Julie McLaughlin Gray PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA(she/her/hers)
Associate Chair for Curriculum and Faculty, Director of the China Initiative and Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy
Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray is Associate Chair for Curriculum and Faculty in the USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, as well as the director of the Chan Division’s China Initiative. She has been an occupational therapist for more than 30 years and has extensive clinical experience in stroke and brain injury rehabilitation and has done extensive training and teaching in the Neurodevelopmental Treatment Approach for adults with hemiplegia.
She received her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from San Jose State University. She later received a master’s degree in occupational therapy and a PhD in occupational science from the University of Southern California. Her doctoral research in occupational science examined the personal experience and complex process of recovery from stroke and their relationship to occupation. Dr. Gray’s publications within the occupational therapy and occupational science literature address dynamic systems and occupation, defining the phenomenon of occupation, occupation-centered practice and the relevance of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health to occupational therapy and occupational science.
Dr. Gray currently oversees the academic programs in the Chan Division as well as the development of occupational therapy practice and education in China through the establishment of a dual-degree program with Peking University Health Science Center. She was named a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2015.
Dr. McLaughlin Gray is interested in stroke and brain injury rehabilitation and recovery, particularly concerning the survivor’s experience and the emotional consequences of stroke, as well as the multiple ways in which occupation can be used to promote recovery.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
in Occupational Science
2006 | University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA)
in Occupational Therapy
1995 | University of Southern California
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
in Occupational Therapy
1984 | San Jose State University
Aldrich, R. M., Bream, S., & McLaughlin Gray, J. (2022). Course creation as a response to intersecting pandemics: Enhancing students’ abilities to leverage and mobilize an occupational perspective. Journal of Occupational Science. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2022.2061038 Show abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, as did calls to bring an occupational perspective to an evolving situation. However, the role of occupation-focused education in facilitating responses to the global crisis was missing from this dialogue. This paper aims to address that gap by describing the development of a new course delivered at the University of Southern California in 2020 and 2021. Grounded in occupational science, this special topics course aimed to meet various teaching and learning needs for the post-professional occupational therapy doctorate program. This paper describes how the focus, format, and content of the course developed through a backward design approach to address topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic and intersecting, ongoing crises of structural racism and health and social inequalities. The primary course assignment, a knowledge mobilization product, provided students novel opportunities to leverage their occupational perspectives in response to emergent issues. The paper concludes by addressing three interrelated topics: the importance of institutional mechanisms that facilitate responsive educational innovations; the need to track the teaching and learning impacts of such innovations; and how such innovations reflect the importance of occupational science education.
Keywords. Occupational science; Backward design; Knowledge mobilization; Professional education; Occupational therapy
Fukumura, Y. E., McLaughlin Gray, J., Lucas, G., Becerik-Gerber, B., & Roll, S. C. (2021). Office worker perspective on an artificial intelligence workstation: A qualitative study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 75(Supplement_2), 7512505154. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2021.75S2-RP154 Show abstract
Accepted for AOTA INSPIRE 2021 but unable to be presented due to online event limitations.
This study explored office workers' perspectives on including artificial intelligence (AI) in their office workspace. Following an iterative analysis of six focus-group interviews with a total of 45 participants, three constructs emerged. Rich discussions demonstrated how acceptability of an AI workstation is complex and affected by the person, context, and their occupations.
Liu, Y., Zemke, R., Liang, L., & McLaughlin Gray, J. (2021). Occupational harmony: Embracing the complexity of occupational balance. Journal of Occupational Science. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/14427591.2021.1881592 Show abstract
Occupational balance is a central concept in occupational science, but it is complex and lacks an agreed-upon definition. Further, the concept has not been given significant attention by scholars outside Western societies. Building upon traditional Chinese culture and Chinese scholars’ Human Complex System Theory, this article presents a proposed Model of Occupational Harmony, offering an Eastern understanding of how the orchestration of everyday occupations relates to health and well-being. The notion of occupational harmony highlights harmonious human-environment transactions as the essence of the phenomenon and integrates multiple perspectives in previous occupational balance literature, including activity patterns, time use, occupational characteristics, need satisfaction, and biological rhythms. It is asserted that occupational harmony can be characterized as complex equilibria among three pairs of two-sided occupational characteristics and achieved via harmony among five dimensions of occupational engagement and coherence across multiple levels of human-environment transactions. This article is a beginning theoretical conceptualization of occupational harmony, allowing occupational scientists to embrace the complexity of the orchestration of occupational engagement.
