occupational therapist

As the only accredited occupational therapy program in Utah, the Division of Occupational Therapy offers a number of compelling advantages.

Our master's program has earned strong national reputation as a leading-edge program that offers the best and the newest in curriculum, skills, and research. What better way to make a living than to help people of all ages learn or reclaim skills for the job of living?

For those who are already occupational therapists, we now offer a post-professional clinical doctorate in occupational therapy (OTD). This is an on-line program that can be done either full-time (2 classes per semester) or part-time. Earn your OTD, build your skills as a leader and specialize in an area of interest through this program.

Please explore our website by clicking the links in the left margin to learn more.

NBCOT tracks the pass rates for all academic programs at https://secure.nbcot.org/DATA/SCHOOLSTATS.ASPX. To see the University of Utah's rate, please visit NBCOT Program Statistics.

About Our Division

We're a dynamic program housed within the College of Health, which is part of the Health Sciences Center of the University of Utah. This gives us a strong interface of colleagues and resources with whom to collaborate. These include: Communication Science and Disorders, Exercise and Sport Science, Nutrition, Gerontology, Health Promotion and Education, Nursing, Parks, Recreation and Tourism, Pharmacy, Physical Therapy, and School of Medicine.

Visit the College of Health's Divisions and Departments page to learn more about the individual programs.

The professional program leading to a MOT is rooted in occupation and occupational science. Central to the teaching mission of the Division are strong occupational therapy skills and outcome based research. The program has numerous innovative teaching components including a Level II fieldwork focus on health settings and community-service settings. We are committed to educating strong clinicians for the unfolding future.

About Our Graduates

Our graduates have their pick when it comes to finding jobs after graduation. All of our graduates, who want jobs, have jobs. Our graduates work in a variety of settings from pediatric rehabilitation and school districts, adult rehabilitation and mental health, to skilled nursing facilities. Prestigious employers, such as Johns Hopkins and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, have hired our graduates.

Of those that hire our graduates, we continuously hear that they are impressed with the quality of entry level therapist our students are. One can find our graduates all over the state of Utah from Logan and Vernal to Blanding and St. George as well as many states throughout the US.

The total number of graduates from the Universityor Utah Master of Occupational Therapy program during the 3-year period of 2014-20016 was 95, with an overall graduation rate of 96%.

Graduation Year Students Entering/Graduating Graduation Rate
2014 32/31 97%
2015 34/32 94%
2016 33/32 97%
Total 99/95 96%

Expected Learning Outcomes

Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the Division of Occupational Therapy Webpage. Whether you are here for the first time or have visited often, we hope you find the information thorough and easy to find.

The Division of Occupational Therapy at the University of Utah has been in existence since 1997. The philosophical underpinning of this program is that of occupational science. We believe as Mary Reilly (1962), a leader in the field of occupational therapy said. “[A person] through the use of his [or her] hands as they are energized by mind and will, can influence the state of his [or her] own health.” What we do and think makes us who we are and is influenced by where we live, the cultures we are a part of and where this is all taking place in the stream of time.

The faculty and staff of the Division are some of the best you will find around. They are dedicated, bright and committed to “Educating our future colleagues”. Our interests are varied and encompass practice and research in health care based occupational therapy, occupational science, and community based occupational therapy. Our faculty are forward thinking and give to the community. They are connected with clinicians, researchers, and policy-makers nationally and internationally. Hopefully you will get at least a sense of who we are as you explore this website.

Our graduate class sizes are small (30 students in each class) so that each student gets as personalized an education as he or she may want. We are nationally known for the depth of our program and the caring of our faculty.

I hope you will consider applying to the University of Utah Division of Occupational Therapy program. By choosing a program that is broad and progressive, you will have the opportunity to be educated as a therapist that is ready for practice not only when you graduate—but throughout your career.


Lorie Richards, PhD, OTR/L
Chair and Associate Professor


The fundamental mission of the Occupational Therapy program is consistent with that of the University and the College of Health. The program seeks to transmit, discover and investigate knowledge--both old and new--related to occupation, occupational therapy, occupational science and society in general and to provide the highest quality education to students of occupational therapy, based on contemporary theory, practice and technologies.

The program seeks to provide service to the academic, professional and general communities in which the Occupational Therapy Program is involved and address the needs for occupational therapy in the community, state and region. This will be accomplished by educating entry-level practitioners and other related professionals and providing consultative, advocacy and disability prevention services to the community.


