Spring/Summer 2019 Issue

Chair’s Message

Sherrilene Classen photo

I am delighted to bring you the Spring/Summer 2019 edition of the UFOT Progress Notes: a publication to inform you of the incredible developments occurring in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida. I hope you will enjoy reading this newsletter, learn about the growth, expansion and progress in the Department and consider supporting the department in its progress towards preeminence.

We continue to expand our faculty complement, and have two tenure track faculty members who will join us late Summer or early Fall 2019: Dr. Jessica Kramer and Dr. C.J. Liu—both appointed as associate professors. Additionally, we are also welcoming Dr. John Kramer and Dr. Heidi Horwitz as clinical assistant professors. We are also recruiting for post-docs and PhD students. Interested parties can contact me directly.

The UFOT Department boasts 10 active PhD students currently enrolled (or admitted) to the Rehabilitation Science Doctoral program. And—we have four post-doctoral fellows who are working under the mentorship of Dr. Sergio Romero and myself. This action portrays our commitment to cultivating the next generation of scientists. Other exciting developments include faculty receiving new grants, and faculty members, i.e., Dr. Zheng Wang and Dr. Amber Angell, sponsoring BHS students to receive competitive scholarships. We are also launching the BHS-OTD accelerated program—with our first group of seven students entering the program soon. Excitingly, we are mid-way through the curriculum of the UF’s Post Professional Certificate in Driver Rehabilitation Therapy program (DRT). We are now inviting applications for the DRT program, with classes starting February 2020.

Recently, we received notice from NBCOT that our MOT students who have taken the Board examination have once again accomplished a 100% pass rate! Congratulations to our outstanding faculty and excellent students on this accomplishment.

The OT Department has had widespread participation in the recent annual AOTA Conference in New Orleans. Activities included faculty and students delivering a pre-conference institute, two short courses, five presentations, and 12 posters. The Department was a proud sponsor of AOTF’s Breakfast with a Scholar and showcased a beautiful booth in the Expo Hall, where we made contact with hundreds of our alumni and colleagues. Additionally, as Editor-in-Chief of OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, the OTJR editorial board members and I conducted a successful annual board meeting.

As an update–The SmartDriver™ Rehabilitation Program is providing driving evaluation and rehabilitation services for medically-at-risk drivers in North-Central Florida and South Georgia. We have added a new Toyota Camry 2019, outfitted with automated in-vehicle technologies, to serve the driving needs of our clients. The Department is excited to present our clients with this state-of-the-art technology that may enhance their driving performance.

We are very proud of the Department’s two outstanding alums for the 2018-2019 academic year. They are Dr. Consuelo Kreider, a faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy as our senior Alum and Dr. Becky Piazza, fieldwork coordinator at the University of St. Augustine, as our junior Alum. These two individuals are exemplars of the excellent contributions that so many of our alumni are making to the UFOT Department—actions that we continue to encourage among our alumni!

As the UFOT Department Chair, I could not be more proud—as we are on a positive trajectory to meeting our 2025 vision and mission. As always, please keep in touch, send us news about your professional progress, and forward this link to others who are alumni or friends of UFOT!


Sherrilene Classen, MPH, OTR/L, FAOTA, FGSA
Professor and Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy