Bethany A. Gruskin OTR/L(she/her)
Faculty Mentor: Mary Lawlor ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Research Lab: Sensory Integration, Engagement, and Family Life
Year of Entry: 2021
To provide a brief background of my research experience, I joined the Back 2 Baby Basics (B2BB) research lab as an undergraduate research assistant. With a focus on early childhood temperament, my roles within this project included interacting directly with participants to collect data, coding videos for specific behaviors, entering and correcting information in datasets, and training new undergraduate research assistants. Upon graduation, I joined another Penn State project — the Study of Infant Emergent Sleep TrAjectories Family Foundations (SIESTA-FF) — as a full-time Human Research Technologist I. As a member of this National Institute of Child Health and Human Development funded clinical trial, I worked collaboratively to create operating procedures, ensure efficient protocols for data collection and entry, and recruit couples who were first-time parents. I also worked directly with families through each stage of the project, including informed consent and data collection. As a project based in human development and family studies the terminology diverged, but ultimately, we were looking at occupations, co-occupations, roles, and routines within the emerging family unit. With this foundation, I pursued my Master of Science in Occupational Therapy at the University of New England and graduated in May 2021.
I am currently enrolled as an Occupational Science PhD student at the University of Southern California, immersed in Dr. Lawlor’s research lab. As a member of Dr. Lawlor’s research lab, I am excited to collaborate and engage in ethnographic qualitative methodology while considering stories of participation and access from individuals with complex intersecting identities. My research interests are focused on the experiences of nesting as a type of place-making for first-time parents. Specifically, I am hoping to explore gendered differences in parental engagement surrounding the activities required to prepare a physical, social, and material space for the arrival of a baby. I am also curious about the meaning is ascribed to these activities and how they help with the transition into parenting roles. My long-term research goal is to consider other factors that impact nesting behaviors, such as power, privilege, and cultural contexts.
Master of Science (MS)
in Occupational Therapy, with Interprofessional Education Honors Distinction
2021 | University of New England
Bachelor of Science (BS)
in Biobehavioral Health with minors in Biology, Neuroscience, and Human Development and Family Studies
2017 | The Pennsylvania State University
Ringold, S. M., Gruskin, B. A., & Cogan, A. M. (2023). Exploring the evolution and utility of neuro-occupation: A scoping review. OTJR: Occupational Therapy Journal of Research. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/15394492231199459 Show abstract
Neuro-occupation was developed to study the relationship between the nervous system and occupation. Pragmatic implications of neuro-occupation have not been previously summarized. This study aimed to determine how neuro-occupation has been defined, applied across relevant fields, and evolved over time. We performed a scoping review following the Arksey and O’Malley framework. Twenty-five works related to neuro-occupation published between 1997 and 2020 were included. We found that neuro-occupation evolved from utilization primarily in the United States to an international term applied to different clinical populations. Common themes were: (a) the reciprocal relationship between the nervous system and occupations; (b) the Intention, Meaning, and Perception (IMP) model of neuro-occupation; and (c) pragmatic implications for occupational therapy practice and interventions. We suggest an updated definition of neuro-occupation. In addition, we contend that although the term neuro-occupation was developed in response to historical debates in occupational therapy, continued use creates more confusion than clarity.
Pineda, R., Smith, D., Richter, M., Gruskin, B. A., Dusing, S., & Peden, C. J. (2023). Health care professionals’ perceptions about a telehealth model of therapy after NICU discharge. OTJR: Occupational Therapy Journal of Research, 43(3), 495-504. https://doi.org/10.1177/15394492231153 Show abstract
The Baby Bridge program is an implementation strategy to improve access to in-person early therapy services following neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) discharge. The objective of this study was to evaluate acceptability of Baby Bridge telehealth services among health care providers. Interviews with health care providers were conducted, transcribed, and coded in NVivo. Deductive analysis was used to organize data into negative and positive comments, suggestions for optimization, and perceptions about the first visit. Next, a conventional approach was used to organize the data into themes. Telehealth was viewed as an acceptable, but not necessarily preferable, form of Baby Bridge delivery. Providers identified how telehealth may improve access to care, but with potential challenges in delivery. Suggestions for optimization of the Baby Bridge telehealth model were proposed. Identified themes included delivery model, family demographics, therapist and organizational characteristics, parent engagement, and therapy facilitation. These findings provide important insights to consider when transitioning from in-person therapy to telehealth.
Keywords. family-centered practice; neonate; pediatrics; qualitative research; services.
Gruskin, B. A., Smith, D., Richter, M., & Pineda, B. (2023, April 14). Providers’ perspectives of transition early therapy services after NICU discharge to telehealth model [Poster presentation]. National Association of Neonatal Therapists 13th Annual Conference, Tuscon, Arizona.
Gruskin, B. A., Smith, D., Richter, M., & Pineda, B. (2023, March 29). Providers’ perspectives of providing therapy via Baby Bridge telehealth following NICU discharge [Poster presentation]. University of Southern California Annual Research Day, Los Angeles, California.
Ringold, S. M., Gruskin, B. A., Aziz-Zadeh, L., & Cogan, A. M. (2023, March 29). Exploring the evolution and utility of Neuro-occupation [Poster presentation]. University of Southern California Annual Research Day, Los Angeles, California.
Gruskin, B. A., Richter, M., Kellner, P., & Pineda, B. (2022, March 23). Facilitators and barriers impacting SENSE Program implementation [Poster presentation]. University of Southern California Annual Research Day, Los Angeles, California.
Keyes, C.-J., Blackstone, W., Gruskin, B. A., Caswell, J., & Eidson, C. (2021, May 7). Emergency Medical Responders with new healthcare roles reflect on collaboration within the civil unrest context [Poster presentation]. Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education, Portland, Maine.
Keyes, C.-J., Blackstone, W., Gruskin, B. A., Caswell, J., & Eidson, C. (2021, February 17). Protest Medicine: How to Leverage your role as a provider during civil unrest [Live/recorded presentation]. Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education, Portland, Maine.
Gruskin, B. A., Maiato, K., Timuscuk, G., Loukas, K., & Robnett, R. (2020, November 7). Reflections on the rapid transition to telehealth [Recorded presentation]. Maine Occupational Therapy Association Fall Conference.
Imelio, C., Szabo, A., Jacob, C., Fabila, V., Seelbach, L., Froning, K., Gruskin, B., McOsker, H., Broussard, K., & Froehlich, J. (2020, January 4). Psychosis: Reframing occupational therapy practitioners’ approach to support development of therapeutic relations and occupational participation [Poster presentation]. 2nd Annual Occupational Therapy Association of Morocco Conference, Tangier, Morocco.
Clarion Case Competition (1st Place) | 2020
University of New England
July 25, 2022
Second edition of the sensory-based program already in place at more than 400 NICUs is available now to NICU providers, therapists.