The University of Utah (U of U) Division of Occupational Therapy’s philosophy looks at two major areas. These areas are occupation and the occupational being; and the professional curriculum and the learning-teaching style.

The philosophy of the Division is based on the idea that to be true to the complexity of human beings one must look at them as occupational beings that exist within the context of environment and time. Occupation is the process as well as the outcome that structures a person’s life—positively or negatively, and at whatever level, gives life purpose and meaning.

The Model

The U of U model for this program is adapted from the University of Southern California (USC) Model of the Human that Influences Occupation (Clark et al, 1991). The USC model is the original occupational science model; it is hierarchical and based on general systems theory (See Figure 1).

Figure 1

The USC model “depicts the human being as an occupational being. Presented as a hierarchically arranged set of concrete and abstract subsystems, the person is seen as an open system in interaction with his or her environment over the entire life span, from birth to old age (Clark et al, 1991, p 302). The output of the system with a feedback mechanism to the input—is occupational behavior or occupation. The input is described in terms of the sociocultural aspects, historical context and environmental challenges.

The U of U model uses the same internal subsystems, input, output and feedback loops. The six internal human subsystems are defined much the same as the USC model. However, in line with the evolving nature of occupational science, the U of U model uses dynamic systems theory as its base. An important difference is that the subsystems are not viewed as hierarchical but as heterarchical.

Some of the subsystems have developmentally occurred before others, or they may have co-developed, or may have been dependent on others for their expression. Depending on the context of an action, one subsystem may play a more dominant role than another may. The process of how these subsystems interact should be viewed as an orchestration of a variety of components that produce actions, responses and reactions. Further, these subsystems interact with the surrounding external environment through the process of time.

Occupational scientists have been able to conceptually add more complexity to the model by using dynamic systems theory (McLaughlin-Gray, Kennedy, Zemke, 1996). Complexity is fundamental to this model. The model is able to handle and explain a tremendous amount of complexity because of the many variables extant at any given moment and, for the very reason that time is one of the variables. Just as with the subsystems, each variable plays a role as well as influences and is influenced by other variables. Further, as dynamic systems evolve over time, there is a tendency to show a propensity for self-organization. Patterns or routines are examples of self-organization.

Another part of self-organization is that of the many degrees of freedom or the myriad of combinations and patterns that might be formed and in addition the irreversibility of the patterns. McLaughlin-Gray, Kennedy and Zemke (1996) point out that a “pattern to be formed is not predetermined. As a pattern is formed...the degrees of freedom are reduced because their role then becomes determined by the emerging pattern (p 312).” It is easy to see that within the human, as an occupational being, there is an overwhelming possibility of behaviors. However at any given moment we may see a particular combination and these combinations can often be generalized across groups of people.

Viewing a human within the framework of this complexity is challenging, but to truly understand occupation and how it influences occupational beings and to remediate when occupation is challenged, ways need to be found that will describe the phenomenon of occupation within the complexity and will lead to solutions for the barriers. To reduce it down to single elements tends to take away the real essence and combined meaning of occupation. These factors weave a delicate dance to the rhythm of life, both internally and externally and are critical to understanding of occupation.

Given this philosophical base of occupation and occupational beings, the program which will educate occupational therapists who have a strong professional identity, a knowledge of occupational theory and the ability to provide effective intervention to occupational barriers must also have a strong learning-teaching philosophy. The Division is based on the idea that learning is active and is valued as a lifelong process. As suggested by AOTA (1997), the learner will be involved in an integrated process that is collaborative and combines academic knowledge with experiential learning and mentoring from faculty and clinicians.

The program’s foundational scaffolding includes occupation, ethical professional behaviors and attitudes, clinical reasoning, the importance of research, the importance of professional identity, being a change agent for the future of occupational therapy and most importantly, the opportunity to begin the process of becoming a life-long learner. Occupational therapy theory and professional skills will be taught to a level of competence through the use of this scaffolding. The product of our curriculum is a creative problem solver who is able to synthesize the complexities of impeded occupation and create opportunities for change or remediation within his or her scope of practice.

The Division of Occupational Therapy has a long history in spite of the fact that the first class wasn't admitted until 1999.  Many people were involved in the creation of this program in the State of Utah.  The following chronology highlights this history. 

