Chair's Message

I am delighted to introduce you to the first edition of UFOT Progress Notes.  We intend to make this a regular publication and use it to keep you in touch with news and developments in the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida (UFOT).  

This year is the 60th anniversary of delivering excellence in academics, research and service.  And to add to add to our 60 years of achievement, UFOT begins a new era with an entry-level Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) beginning the fall semester of 2018.  We are excited to have the opportunity to prepare professional-level OT practitioners to become leaders in the rapidly changing and dynamic contemporary health and human services delivery systems.

UFOT’s rich legacy of educational innovation has propelled occupational therapy to the forefront of driver rehabilitation.  The first of its kind offered by a U.S. university, UF’s Professional Certificate: Driver Rehabilitation Therapy (DRT) program provides an educational experience that concurrently focuses on the practice and development of specialized skills, advanced practice behaviors, leadership activities and critical appraisal of research in the area of driver rehabilitation. Graduates of this program are qualified to be entry-level driver rehabilitation therapists working with medically-at-risk drivers.  Classes will begin in August 2018.

Please enjoy our first newsletter, and please feel free to contact me for more information.


UF team to help innovate retrofits for homes for people with disabilities

Imagine using your living room as a dining room or your kitchen as a bedroom – complete with handicap-accessible equipment.

University of Florida researchers will help develop those conversions, as they work on a three-year, $531,000, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grant to develop and test innovations to retrofit homes for people with disabilities to make them more accessible and affordable.  Read More


Classen Contributes to National Blueprint

Dr. Sherrilene Classen has participated with Canadian colleagues in a new National Blueprint for injury prevention in drivers with arthritis, launched as a guiding document for teams interested in advancing research, training curricula, practices and policies to support drivers with arthritis. This blueprint is directed towards the health and wellness needs of the over 4.6 million Canadians diagnosed with arthritis who want to continue to drive.  Read More


Equal Access Clinic

A UF College of Public Health and Health Professions alumna and a team of UF occupational therapy students are providing OT services to residents of Alachua County with the establishment of the Occupational Therapy Equal Access Clinic in Gainesville. Lindsey Dhans, MOT, OTR/L, a recent graduate of the UF Masters in Occupational Therapy program, joined forces with the College of Medicine’s Equal Access Clinic — a student-run program that provides health services to uninsured and underinsured patients.  Read More


Welcome to New Faculty Members

Dr. Carolyn Hanson (left) is a clinical assistant professor who will be teaching undergraduate students in the BHS program (Survey of Diseases I and II) and developing a new course in occupation for the BHS students. Dr. Hanson’s past research was in the area of ergonomics and work hardening. She plans on creating sport and recreational opportunities for adults with physical disabilities.

Dr. Prerna Poojary-Mazzotta (right) joined the department as a clinical assistant professor. She completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology from the University of Pittsburgh. She will be teaching the Foundations and the Pathophysiology courses for the MOT and OTD students. Her research interests include conducting research in assistive technology, lymphedema, and patient care outcomes.


First of Its Kind Driving Simulation Book Released

Dr. Sherrilene Classen is the editor of the newly published book Driving Simulation for Assessment, Intervention, and Training: A Guide for Occupational Therapy and Health Care Professionals. This book includes 29 co-authors and 25 chapters which are divided into seven sections, including: Nature and the Scope of Driving Simulation; Developer and Practitioner Relationship; Fidelity; Driving Simulators in a Clinical Setting; Driving Simulation for Teens, People With Physical Disabilities, Older Adults, and Those With Neurological Conditions; Driving Simulation and Vehicle Automation; and Transferability, Documentation, and Ethics. The book, a core text book for driving rehabilitation professionals, is available through AOTA Press.


Our Mission, Your Future

There has never been a better time to join the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida. The University’s preeminence initiative can bring unparalleled resources and support to your area of research.

Since 1958, UFOT has furthered its mission of delivering excellence in academics, research, and service. Building upon this rich legacy, UFOT continues to utilize thought leadership to bring about transformational change. Our guiding vision is that by 2025, UFOT will be the preeminent occupational therapy research and educational entity in the nation. This goal towards preeminence is a theme that permeates the University of Florida’s (UF) overarching mission of investing in people and programs that help UF help the world.  Read More


Sandra Edwards Colloquium

The Department of Occupational Therapy hosted the second annual Sandra Edwards Colloquium on February 24 in celebration of the Department’s 60th Anniversary. The keynote speaker was Roseann C. Schaaf, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, and the plenary speaker was Cynthia Johnson, PhD. Both have focused their careers on the study of children with autism. The colloquium theme was “Supporting Life Transition: From Childhood through Adulthood,” with concurrent sessions focusing on a pediatric and an adult track. This annual series is funded by an endowment from Sandra Edwards (UFOT Class of 1965) and her husband Al Garcia. Read more


OT Business Manager is one of the PHHP Superior Accomplishment Award Winners

College of Public Health and Health Professions employees Truly Hardemon, Rebecca Harty, Amy Ladendorf, Lorie Martin and Catherine Price, Ph.D., have been named UF Superior Accomplishment award winners in the Health Science Center division. They were honored at an awards banquet February 9.

The award program recognizes employees who contribute outstanding service, efficiency and/or economy to the university, or play a role in the quality of life provided to students and employees. Health Science Center division winners are submitted as nominees to compete for the university-level Superior Accomplishment Awards.


Fostering young service dogs a labor of puppy love for UF students

Every morning, Morgan Montaudo — a University of Florida health science senior on the pre-occupational therapy track — puts on her backpack, heads toward the door and then turns to her wagging golden retriever to ask, “Do you want to be a service dog today?”

 Montaudo, 23, and her classmate Emily Kartiganer, 22, each foster a golden retriever for New Horizons Service Dogs — a nonprofit organization headquartered in Central Florida that pairs service dogs with people with disabilities, including those who have brain or spinal cord injuries such as cerebral palsy, children who have autism or military veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder. 

 Montaudo's foster dog, Biscotti, and Kartiganer's foster dog, Hawkeye, accompany the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions students everywhere they go, including to classes, restaurants and football games. Hawkeye was even featured on the big screen at a University of Florida gymnastics meet. Read More


UFOT Advisory Board Spring Meeting

The UFOT Advisory Board meeting took place on February 23, at the Smarthouse, Oak hammock Retirement Community to discuss strategic plans for the UFOT Department for 2018-2019 and beyond. The Dean of UFs College of Public Health and Health Professions, Dr. Michael Perri (far left), attended with board members who included Dr. Joanne Foss (Professor Emerita, UF), Carol Gwin (UFOT alumna), Prof. Sandra Edwards (Professor Emerita, Western Michigan University) and Dr. Sherrilene Classen (Professor and Chair, UF OT Department).  


UFOT Students, Faculty and Alumni to Attend AOTA Conference

This year, UFOT students, faculty and alumni will be attending the AOTA Annual Conference and Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah. 

To promote the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida, UFOT will have a booth in the Transportation Area (Booth #2117).  AOTA attendees are encouraged to stop by the booth to learn more about the educational programs and research at UFOT.  Information will also be available on new UFOT faculty positions made available by the University of Florida’s preeminence initiative.

UFOT alumni are invited to the University of Florida Alumni Reception to be held at the Marriott at City Creek on Friday, April 20th.  Reconnect with fellow classmates and make new Gator friends!

Showcasing wide-ranging research programs at UFOT are several presentations and posters by UFOT faculty and students.  UFOT will have a total of 15 presentations that will be presented by 7 faculty members and 3 students.  Presentations are as follows:


Upcoming Events

March 16:  OTD Program Information Session 

April 13:  OTD Program Information Session 

April 19 – 22:  AOTA Conference, Booth 2117