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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Deborah Pitts PhD, OTR/L, BCMH, CPRP, FAOTA

Deborah Pitts PhD, OTR/L, BCMH, CPRP, FAOTA

Associate Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Room: CHP 119
(323) 442-2855
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Biography

Deborah Pitts PhD, OTR/L, BCMH, CPRP, FAOTA is an associate professor of clinical occupational therapy in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.  Her practice expertise includes community-based mental health and psychiatric rehabilitation, in particular permanent supportive housing, and the ‘lived experience’ of recovery for persons labeled with psychiatric disorders, in particular occupational engagement and psychosis. She has provided consultation to local and statewide providers of community-based mental health and psychiatric rehabilitation services in California, and previously served as a CARF behavioral health surveyor. She has conducted numerous workshops and published in the occupational therapy, psychiatric rehabilitation and mental health literature on these topics as well. Her doctoral dissertation focused on practice reasoning of front-line service providers (i.e., Personal Service Coordinators) in a community-based mental health wrap-around program known as a Full-Service Partnership (FSP) serving persons labeled with psychiatric disabilities. More recently she has taken the lead for the Chan Division’s participation in the USC Homeless Initiative through her partnerships with local organizations providing services to persons experiencing homelessness to create student learning opportunities.

She has served in various volunteer leadership roles for the American Occupational Therapy Association including Mental Health Special Interest Section (MHSIS) Chairperson (2003–2006), MHSIS Professional Development Liaison (2006–2009), Chairperson for Adhoc Workgroup on Strengthening Occupational Therapy in Mental Health (2004–2005), Chairperson, AOTASB Expert Panel on Board Certification in Mental Health (2006–2009), Mental Health Representative, Board for Advance & Specialty Certification (2008–2009), and the AOTA Representative to the World Federation of Occupational Therapy International Advisory Group on Mental Health (2009–2014). Since 2018 she has served as the Co-Chair, AOTA Psychosis Community of Practice (CoP) and most recently was appointed to serve on the AOTA Occupational Therapy Advanced Certification Commission. In addition, she serves as a member of the California Behavioral Health Planning Council and the California Department of Health Care Services Behavioral Health Strategic Advisory Committee.

In acknowledgement of her long-standing commitment to advocating for the role of occupational therapy in mental health, she was the recipient of the 2011 Occupational Therapy Association of California (OTAC) Practice Award and the 2017 OTAC Award of Excellence. In 2019, she was named to the Roster of Fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Education

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Occupational Science
2012 | University of Southern California

Master of Business Administration (MBA)
1988 | Pepperdine University

Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Occupational Therapy
1974 | San Jose State University

Publications

2019

Book Chapters

Pitts, D. B., & Braveman, B. (2019). Integrated behavioral health and primary care. In C. Brown, V. C. Stoffel, & J. P. Muñoz (Eds.), Occupational therapy in mental health: A vision for participation (2nd ed., pp. 722-379). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

Pitts, D. B. (2019). The home environment: Permanent supportive housing. In C. Brown, V. C. Stoffel, & J. P. Muñoz (Eds.), Occupational therapy in mental health: A vision for participation (2nd ed., pp. 554-572). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.

Journal Articles

Henwood, B. F., Rhoades, H., Lahey, J., Pynoos, J., Pitts, D. B., & Brown, R. T. (2019). Examining fall risk among formerly homeless older adults living in permanent supportive housing. Health and Social Care in the Community. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12915 Show abstract

Henwood, B. F., Lahey, J., Rhoades, H., Pitts, D. B., Pynoos, J., & Brown, R. T. (2019). Geriatric conditions among formerly homeless older adults living in permanent supportive housing. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 34(6), 802–803. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-018-4793-z

2018

Other Articles

Milman, T., & Pitts, D. B. (2018, March). Contemporary issues on supervision in community mental health practice [Continuing Education]. OT Practice, CEA0318, CE1–CE9. Full text Show abstract

2016

Books

Krupa, T., Kirsch, B., Pitts, D., & Fossey, E. (Eds.) (2016). Bruce & Borg's psychosocial frames of reference (4th ed.). Thorofare, NJ: Slack Publishing. Full text

Book Chapters

Pitts, D., & McIntyre, E. (2016). Expression and occupation (psychodynamic perspectives). In T. Krupa, B. Kirsch, D. Pitts, & E. Fossey (Eds.), Bruce & Borg's psychosocial frames of reference (4th ed., pp. 211-226). Thorofare, NJ: Slack Publishing. Full text