  • The University of Utah submitted to the Board of Regents a request to offer a B.S. in Occupational Therapy in 1970.
  • In July 1972, the exclusive role assignment was granted to the U of U with authority to offer a B.S. degree in Occupational Therapy.
  • Funding requests were submitted in several of the intervening years between 1972 and 1990.  It was defeated at times by the Board of Regents, other years they approved it and the Governor and legislature approved it but the legislative analyst cut the funding.
  • Discussions about the continued desirability of offering the program led to the submission of a request for external funds to the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in 1989-90 to implement a B.S. program in Occupational Therapy.  The proposal included a letter of support from Governor Bangerter.  The proposal ranked high, but was not approved for funding.
  • Since 1990, Administrators in the College of Health continued to communicate with the American Occupational Therapy Association about an interest in and desire to offer a B.S. degree.
  • In January of 1995, Administrators within the College of Health participated in discussions with others, including personnel from WeberStateUniversity, regarding the option of Salt Lake Community College University Center offering an Occupational Therapy Program through ColoradoState University.  While this option was deemed less desirable than offering such a program at the U, it would allow for residents of Utah to access an accredited B.S. program.
  • In October of 1995, the University of Utah was notified that Weber State University and Salt Lake Community College were proposing a Bachelor of Science Degree program in Occupational Therapy.  The U submitted a response to the request on November 20, 1995.
  • At a meeting held in the Regent¿s Office to resolve the issue of program site the University of Utah, College of Health under the direction of Dr John M. Dunn, as Dean, was asked to take the lead in developing and promoting an occupational therapy program for the State of Utah.
  • With the strong endorsement of Dr. John M. Matsen, Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, the University of Utah included funding for an occupational therapy program in its budget request to the Regents.
  • A broad-based Occupational Therapy Advocacy Committee was formed to promote and support the development of the U of U¿s request to fund an occupational therapy program.  Representation on the committee included parents, representatives from health care, prospective OT students, higher education officials, and representatives of state government.  This group was later reorganized in the fall of 1997 and the name changed to the Program Advisory Committee with representation from the same stake holders.
  • In August 1997, a Ph.D. level Occupational Therapist, Dr JoAnne Wright, was hired to develop the program in accordance with the American Occupational Therapy Standards, advise interested students of program status and prerequisites, act as liaison to the COTA program at SLCC and act as liaison to the Utah Occupational Therapy Association.
  • A formal letter of intent was submitted on September 8, 1997 to the Director of the American Occupational Therapy Association Accreditation Department (ACOTE).  On October 22, 1997 ACOTE acknowledging receipt of the letter of intent.  Included in the response were tentative target dates for the accreditation process.
  • In January of 1998, the University of Utah and the Board of Regents officially approved the occupational therapy program as a top funding priority to be submitted to the 1998 Utah State Legislature.
  • The community, including the Utah Occupational Therapy Association (UOTA), the Coalition for People with Disabilities, consumers and their families, representatives from health care, prospective OT students, higher education officials, and representative of state government provided strong support for the implementation of this program.  National leaders from the American Occupational Therapy Association and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation also offered strong support for a program in the State of Utah.
  • January 26, 1998.  Two introductory courses: Occupational Therapy 300 (OC TH 300) Introduction to Occupational Therapy (Quarter course) and Occupational Therapy 3000 (OC TH 3000 Introduction to Occupational Therapy (Semester Course)) were approved by the College Curriculum Committee.  The 300 course was taught once and was replaced by the 3000 class, which continues to be taught but is neither part of the prerequisites nor part of the actual master¿s program leading to a degree in occupational therapy.
  • The 1998 legislature convened on January 19, 1998.  The University of Utah presented to the Higher Education Appropriations Joint Subcommittee, David Steele and Afton Bradshaw, Chairs.  February 18, 1998 funding was approved for the Occupational Therapy program.  The amount to be added to the $50,000 appropriated the previous year was $174,500.
  • Rosemary Lysaght Ph.D., OTR/L was hired part-time (June 1998) to assist with the program development and to search for additional funding, grants and proposals and other research opportunities.
  • August 13, 1998 the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association granted Developing Program Status to the University of Utah, College of Health, Division of Occupational Therapy.  This action by the Council then gave the program permission to accept students for the first class to begin Fall 1999.
  • OCTH 300 Introduction to Occupational Therapy was first taught Summer Quarter (the last quarter for the University of Utah) by JoAnne Wright, Ph.D., OTR/L.  There were 12 students in the class.  This class was then taught as a semester class for the first time Fall of 1998 by the same instructor.

