Director: Mary Lawlor ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA
The Boundary Crossings Lab, directed by Dr. Mary Lawlor, addresses a range of issues related to the lived experiences of children, adolescents, and adults who have health and developmental challenges as they engage in the extraordinary and ordinary activities that constitute living and learning in daily life. In 1997, USC Professors Mary Lawlor and Cheryl Mattingly and an interdisciplinary research team began conducting a longitudinal, ethnographic study of healthcare trajectories in 30 African American children with illnesses and/or disabilities, their families, and the practitioners who served them through a series of studies funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and NICHD (NCMRR) at NIH. The research aims were to identify, describe, and situate how families contribute to the production of culturally responsive care, and to reveal the strategies families and practitioners employ to establish commonality and bridge differences to effectively “partner up.” Using an approach that is both event-centered and longitudinal, this study led to information about how discrete moments of healthcare encounters produce effects across both context and time. Findings of this study facilitate a reconsideration of dominant models of cultural competency and health literacy at multiple policy levels.
This series of studies formed the foundation for more recent and current work related to meanings of illness and disability in family life, “partnering up” and collaboration, social and community participation, the role of narrative in clinical action and transformation, health disparities in autism, cultivation of family expertise with home invasive therapies, and adolescent and adult experiences with community engagements and social participation. We continue to develop research methodologies and designs to examine these complex phenomena and enhance rigor in ethnographic, phenomenological, and qualitative methods.
Transforming Research: Understanding Sensory Experiences in ASD, Stakeholders Working Together — TRUST ⟩
Background Many in the research community do not understand the problems facing individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) across the lifespan, particularly related to sensory processing. Academics may not know what questions to ask or problems to solve without input from the community. Most…
Period: Jan 2020 – Jan 2022
Private Funding $243,581
This 4 year longitudinal, urban, multi-method ethnographic study will examine cross cultural healthcare encounters. The study will identify, describe and situate how families contribute to the production of culturally responsive care and the strategies families and practitioners employ to establish…
Period: Jul 2005 – May 2011
Federal Funding $2,424,288
This four year ethnographic and longitudinal study will examine family cultures and family life among 30 African American families and their children in a way that attempts to avoid an overly homogenized description of how urban families at risk manage challenges in daily life as they try to address…
Period: Sep 2000 – Sep 2004
Federal Funding $2,368,277
The purpose of this three-year ethnograhic study is to examine how the problems of children with special health care needs are variously understood or framed by family members and health care practitioners, the influence on different frames or misunderstandings on the intervention process, the…
Period: Jan 1997 – Dec 1999
Federal Funding $688,894
NIH awards $2.5 million for health-care study of ethnic minorities ⟩
Two USC occupational therapy researchers have been awarded a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study how minority patients can improve the care they receive from doctors.
Kathleen O'Neil, in USC News | October 21, 2005