. https://doi.org/10.1891/0730-0832.28.5.311 Show abstract