1998-1999 School Year

  • The Senior Vice President for Health Sciences (Dr. John M. Matsen), the University President (President Bernie Machen), the Academic Senate, the Graduate School, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Regents granted approval for the Division of Occupational Therapy.  This action included: 1) the Request to start a Master¿s Entry-Level Occupational Therapy program; 2) recognition of the Bachelor¿s Degree in Occupational Therapy Studies for students applying without a BS/BA.  Intermountain Health Care (IHC) pledged substantial amount of money for start-up equipment.
  • The Program Developer became the Division Chair (July 1999), the Administrative Assistant (Laurie Ketsdever) was hired in December of 1998 and the Clinical Education Coordinator (Yda J Smith, MOT, OTR/L) was hired in March 1999.  The Division received its first scholarship from G. Mitchell and Betty Morris.  In the spring of 1999, the inaugural class of 17 students was admitted to the University of Utah to begin their studies that fall.  In June of 1999, the Program Advisory Committee became a more autonomous body with Denise Keenan as Chair of this committee

1999-2000 School Year

  • The Division of Occupational Therapy moved from their temporary quarters: 2220 and 2222 Annex, along with Physical Therapy, the Body Donor Program and the Medical School Anatomy Program to their present location--the Health Professions Education Building at 520 Wakara Way in Research Park (August 9-10, 1999).  Orientation for the first class of students admitted to the Occupational Therapy program was held August 23-24.
  • This begins the 150th Year of the University of Utah.  Dr. Rosemary Lysaght was promoted to full-time tenure track Assistant Professor.  Kelly C. Brown was hired as Administrative Assistant (L. Ketsdever resigned August 9, 1999).  The Division secured a contract with UTA (Utah Transit Authority) to assess riders using the Flex-Trans system.  Margaret Bent was hired as a clinical instructor/tenure-track assistant professor and she joined the faculty in May 2000.  Taira Christiansen, Maryn Green and Sara Rasmussen received the first three Bachelors degrees in Occupational Therapy Studies.  The Division submitted its self-study document to ACOTE on April 1, 2000.

    Admitted to program:  16
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  3

2000-2001 School Year

  • The Division of Occupational Therapy, in partnership with the College of Nursing and Division of Physical Therapy, received a grant to provide health services to the Paiute Tribe in southern Utah (November).  In April 2001, the Division of Occupational Therapy received accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education for the maximum 7-year period granted new programs.  Margaret Bent received her Ph.D. and was promoted to Assistant Professor.  A scholarship was started by the Eugene D. and Ann O. Wright Family. The Division started participating in the Student Exchange Program operated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE).

    Admitted to program:  12
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  7

2001-2002 School Year

  • Funding was received for scholarships and equipment from the Castle Foundation, the Dumke Foundation and the Broadbent Family.  Fall Semester was impacted by the events of 9/11 and Spring Semester was truncated with most of the month of February as vacation for the 2002 Winter Olympics.  Students volunteered to go to Haiti to provided services the summer of 2001 and the summer of 2002 other students went to Mexico with Dr. Robin Marcus, PT and Nancy Inaba MA, OTR/L.  An open house was held in May to celebrate the first graduating class of 15 students and as a thank-you to all who had helped make the Division of Occupational Therapy happen.
  • An agreement with Baby Watch to collaborate in credentialing Early Intervention Therapists was put into place and the Division offered its first elective taught by Barbara Lancelot (Family Perspectives on Early Intervention).
  • OT students presented for the 1st year at the Annual Scholar's Forum in conjunction with the Division of Physical Therapy.  The first class included:  Michelle Anderson, Jeff Bezzant, Dana Dunbar, Ella Fitzmayer, Maryn Green Edgmon, Alisa Henry Frei, Taira Christiansen, Angie Holmes Elder, Shelby Ivory, Becky Jardine, Krisanne Lewis, Mat Nielson, Heather Prisbrey Johnson, Sara Rasmussen and Greg Wootton. All fifteen students passed the National Certification Examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