Keywords. Occupational science, Occupational balance, Culture, Occupational engagement, Systems theory
Fukumura, Y. E., McLaughlin Gray, J., Lucas, G. M., Becerik-Gerber, B., & Roll, S. C. (2021). Worker perspectives on incorporating artificial intelligence into office workspaces: Implications for the future of office work. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 1(4), 1690. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18041690 Show abstract
Workplace environments have a significant impact on worker performance, health, and well-being. With machine learning capabilities, artificial intelligence (AI) can be developed to automate individualized adjustments to work environments (e.g., lighting, temperature) and to facilitate healthier worker behaviors (e.g., posture). Worker perspectives on incorporating AI into office workspaces are largely unexplored. Thus, the purpose of this study was to explore office workers’ views on including AI in their office workspace. Six focus group interviews with a total of 45 participants were conducted. Interview questions were designed to generate discussion on benefits, challenges, and pragmatic considerations for incorporating AI into office settings. Sessions were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using an iterative approach. Two primary constructs emerged. First, participants shared perspectives related to preferences and concerns regarding communication and interactions with the technology. Second, numerous conversations highlighted the dualistic nature of a system that collects large amounts of data; that is, the potential benefits for behavior change to improve health and the pitfalls of trust and privacy. Across both constructs, there was an overarching discussion related to the intersections of AI with the complexity of work performance. Numerous thoughts were shared relative to future AI solutions that could enhance the office workplace. This study’s findings indicate that the acceptability of AI in the workplace is complex and dependent upon the benefits outweighing the potential detriments. Office worker needs are complex and diverse, and AI systems should aim to accommodate individual needs.
Keywords. workspace; office work; computer workstations; artificial intelligence
Gray, J. M., Frank, G., & Roll, S. C. (2017). Integrating musculoskeletal sonography into rehabilitation: Therapists' experiences with training and implementation. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 37(1), 40-49. https://doi.org/10.1177/1539449216681275 Show abstract
Musculoskeletal sonography is rapidly extending beyond radiology; however, best practices for successful integration into new practice contexts are unknown. This study explored non-physician experiences with the processes of training and integration of musculoskeletal sonography into rehabilitation. Qualitative data were captured through multiple sources, and iterative thematic analysis was used to describe two occupational therapists' experiences. The dominant emerging theme was competency, in three domains: technical, procedural, and analytical. In addition, three practice considerations were illuminated: (a) understanding imaging within the dynamics of rehabilitation, (b) navigating nuances of interprofessional care, and (c) implications for post-professional training. Findings indicate that sonography training for rehabilitation providers requires multi-level competency development and consideration of practice complexities. These data lay a foundation on which to explore and develop best practices for incorporating sonographic imaging into the clinic as a means for engaging clients as active participants in the rehabilitation process to improve health and rehabilitation outcomes.
Gray, J. M., Coker-Bolt, P., Gupta, J., Hissong, A., Hartmann, K. D., & Kern, S. B. (2015). Importance of interprofessional education in occupational therapy curricula. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(Suppl. 3), 6913410020p1-6913410020p14. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.696S02
Roll, S. C., McLaughlin Gray, J., Frank, G., & Wolkoff, M. (2015). Therapist perceptions of the utility of sonographic imaging in the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal disorders [Poster presented at the 2015 AOTA Annual Conference & Expo, Nashville, TN]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(Suppl. 1), 6911515064p1. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO2093 Show abstract
Sonography is a relatively inexpensive imaging modality that provides real-time, dynamic views of anatomical structures. This session will discuss the results of a qualitative descriptive study that revealed a wide range of uses for sonography by occupational therapists.
Roll, S. C., Gray, J. M., Frank, G., & Wolkoff, M. (2015). Exploring occupational therapists' perceptions of the usefulness of musculoskeletal sonography in upper-extremity rehabilitation [Brief report]. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69(4), 6904350020p1-6904350020p6. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.016436 Show abstract
Objective. To identify the potential utility of musculoskeletal sonographic imaging in upper-extremity rehabilitation.
Method. Two occupational therapists in an outpatient hand rehabilitation clinic were recruited by convenience, were trained in the use of sonography, and implemented sonographic imaging in their clinical practice. Qualitative data were obtained during and after the implementation period by means of questionnaires and interviews. Data collection, analysis, and interpretation were completed in an iterative process that culminated in a thematic analysis of the therapists' perceptions.
Results. The data indicate four potential areas of utility for musculoskeletal sonography in upper-extremity rehabilitation: (1) mastering anatomy and pathology, (2) augmenting clinical reasoning, (3) supplementing intervention, and (4) building evidence.
Conclusion. Numerous potential uses were identified that would benefit both therapist and client. Further exploration of complexities and efficacy for increasing patient outcomes is recommended to determine best practices for the use of musculoskeletal sonography in upper-extremity rehabilitation.
Roll, S. C., Gray, J. M., & Frank, G. (2015). Competency development and complexities of clinical integration of musculoskeletal sonography by non-physician rehabilitation providers [Paper presented at the 2015 AIUM Annual Convention and Preconvention Program Hosting WFUMB Congress]. Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology, 41(Suppl. 4), S20. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2014.12.124 Show abstract
Objectives. Non-physician rehabilitation providers (e.g., occupational/physical therapists) have requisite expertise for effective use of point-of-care musculoskeletal sonography (MSKUS); however, professional curriculums provide only introductory-level image interpretation, at best. This multi-method study evaluated post-professional competency development and the complexities of clinical integration of MSKUS by non-physician rehabilitation providers.
Methods. Three occupational therapists (OTs) received weekly, 2-3 hour, hands-on training from a RMSK-credentialed OT for 3 months. Training included ultrasound physics, imaging protocols, image acquisition, optimization and analysis. Prior to implementing MSKUS in the hand therapy clinic, minmum competency for selecting protocols, acquiring and interpreating images was determined using patient scenerios. During a 10-month implementation, therapists self-rated competency in image acquisition and interpretation on a 10-point visual analogue scale following each MSKUS use. Data were divided into early, mid, and late time periods to evaluate competency development. Semi-structured interviews throughout and following implementation provided deeper understanding of the complexities of clinical integration. Three researchers identified themes through interative anlaysis of interview transcripts and multiple consensus meetings.
Results. Competency for acquiring images significantly increased (p < .05) between the early and mid phase (4.9 to 6.9), whereas competency for image interpretation did not show a significant increase until the late phase (5.8 to 7.6). Qualitative themes included numerous technical competencies nested within real-time interaction with the client, as well as perceived clinical use and professional constraints.
Conclusions. Utilization of MSKUS by non-physician rehabilitation providers diverged from diagnostic techniques to patient-centered applications (e.g., education, biofeedback). Post-professional MSKUS training programs for these providers will require an unique approach to address the various nested competencies and clinical considerations that differ from training provided to physicians and sonographers.
Schultz-Krohn, W., Pope-Davis, S. A., Jourdan, J. M., & Gray, J. M. (2013). Traditional sensorimotor approaches to intervention. In H. M. Pendleton & W. Schultz-Krohn (Eds.), Pedretti's occupational therapy: Practice skills for physical dysfunction (7th ed., pp. 796-830). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier. Full text
Gonyea, J. S., & Gray, J. M. (2012). Making the transition to career in occupational therapy: Student perspectives. The Advisor: Journal of the National Association of Advisors for the Health Professions, 32(4), 20-23. Full text
Flinn, N. A., Jackson, J. M., Gray, J. M., & Zemke, R. (2008). Optimizing abilities and capacities: Range of motion, strength, and endurance. In M. V. Radomski & C. A. T. Latham (Eds.), Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (6th ed., pp. 573-597). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. Full text
Gray, J. M. (2001). Optimizing abilities and capacities: Range of motion, strength, and endurance. In C. A. Trombly & M. V. Radomski (Eds.), Occupational therapy for physical dysfunction (5th ed., pp. 463-480). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Gray, J. M. (2001). Discussion of the ICIDH-2 in relation to occupational therapy and occupational science. Scandinavian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 8(1), 19-30. https://doi.org/10.1080/110381201300078465
Gray, J. M. (1998). Putting occupation into practice: Occupation as ends, occupation as means. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 52(5), 354-364. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.52.5.354 Show abstract
This article addresses a difficulty that many occupational therapists experience: maintaining occupation as the core of their therapeutic intervention. This difficulty not only results from but also contributes to occupational therapy's struggle with professional identity. Current manifestations of the problem are described as component-driven practice and the narrowing of occupation to basic activities of daily Living. The concepts of occupation as ends and occupation as means are proposed as a practical solution to guide treatment planning and merge remediation and adaptation within a single occupational session. Each concept is investigated in terms of its history within the profession and its usefulness for analyzing and solving therapeutic problems. These concepts are discussed as useful guidelines to help occupational therapists not only in their clinical decision making but also in their understanding and expression of the field's unique expertise. A case example, applying occupation as ends and occupation as means to evaluation and treatment, is presented.