Pitts, D., & McIntyre, E. (2016). Health promotion and wellness for persons with psychiatric disabilities. In T. Krupa, B. Kirsch, D. Pitts, & E. Fossey (Eds.), Bruce & Borg's psychosocial frames of reference (4th ed., pp. 245-264). Thorofare, NJ: Slack Publishing. Full text

Pitts, D., & McIntyre, E. (2016). Recovery frameworks. In T. Krupa, B. Kirsch, D. Pitts, & E. Fossey (Eds.), Bruce & Borg's psychosocial frames of reference (4th ed., pp. 37-56). Thorofare, NJ: Slack Publishing. Full text

2015

Journal Articles

Mahaffey, L., Burson, K. A., Januszewski, C., Pitts, D. B., & Preissner, K. (2015). Role for occupational therapy in community mental health: Using policy to advance scholarship of practice. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 29(4), 397-410. https://doi.org/10.3109/07380577.2015.1051689 Show abstract

2013

Book Chapters

Pitts, D., & Hayes, S. (2013). Assessment. In P. Nemec & K. Furlong-Norman (Eds.), Best practices in psychiatric rehabilitation. Linthicum, MD: Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. Full text

2010

Book Chapters

Pitts, D. B. (2010). Work as occupation. In C. Brown & V. C. Stoffel (Eds.), Occupational therapy in mental health: A vision for participation. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis. Full text

Pitts, D. B. (2010). Evaluation in mental health occupational therapy. In M. K. Scheinholtz (Ed.), Occupational therapy in mental health: Considerations for advanced practice (pp. 115-134). Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association. Full text

Pitts, D. B., & Gray, K. W. (2010). Collaborative work with teams and policymakers. In M. K. Scheinholtz (Ed.), Occupational therapy in mental health: Considerations for advanced practice. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association. Full text

Pitts, D. B. (2010). Supported housing: Creating a sense of home. In C. Brown & V. C. Stoffel (Eds.), Occupational therapy in mental health: A vision for participation. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis. Full text

2009

Journal Articles

Pitts, D. B. (2009). Introduction to special section on occupational therapy [Guest editorial]. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 32(3), 151-154. https://doi.org/10.2975/32.3.2009.151.154

Krupa, T., Fossey, E., Anthony, W. A., Brown, C., & Pitts, D. B. (2009). Doing daily life: How occupational therapy can inform psychiatric rehabilitation practice. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 32(3), 155-161. https://doi.org/10.2975/32.3.2009.155.161 Show abstract

2006

Book Chapters

St. George, L., & Pitts, D. B. (2006). Assessment. In M. S. Salzer (Ed.), Psychiatric rehabilitation skills in practice: A CPRP preparation and skills workbook. McLean, VA: United States Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association. Full text

2005

Book Chapters

Bola, J., & Pitts, D. B. (2005). Assessing the scientific status of “schizophrenia”. In S. A. Kirk (Ed.), Mental disorders in the social environment: Critical perspectives (pp. 120-136). New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Full text

Pitts, D. B. (2005). Evaluation and assessment. In E. Cara & A. MacRae (Eds.), Psychosocial occupational therapy: A clinical practice (2nd ed., pp. 477-507). Clifton Park, NY: Thomson Delmar Learning. Full text

2004

Other Articles

Pitts, D. B. (2004, March 8). Understanding the experience of recovery for persons labeled with psychiatric disabilities. OT Practice, 9(5), 8-10. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association. Full text

2001

Other Articles

Pitts, D. B. (2001, December). Assertive community treatment: A brief introduction. AOTA Mental Health Special Interest Section Quarterly, 24(4), 1-2. Bethesda, MD: American Occupational Therapy Association. Full text

1996

Book Chapters

Vaccaro, J. V., & Pitts, D. B. (1996). Psychiatric rehabilitation in community settings. In J. V. Vaccaro & G. H. Clark, Jr. (Eds.), Practicing psychiatry in the community: A manual (pp. 77-88). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Press. Full text

1992

Book Chapters

Vaccaro, J. V., Pitts, D. B., & Wallace, C. J. (1992). Functional assessment in psychiatric rehabilitation. In R. P. Liberman (Ed.), Handbook of psychiatric rehabilitation. New York, NY: MacMillan.