    Admitted to program:  13
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  4
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  15
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  15

2002-2003 School Year

  • Two new scholarships were added to the Division scholarships.  They are the Ronald L. and Donna P. Call Endowed Scholarship, and the Gordon and Betty Browning Endowed Scholarship.  During the summer of 2003, a number of construction and upgrade projects started to provide computing facilities and a new apartment for the education of OT students.   Louise M. Dunn was hired as a clinical instructor/tenure-track assistant professor beginning Jan 2004.
  • The Annual Fieldwork Seminar ¿Refining the Art of Occupational Therapy¿ was presented by Linda Learnerd.  The contract with UTA to provide the Paratransit Evaluation moved from a simulated evaluation to an actual community evaluation including bus and Trax rides.  The grant with the Paiute Indian Tribe successfully finished this year.  The Mexico Project and the Haiti Project successfully continued with a number of students traveling to those countries and providing services.
  • Dr's Bent and Lysaght as well as Yda Smith presented at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Conference in Sweden and the American Occupational Therapy Association Conference in Washington D.C.  Elizabeth M. Brown (daughter of Kelly and Scott Brown) was born on August 31, 2002 and became the unofficial Assistant Administrative Assistant and Mascot for the Class of 2005.
  • Jamie Reynolds Mayer (Class of 2003) was elected the President of the Associated Student Delegates (ASD). This is the National Student Organization of the American Occupational Therapy Association.   OT students presented for the 2nd year at the Annual Scholar's Forum in conjunction with the Division of Physical Therapy.  John Dunn, Dean of the College of Health resigned to take a Provost position in Illinois.  Carolee Moncur replaced him as Interim Dean.

    Admitted to program:  21
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  15
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  11
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  11

2003-2004 School Year

  • During the fall, the first floor changed from cinder block animal cages to an ADL training apartment for OT, with an adjustable stove and sink.  A classroom/lab, research space, faculty offices and a wellness clinic run by PT were part of the remodel.  Faculty offices were remodeled during the summer of 2004 to provide private faculty office instead of cubicles. The school year started by adding an additional faculty member.  Beth Cardell went from part-time teaching to a full time instructor.  In November 2004, Sharlene Yarman was hired as an office assistant for both Physical and Occupational Therapy.  Dr. Jay Graves became Dean of the College of Health.  December 2004, Rosemary Lysaght and Margaret Bent resigned as faculty.   Louise Dunn began teaching in January of 2004.  As part of her responsibilities, she represented the Division on the ULEND grant now in its 3rd year.  Pollie Price was hired in spring of 2004 and will begin teaching in Fall 2004.  In April, Nancy Johns with hired as the Clinical Education Coordinator (CEC).  Yda Smith transitioned out of the CEC position so she can focus on teaching and research.  Faculty presented posters and lectures that included student projects at the AOTA annual conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  JoAnne Wright was the chair of the Society for the Study of Occupation:USA conference held in Deer Valley.  In an effort to refocus faculty practice more towards transition, the Division terminated their contract with Utah Transit Authority.  The Research Symposium was successful.

    Admitted to program:  23
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  16
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  12
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  12

2004-2005 School Year

  • Yda Smith received a grant from American Express for refugee job placement and economic self-sufficiency.  Pollie Price hired Kyle Gibson as a graduate research assistant to support her research efforts.  The Division experienced more personnel changes.  In August, Sharlene Yarman left to pursue other interests.  In November 2004, Deb Bachan was hired as an executive secretary for both divisions. A clerk position was added to the Clinical Education Component of the program.  In April, a job fair was hosted in conjunction with Physical Therapy where 36 employers were on hand to talk with students.
  • The Division revised it¿s curriculum to bring more occupation into anatomy, kinesiology and pathophysiology.  Two additional research classes were added to the 2nd year curriculum to more formally guide students with their research projects.  Beth Cardell presented a poster at the annual AOTA conference in Long Beach, California.  The Division was pleased to be able to pay the registration fee of students who attended the conference. JoAnne Wright was promoted to Associate Professor (Clinical). Louise Dunn received her Doctorate of Science from Boston University and was promoted to Assistant Professor.

