Orit Shechtman is a tenured associate professor at UF’s department of occupational therapy. She has been teaching the human body sciences (neuroscience, pathophysiology, anatomy and kinesiology) for over 25 years and has received multiple teaching awards throughout her career. She received the Teacher of the Year Award for the entire University of Florida in 1997-98, and the College of Public Health and Health Professions’ Teacher of the Year Award three times, in 1997-1998, 2005-2006, and 2015-2016. Her students have acknowledged her teaching excellence by awarding her the “2005 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Occupational Therapy Education” and the “2005-2006 College of Public Health and Health Professions Most Outstanding Faculty Member Award.” In addition to her teaching, she has more than 60 peer-reviewed publications and her research encompasses assessment areas ranging from grip strength measurement in adults and children, evaluation of maximal effort and sincerity of effort, to driving assessments of older drivers and driving simulators.
Heather Simpson graduated with a B.S. in Exercise and Sport Science in 2007 and her Master of Occupational Therapy in 2009, both from the University of Florida. She obtained a post-professional clinical doctorate from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in 2017. Since completing graduate school, she has worked in a variety of settings including outpatient neurology, inpatient physical rehabilitation and pediatric rehab and as an adjunct lecturer at the UF OT program. Currently she works at UF Health Fixel Institute for Neurological Diseases. In addition to her role as a staff therapist, she serves as clinic coordinator for the Tourette Center of Excellence, co-coordinator of the Parkinson’s Center of Excellence, and the clinical interview lead in the Program in Genetics and Epidemiology of Neuropsychiatric Symptoms (PGENEs) research lab. In 2012, she received specialized training in Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics (CBIT), becoming one of the first OTs in the country trained in the program. A nationally-recognized expert in this therapy, she is a member of the Tourette Syndrome Behavior Therapy Institute faculty and trains providers across the country. She has published a handful of papers and presented nationally on the topic, focusing on increasing OT’s presence in treating these disorders.
The College of Public Health and Health Professions is proud to recognize 13 graduates with 2020 Outstanding Alumni Awards.