Phenomenology began as a movement in philosophy that deals with the essences of objects, or phenomena as they present themselves in human consciousness. The founding father of phenomenology, Husserl, believed that through rigorous examination of objects, as they are presented in one’s consciousness, a person could come to intuitively know the essence of those objectivities, or realities. He proposed that other disciplines might benefit from phenomenology as a way of identifying the main objectivities with which the discipline deals, before undertaking other inquiry. The phenomenological method outlines the steps of such an investigation. This paper uses the steps of the phenomenological method to explore the essence of occupation.
Gray, J. M., Kennedy, B. L., & Zemke, R. (1996). Application of dynamic systems theory to occupation. In R. Zemke & F. Clark (Eds.), Occupational science: The evolving discipline (pp. 297-324). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.
Faculty winners in AOTA elections >
USC Chan faculty members and alums Arameh Anvarizadeh ’05, MA ’06, OTD ’07 and Ashley Halle ’08, MA ’11, OTD ’12 will soon be contributing their talents to the national occupational therapy professional association, as each won their respective races for volunteer leadership positions,…
January 29, 2021
Four faculty members to feature in AOTA Education Summit >
Four USC Chan faculty members and two alumni will be speaking during the American Occupational Therapy Association’s 2020 Education Summit. The annual event brings together hundreds of faculty members from academic institutions across the country to learn about new trends, innovative classroom…
September 16, 2020
When education requires in-person work during a pandemic >
By Kate Faye / HSC News With Keck Medicine of USC now accepting all patients for needed health care services and the fall semester in motion, departments throughout have taken steps to make sure that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is minimal. This has resulted in new policies and best practices…
August 26, 2020
Chan Community Commission meets the moment >
By Kayla Johari MA ’21 and Calvin Lee MA ’21 During the Summer 2020 semester — the first full academic semester spent away from campus due to the Covid-19 pandemic — the Chan Community Commission (CCC) was assembled to support the incoming Class of 2022. The commission joined USC Chan…
August 19, 2020
China Initiative Visits Beijing | November 17–24, 2019 >
Purpose In November 2019, the China Initiative team travelled to Beijing to support the instructors and students of the inaugural class of the USC-PUHSC dual degree occupational therapy master’s program at PUHSC. China Initiative Director Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray, and OTD Resident Psalm Chang…
December 18, 2019
China Initiative Visits Beijing | September 2019 >
On Sept. 10, leaders from USC Chan joined alongside their counterparts at Peking University Health Sciences Center (PUHSC) to welcome the first class of students enrolled in the universities’ new dual-degree program in occupational therapy. With addresses from faculty and student representatives,…
September 23, 2019
Class now in session as China Initiative partnership welcomes inaugural students >
By Mike McNulty / PUHSC [Chinese translation] China Initiative Director Julie McLaughlin Gray. (Photo by Psalm Chang) On Sept. 10, leaders from USC Chan joined alongside their counterparts at Peking University Health Sciences Center (PUHSC) to welcome the first class of students enrolled in the…
September 12, 2019
China Initiative Visits Shanghai | April 2019 >
Purpose In April 2019, members of the USC Chan China Initiative team traveled to Shanghai to attend the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine (CARM) 2nd Annual Occupational Therapy Subcommittee Meeting. Prior to conference activities, the team had the opportunity to visit Shanghai…
April 30, 2019
China Initiative Visits Beijing | November 2018 >
Purpose In November, the China Initiative team attended the 2nd Peking University International Conference on Medical Humanities: Narrating Birth, Ageing and Death at the Peking University Health Science Center (PUHSC) in Beijing. At the conference, Dr. Julie McLaughlin Gray presented a keynote…