    Admitted to program:  20
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  10
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  20
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  19
    Passing NBCOT test takers:  20

2005-2006 School Year

  • With the advent of the DPT program in Physical Therapy and a need to make classes more occupationally and functionally based, the functional anatomy class entitled: The Body as a Component of Occupation replaced the Kinesiomechanics class and the Gross Anatomy Class.  Pathophysiology was replaced by Conditions Impacting Occupational Performance.  The curriculum overall is much more fine-tuned towards teaching occupation-based practice through curriculum reviews and collaboration within the faculty.  We added our first Alumnus as faculty with Greg Wootton (02) teaching the Psychosocial class in the Spring.
  • Research was even more evident within the faculty ranks.  Louise Dunn was busy networking with ULEND, and collaborating with the School of Medicine and the University on such projects as Day Break and the National Children¿s study as well as continuing with her CHORES project.  Pollie Price was the Chairperson for the Society for the Study of Occupation:USA held in Maryland. She continues her occupation-based practice research with local therapists.  Beth Cardell researched resiliency and Nancy Johns researched vision-based ergonomics in the workforce as part of their master¿s degrees.  They are both involved with NBCOT.    More research is being done with therapists in the community as a part of the projects.  Yda Smith passed her preliminary exams for her Ph.D. and received another grants from American Express to provide occupational therapy to refugees, many of them from Somalia.  JoAnne Wright became a Certified Low Vision Therapist through ACVREP.    Kelly Brown's research was an in-depth study of toxemia with the results of Valerie Lenore Brown arriving in November, six weeks earlier than expected.
  • The second annual job fair was held in conjunction with Physical Therapy. The two additional research classes were offered to formalize the research process. The Research Symposium was successful with the new twist of pairs presenting.
  • Approval was given for the remodel project on the 2nd floor.  The remodel consists of reconfiguring the two labs into better lab classrooms, an observation room, a research office, and better facilities for the Anatomy lab.  CF& R funding will assist with this project.   The College of Health, through the work of Dr Scott Ward, received 1.3 million dollars.  A portion of those monies were used to upgrade the entrance to the building and the building was renamed the Ezekiel R. and Edna Wattis Dumke Health Professions Education Building.  The first Alumni event was held April 8, 2006 celebrating the graduation of the 5th class of students.  The Alumni Scholarship was established with Rachel Motscheidler as the first donor.    

    Admitted to program:  24
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  11
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  22
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  19
    Passing NBCOT test takers:  22

2006-2007 School Year

  • Dr Tina McNulty joined the faculty in August as an assistant professor in the Division.   Her area of expertise is in mental health and in gerontology.  She has been consulting with The Connection Cottage.  She also was awarded a grant to start the Division's Standardized Patient Assessment (SPA) project.  The first SPA was held as the final for the adult theory class.  It was intense but an excellent learning tool for all.  Dr Pollie Price was elected as President of the Society for the Study of Occupation:USA.  She is the co-developer of the first course in Disabilities Studies.  Nancy Johns and Beth Cardell received their Master of Science in Health Promotion and Education.
  •  Dr JoAnne Wright has been involved with URLEND as the OT Discipline Faculty Member.  Yda Smith was names Director of Graduate Studies for the Division of OT as well as the Faculty Director of University Neighborhood Partners Hartland Project.  Dr Louise Dunn continues to network with other disciplines.  Both she and Dr Price received grant monies.  Each faculty was invited to present at a number of national conferences.
  • The Research Symposium had its first annual keynote speaker and an open house to celebrate the presenters and the keynote person.  Dr Elizabeth Crepeau, PhD, OTR, author of Willard and Spackman was the first recipient.
  • An elective in Cognition was piloted by Beth Cardell and was well-received.  This will continue as a regular electives offering within the Division.   The curriculum remained stable as the faculty starts gearing up for reaccreditation that will occur in 2008.

