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

Bobbi Pineda PhD, OTR/L, CNT

Assistant Professor

Room: 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.


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

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. 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. 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. Advance online publication. 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. Advance online publication. 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. 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. 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., 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. Show abstract

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Show abstract


Journal Articles

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. Show abstract

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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.

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. Show abstract


Journal Articles

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. Show abstract

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Show abstract


Journal Articles

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. Show abstract

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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. Show abstract

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

Pineda, R. G. (2011). Predictors of breastfeeding and breastmilk feeding among very low birth weight infants. Breastfeeding Medicine, 6(1), 15-19. 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. Show abstract