Malia Sako OTD, OTR/L(she/her/hers)
Assistant Professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy
E. Malia Sako received her Master’s degree and Doctorate of Occupational Therapy degree at the University of Southern California. She completed her clinical residency at the USC Occupational Therapy Faculty Practice, where she provided Lifestyle Redesign® services for people living with chronic conditions, including chronic headache, post-concussion, chronic pain, Parkinson’s Disease, and pelvic health diagnoses. As a clinical faculty member at USC OTFP, Dr. Sako is committed to helping her patients lead healthier, more meaningful lives. She also serves as an interdisciplinary team member on both the USC Headache & Neuralgia Center and the USC Pain Center.
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
2019 | University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA)
in Occupational Therapy
2018 | University of Southern California
Bachelor of Science (BS)
in Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior
2014 | University of California, Davis
Reeves, L., Axtell, S., Ravikumar, S., Sako, M., & Allahverdian, M. (2020). Program development, implementation and outcomes of a mindfulness training program for an interdisciplinary headache team at an academic medical center [Presentation at the 62nd Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Headache Society]. Headache, 60(S1), 148. https://doi.org/10.1111/head.13893 Show abstract
Surveys have shown that 60% of neurologists and 57.4% of headache specialists in the United States reported at least one symptom of burnout. Other studies suggest that neurologists experience some of the highest rates of burnout compared to other physician groups along with lowest rates of work-life balance. Burnout symptoms include emotional exhaustion, physical symptoms, decreased performance, and career dissatisfaction. Mindfulness based stress reduction, relaxation techniques, and cognitive behavioral interventions have been shown to reduce burnout. Spurred by the knowledge of the disproportionate rates of burnout in neurologists, a new mindfulness training program was developed and implemented amongst an interdisciplinary headache team at an academic medical center. The purpose of this study is to explain the program development and implementation of a new mindfulness training curriculum and present the outcomes on burnout and professional quality of life amongst interdisciplinary headache team members.