    Admitted to program:  20
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  8
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  18
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  18
    Passing NBCOT test takers:  18

2007-2008 School Year

  • Dr. Donna Costa was hired as a Professor (Clinical) and will join the faculty in the fall of 2008. Her areas of expertise are mental health, gerontology and fieldwork. Dr. Pollie Price continued her pioneering research in occupation-based practice. Dr. Louise Dunn was very active in networking and in scholarship this year. Yda Smith was able to visit Thailand and the refugee camps along the border and to expand the role of OT at the UNP/Hartland Center. Beth Cardell continued her scholarship and lecturing to students. Both Yda Smith and Beth Cardell were promoted to Assistant Professor (Clinical). Dr. JoAnne Wright was promoted to Professor (Clinical). She also traveled to the Ukraine with other OT's to provide services as well as lectures in Chernivtsi. SOTA and SAC participated in fund raising and made wash mitts and universal cuffs for the people in Ukraine. Nancy Johns decided to move to the ocean and Jeanette Koski was hired to be the Clinical Education Coordinator for the Division. Kelly Brown, Administrative Assistant, was a nominee from the Health Science District (non-hospital) for the University Staff Award.
  • The Division was reaccredited by the American Occupational Therapy Association's Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) for 10 years. There were nice strengths noted and although the program was evaluated on the new 2006 standards, there were no areas of non-compliance. Of the nine OT programs that were reviewed with the new standards this academic year, we were one of only three that had no areas of non-compliance.
  • Funding was provided for a new scholarship by the Don B Hutchison family.
  • The Research Symposium keynote speaker was Dr Gelya Frank. Dr Frank is an anthropologist and Professor of Occupational Science at the University of Southern California.

    Admitted to program:  28
    BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  13
    Masters of Occupational Therapy:  23
    Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  22
    Passing NBCOT test takers:  23

2008-2009 School Year

  • New classes were added to the core curriculum.  An additional core class entitled Occupational Aging and Wellness.  A new elective was added OC TH 4720/6720 Immigration & Resettlement : Interdisciplinary & Community Perspectives.  This class is cross listed with Social Work. 
  • The Division is home for the Disability Studies Certificate and an undergraduate minor is in the works.  The forum for Disability Studies was a huge success and will be an annual event. 
  • An agreement was signed between the Division of Occupational Therapy and the College of Nursing Gerontology program that allows students to obtain a Graduate Certificate in Gerontology.
  • Five students from the program were able to provide OT services in the Ukraine under the guidance of Dr Costa.  Yda Smith and other faculty continue to expand the opportunities that students have to work with refugees and provide services.  All the faculty have been involved in diverse service to the community, to professional associations and to the students.  In addition, the faculty continue to provide solid educational experiences as we continue with our vision to "Educate Our Future Colleagues". 
  • Aubrey Erickson was hired as the clinical education assistant as well as office assistant. 
  • The Annual Research Symposium student presentations were interesting and well received.  The keynote speaker was Dr Catana Brown.  She is a leader in the field of occupational therapy in research.  She spoke on "Evidence Based Practice in Occupational Therapy - What's Your Contribution Going to Be". 
  • Dr Florence Clark, AOTA Vice President was the guest speaker at a luncheon for all faculty staff and students held at the University Park Marriott Hotel.

Admitted to program:  29
BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  15
Masters of Occupational Therapy:  18
Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  14
Passing NBCOT test takers:  18

2009-2010 School Year

  • The 10th class of students was admitted this year as we began to celebrate 10 years as a Division. 
  • A 10th Year Open House was held on April 2, 2010.  There was great food, a kid’s room, a slide show covering the years, and the class quilts on display.
  • A Pre-OT Club was started through ASUU this year.
  • The faculty increased by one more.  Kasey Mitchell was hired as the Clinic Manager for the Faculty Practice Clinic. 
  • The search continued to fill a tenure-track line. 
  • Dr. Louise Dunn’s SNAPPY program continued with good success. 
  • The tenure track faculty successfully advanced another year towards tenure. 
  • Dr. Pollie Price and Jeanette Koski obtained a grant from Neuroworx, which has led to additional grants and OT services being provided to their clients. 
  • All the faculty continue to develop their research and community presence.  
  • Yda Smith and Dr. Tina McNulty presented at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) in May of 2010.  The conference was held in Chile.  Several faculty presented at the annual AOTA conference.
  • The Minor in Disability Studies was approved and the Annual Forum was a success. 
  • Dr. Donna Costa was appointed as the Director of the OTD Program after it was approved by the Board of Regents and the Graduate School.  The OTD will be a fully on-line class starting in the summer of 2010.
  • Once again we broke our record for number of applicants with 59.  The students, who are the strength of the program, continue to demonstrate their commitment to education and to the profession of occupational therapy.
  • The Annual Research Symposium had Alex Lopez, creator of PAR FORE as the keynote speaker.  As a result of this, the Division partnered with him on a grant from the US Golf Association to implement the program here.  The student presentations were well done and interesting.  Six groups of student were selected to present their research during poster sessions at the National conference in April. 