April 12, 2019
China Initiative scholars at the halfway point of their USC journey >
By Evan Nicholas Yijun “Jane” Liu and Hui “Angela” Wang knew they were in for an adventure when they accepted a 2017 offer to become USC Chan’s China Initiative Scholars. As such, Yijun and Hui will earn both master's and clinical doctorate degrees at USC before accepting positions in…
February 5, 2019
On its 20th anniversary, “Occupation as Ends, Occupation as Means” as relevant as ever >
By Evan Nicholas MA ’19 Julie McLaughlin Gray (Photo by Hannah Benet) Julie McLaughlin Gray's now-familiar article, "Putting Occupation into Practice: Occupation as Ends, and Occupation as Means," turns 20 years old this year. During the past two decades, this seminal work has captured attention…
December 19, 2018
China Initiative Visits Beijing and Kunming | March–April 2018 >
Purpose In March and April, members of the USC Chan China Initiative team traveled to Beijing and Kunming. In Beijing, they visited the PKU 6th Hospital (Peking Mental Health Institute), the Beijing Haidian District Maternal and Child Health Care Hospital and the Xueyuan Road Community Service…
February 15, 2018
China Initiative Visits Hong Kong, Beijing, and Fuzhou | December 2017 >
Purpose In December, a USC Chan China Initiative delegation visited Hong Kong, Beijing and Fuzhou. In Hong Kong, members of the team visited and dined with Mrs. T.H. Chan and her family including USC Trustee Ronnie C. Chan MBA ’76. In Beijing, team members attended and delivered presentations at…
February 15, 2018
APOTS in Taiwan >
Purpose The USC Chan China Initiative team attended the first-ever Asia-Pacific Occupational Therapy Symposium, hosted October 17-22 by the Taiwan Occupational Therapy Association, Chang Gung University's Department of Occupational Therapy and the Asia-Pacific Occupational Therapy Regional Group…
October 5, 2017
China Initiative Visits Beijing and Guiyang | June 2017 >
Purpose To meet with China Initiative partners and attend the “3rd Annual Conference of Rehabilitation Medicine Society of China International Exchange and Promotion Association for Medicine and Healthcare” highlighted with a keynote address by China Initiative Director Julie McLaughlin Gray.…
June 27, 2017
China Initiative Visits Yantai and Shanghai | October–November 2016 >
Purpose In Yantai, the team presented at the "Fourth National Congress of Rehabilitation Education of the Chinese Association of Rehabilitation Medicine." Carey Sokol and OTD Resident Lily Xu presented on OT fieldwork models in the US, while Adley Chan and OTD Resident Sherry Chen gave a…
November 27, 2016
USC, Peking University to team on one of China’s first graduate programs in occupational therapy >
By Mike McNulty and John Hobbs/USC News USC Provost Michael Quick and Peking University Health Science Center President Qimin Zhan formalize the partnership between the two institutions. (Photo/Philip Channing) USC and Peking University have forged a partnership that could impact the quality of…
October 17, 2016
China Initiative Visits Beijing and Shanghai | May 2016 >
Purpose Joined by Dean Avishai Sadan of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, the China Initiative delegation reinforced relationships with potential partner universities. Delegation Dean Avishai Sadan, USC Chan Division faculty members Florence Clark, Julie McLaughlin Gray and Adley Chan, and…
May 27, 2016
China Initiative Visits Beijing | October–November 2015 >
Purpose Developing relationships with a potential partner university and the rehabilitation community. Delegation USC Chan faculty members Florence Clark, Julie McLaughlin Gray, Adley Chan, Sook-Lei Liew and Linda Liang, China Initiative consultants Wenchun Qu, Yang Chai and Jin-Shei Lai, and China…
November 27, 2015
China Initiative Visits Hong Kong and Taiwan | September 2015 >
Purpose Meet with Hong Kong and Taiwanese colleagues to learn from their experiences with promoting and practicing occupational therapy in China. Delegation USC Chan Division faculty members Florence Clark, Julie McLaughlin Gray, Adley Chan and Linda Liang, China Initiative consultant Jin-Shei Lai…
September 30, 2015