Admitted to program:  27
Admitted to OTD:  2
BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  10
Masters of Occupational Therapy:  26
Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  22
Passing NBCOT test takers:  25

2010-2011 School Year

  • The Life Skills Clinic opened directly across the street from the Division at 540 Arapeen and will be a wonderful addition to clients, students and to research opportunities. 
  • Dr. Bradley Freestone, Low Vision Optometrist was added to the faculty. 
  • Dr. Pollie Price received tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor, the first in the Division.
  • Dr. Pollie Price was elected to the Board of the International Society for the Study of Occupation.
  • The OTD program started in the summer of 2010 and had 2 students.  Three more students were admitted to start summer of 2011.  This was the first year that the national applicant program was used (OTCAS).  It created work but will open up the opportunity for greater diversity in our student population.
  • The Division itself went through its first Graduate School Review with the reviewers very impressed with the faculty, students and the program. 
  • Dr. JoAnne Wright the Developer/Chair of the program made the decision to step down as Chair.  A national search was conducted and Dr. Lorie Gage Richards was hired as the new chair starting in July 2011. 
  • Liam Hesselbein was added to the faculty as the Fieldwork and Office Assistant for the Division.
  • Because of her genuine interest in well-being for the nominating student, course accessibility, and her dedication to the educational development of the student, faculty member Beth Cardell received an award from the Center for Disability Studies. This annual award recognizes faculty who have had a positive impact on their students' educational experience.
  • Beth Cardell received the 2010-2011 College of Health Distinguished Teaching Award.
  • Dr. JoAnne Wright received the 2010-2011 College of Health Distinguished Mentor Award.
  • Dr. Donna Costa was awarded a teaching grant for the Mind-Body Medicine for Health and Wellness from the University Teaching Committee.
  • The Annual Research Symposium keynote speaker was Dr. Karen Jacobs, former president of AOTA.  The student presentations were well done and interesting.  Four groups of student were selected to present their research during poster sessions at the National conference in April. 

Admitted to program:  30
Admitted to OTD:  3
BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  10
Masters of Occupational Therapy:  27
Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  27
Passing NBCOT test takers:  27

2011-2012 School Year

  • Jeramie McDonough came on board as the Clinical Education Assistant.
  • Dr. Pollie Price was awarded both a $10,000 grant from the Society for the Study of Occupation and a $10,000 gift from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation for her research project: Determining how the construct of occupation is addressed in curricula.
  • Dr. Yda Smith received an award of $7500 from the Bennion Center Public Service Professorship for her work with the Karen ethnic group of Burma.
  • The Dean’s Office appointed Dr. Pollie Price as the new Academic Senator to serve from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015.
  • Kelly Brown and Deb Bachan received Staff and Advising Excellence Awards from the College of Health.
  • Dr. Beth Cardell completed her doctoral degree in Health Promotion and Education.
  • The Annual Research Symposium keynote speaker was Dr. Lorie Richards.
  • Dr. Donna Costa appeared on Ukraine television while directing a study abroad program.
  • Dr. JoAnne Wright taught a wheelchair training course in Vientiane, Laos. (Article in Vientiane Times)

Admitted to program:  32
Admitted to OTD:  8
BS in Occupational Therapy Studies:  12
Masters of Occupational Therapy:  26
Passing First-time NBCOT test takers:  TBD
Passing NBCOT test takers:  TBD

Accreditation is the on-going process by which an agency evaluates a program of study as meeting certain pre-determined standards and criteria. The Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) is accredited by the U.S. Office of Education as the only accrediting agency for educational programs in occupational therapy. The U of U MOT Program has been accredited by ACOTE (2008-2018).

ACOTE is located at:

c/o Accreditation Department
4720 Montgomery Lane, Suite 200
Bethesda, MD 20814-3449


Graduates of this program are eligible to sit for the national certification examination for the occupational therapist administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT).

The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT)

The Eugene B. Casey Building
800 South Frederick Avenue Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20877-4150
(301) 990-7979
Fax (301)869-8492

After successful completion of this exam, the individual will be an Occupational Therapist, Registered (OTR). Most states require licensure in order to practice. Most states licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam.