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How To OT

How To OT

By Matt Brandenburg
We are an occupational therapy (OT) podcast striving to narrow the research gap and help practitioners translate research into practice as simply as possible. We are shifting perspectives in OT research and practice from what happened, to how to make good things happen. We tell stories, portray OT culture, and identify principles for practitioners to improve the health outcomes of their clients.
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Doctoral Research of Micki Kleven - Exploring Feedback Used in Training Efficient Manual Wheelchair Propulsion
Micki and discuss how effective training of manual wheelchair (MWC) propulsion during rehabilitation may make enormous impacts on the incidence of pain, overuse injuries, and independence for MWC users. She shares techniques and tips she researched in her training program that can be quickly implemented to improve the learning of new and experienced MWC users. 
August 03, 2020
Doctoral Research of Elena Bishop - Community Mobility After Driving Cessation for Adults with Dementia and their Caregivers
Today we discuss Elena Bishop's work in the driving  and community mobility research lab at Washington University in St. Louis. She studied occupational therapy's role in helping prepare people with dementia and older adults in general prepare for the transition to driving cessation. and what practitioners can do to decrease caregiver stress. 
July 27, 2020
Doctoral Research of Abby Hellmann - The Comfortable Cafeteria After School
Abby shares how she and her research team adapted the comfortable cafeteria program to promote positive mental health in students with developmental disabilities. We discuss how positive mental health promotion can impact this population and how Abby was able to see positive outcomes by pairing the comfortable cafeteria training with enjoyable experiences.
July 20, 2020
A Model to Support Occupational Therapists & Healthcare Workers with Disabilities Featuring Leanna Namovic
If you want to learn more about Leanna's Model and see a visual depiction of it in action please reach out to her at:
July 13, 2020
Doctoral Research of Sarah Pease - Self-management for Aging Adults with Vision Loss
Sarah shares her experiencing helping to train clinicians on a self-management program for patients with vision loss. She also developed an entire practice model to help practitioners treat adults aging with vision loss holistically.  Resources mentioned on the show: Ensminger, D., Scaffa, M., & Reitz, M. S. (2015). Program evaluation. In M. Scaffa & M. S. Reitz (Eds.), Occupational Therapy in Community Based Practice Setting (2 ed.). Philadelphia: FA Davis Company. Lorig, K. R., & Holman, H. (2003). Self-management education: History, definition, outcomes, and mechanisms. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 26(1), 1-7. doi:10.1207/s15324796abm2601_01 Perlmutter, M. S., & Hussey, G. (2017). Living life with vision loss: A community-based selfmanagement program for people with low vision. SIS Quarterly Practice Connections, 2(3), 24-26.
July 06, 2020
Doctoral Research of Taylor Grootwassink - Pediatric Curriculum for ISL
Taylor shares with us her experience as a participant and as a group leader on the Washington University in St. Louis International Service Learning (ISL) trip to Guatemala. Taylor developed pediatric modules to help prepare her and fellow group members to provide occupational therapy intervention to diverse populations in Guatemala. 
June 29, 2020
Doctoral Research of Courtney Weber - Performance and Successful Aging for PAWLTPD
PAWLTPD stands for People Aging with Long Term Physical Disabilities. We discuss how this population is impacted by a variety of factors and Courtney shares a practice model she developed to assist clinicians when working with PAWLTPD. NCHPAD website: Cedar Midwest website:
June 22, 2020
Doctoral Research of Ariana Gonzalez - Sleep and Programming for Underserved Populations
Ariana is completing her post professional doctorate at WashU. She's researched Sleep in people experiencing homelessness and program development for underserved populations including people experiencing incarceration. A list of resources mentioned during the episode is found below: AOTA Sleep Sheet: Thrive and Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington: Why we Sleep by Matthew Walker:
June 15, 2020
Doctoral Research of Maggie Armstrong and Eric Yamakado - Neurodiversity
Maggie and Eric teamed up to conduct a research project titled Program Development for Neurodiverse Students in Higher Education. We discuss topics related to neurodiversity in higher education, outline their project, and the implications their research could have for occupational therapy practice. Resources mentioned during the show:
June 08, 2020
Doctoral Research of Melanie Hubbuck - Predictors of Discharge in Under and Uninsured Populations
The full title of Melanie's research is The Patient's Journey: Predictors of Baseline and Discharge Disability, Pain, Work Ability, and Global Health after Occupational Therapy for Upper Extremity Dysfunction in Under and Uninsured Patient Population. We discuss her work with the WashU student hand clinic, her study design and outcomes, and how her experience can be used and learned from to promote evidence informed care and the best possible outcomes for patients.
June 01, 2020
Doctoral Research of Karen Schnedl - Outcomes of International Service Learning
Karen conducted research measuring how WashU's international service learning experience to Guatemala impacts alumni practice up to a decade after the trip. We talk about her experiences in Guatemala, the results of her study, and what they tell us about the importance of service learning in occupational therapy.
May 25, 2020
Doctoral Research of Sarah Kalishman - CST for Individuals with Parkinson's
Sarah's doctoral research project is titled: Cognitive Stimulation Therapy for Individuals with Parkinson's Disease and Dementia. She shares how she lead a group intervention for people with PDD and their caregivers, what outcomes she found, and how it can influence daily practice.  Visit the website below to find more resources related to the topics discussed on this episode:
May 18, 2020
Masters Research of Nina Sasser - Sex, Contraception, and Fertility Options for People with SCI
Nina's research project is titled: Safe Sex, Contraception, and Fertility Options for People with SCI: What Clients Want and the Role of OT in Ensuring Access to Knowledge and Services A list of resources mentioned in the episode is below: SCIRE (Spinal Cord Injury Research Evidence): Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation: Paralyzed Veterans of America "Yes, You Can!" Self Management Guide: Sexuality and Occupational Therapy: Strategies for Persons With Disabilities: Wheel Love Documentary:
May 11, 2020
Doctoral Research of Ronald Drummond - Health Management and Maintenance for the Homeless
We discuss OT's role in working with people experiencing homelessness, the development and implementation of an occupation based program in the St. Louis homeless community and how Ron plans to work in this emerging field moving forward
May 04, 2020
Doctoral Research of Maggie Fleita - Improvisational Movement for People with Parkinson Disease
Maggie studied how participation in a group improvisational dance class called Improvment can bring physical and cognitive benefits to people with Parkinson disease. We discuss her study design, interventions, results, and even hear a sample of how class may go. 
April 27, 2020
Doctoral Research of Allison Doerpinghaus - Diversity and Advocacy
Advocacy is essential in occupational therapy, but most practitioners don't learn how to advocate until they're thrust into an advocacy role late into their career. Allison shares her OTD research including her personal experience serving on the board of a local non-profit organization, and the development of programs to promote diversity and the attainment of advocacy experience and skills early on in an OT's education and career.  Resources mentioned on this episode are listed below: Dhillon, S. K., Wilkins, S., Law, M. C., Stewart, D. A., & Tremblay, M. (2010). Advocacy in occupational therapy: exploring clinicians' reasons and experiences of advocacy. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy. Revue Canadienne D'Ergothérapie, 77(4), 241-248. doi:10.2182/cjot.2010.77.4.6 D5 Coalition link:
April 20, 2020
Doctoral Research of Hannah Brooks - Pediatric Functional Cognition
Hannah Brooks is a member of the OTD 2020 cohort at Washington University in St. Louis. As part of her doctoral research she developed an assessment tool to measure the functional cognition of school aged children and youth. We talk about the evidence supporting her work, breakdown how her tool can be used, and highlight the ways this research can impact practice in a way that improves the lives of tiny humans. 
April 13, 2020
Season 2 Intro
Over the coming months I will be interviewing my classmates in the Washington University in St. Louis program in Occupational Therapy about the research and projects they've completed. Some of the brightest future occupational therapists in the country lost the opportunity to share their amazing work due to Covid-19. Join us as we bring some of the latest and most innovative OT research straight to you. 
April 06, 2020
Stephanie Stegman - Primary Care OT Practitioner Perspective
Stephanie Stegman boasts years of clinical experience as an occupational therapy practitioner and explains her involvement in providing primary care and community based services. For more information visit: 
March 27, 2020
Dr. Sherry Muir - Occupational Therapy in Primary Care
We explore primary care as an emerging area of practice for occupational therapy practioners, discuss how you can break into the field and how to demonstrate your OT skillset to other professions. Resources: World Health Organization definition of health: AJOT Primary Care Articles: Open Jounral of OT (OJOT): Sherry Muir Arkansas U person page:
January 21, 2020
Dr. Beth Skidmore - Effectively Implementing Metacognitive Strategy Training Interventions
On today’s episode of How to OT we discuss how to effectively implement meta-cognitive strategy training interventions, such as the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance (CO-OP) model, into your practice working with clients who have cognitive deficits. Resources: Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance in OT: Using the CO-OP Approach to Enable Participation Across the Lifespan – Ebook: Beth Skidmore website and CV:
January 07, 2020
Dr. Susy Stark - Environmental Interventions for Function and Fall Prevention
We speak with Dr. Suzy Stark about how she developed a new science measuring the impact of environmental OT interventions on occupational performance and participation. She goes into detail and provides clinical recommendations for how a practitioner can improve a client’s function and help prevent them from falling. Additional research done in Dr. Stark’s lab including the COMPASS and HARP program studies can be found here: Rebuilding Together:
December 30, 2019
Dr. Ben Philip - Connecting Neuroscience to People's Lives
On today’s episode of How to OT we interview Dr. Ben Philip about the importance of neuroscience in working with people who have had brain or nerve injuries. Resources mentioned during the interview: Zink PJ, Philip BA. (2020) Cortical plasticity in rehabilitation for upper extremity peripheral nerve injury. American Journal of Occupational Therapy 74(3). Additional research findings can be found here:
December 23, 2019
Dr. Diane Smith - Advocacy, Policy, Sustainability and Climate Change
On today’s episode of How to OT we talk with Dr. Diane Smith about her non-traditional OT journey (0:47-7:40), summarize some of her research on advocacy and policy (7:41-12:30) and go over recommendations for focusing on the environment (12:31-14:30), increasing work participation (14:31-21:47), adaptive childcare (21:48-28:37), sustainability and climate change (28:38-35:35), and emergency preparedness (35:36-39:59). Golden nugget segment (40:00-42:12) Resources mentioned during the episode: Evidence-Based interventions for increasing work participation: Smith, D.L., Atmatzidis, K., Capogreco, M., Lloyd-Randolfi, D., & Seman, V.  (2016). Evidence-based interventions for increasing work participation for persons with disabilities:  A systematic review.  OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health, 131 (suppl.), 1-11. World Federation of Occupational Therapy Position paper on promoting green lifestyles: Other publications and research mentioned on the show can be found at:
December 18, 2019
Dr. Wanda Mahoney - Participation and People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
On today's episode we hear clinical recommendations and examples of working with clients who have intellectual and development disabilities from Dr. Wanda Mahoney. To see more of Wanda's research refer to her faculty information page and CV found here: Resources: AOTA Special Interest Section: American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilites:
December 10, 2019
Dr. Carolyn M. Baum - Functional Cognition
Dr. Carolyn Baum details the development of the Activity Card Sort (ACS) occupational profile process, along with the creation of a number of cognitive assessments. She emphasizes the importance of functional cognition, considerations when working with clients who have cognitive deficits and shares how the medical system is looking for what the occupational therapy body of knowledge prepares practitioners to do.  Activity Card Sort: AOTA practice guidelines:
November 25, 2019
Dr. Catherine Piersol - Evidence Based Intervention for Dementia Care pt. 2
We hear from practitioner, researcher, educator and Dementia care expert Dr. Cathy Piersol. Her vision is to promote best practice in dementia care and emphasize the role that OTPs can play in dementia care moving forward. Resources: Skills 2 Care training: Transtheoretical model: A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia: (Book) Mind Start: The Alzheimer’s store:
November 11, 2019
Dr. Laura Gitlin - Evidence Based Interventions for Dementia Care pt. 1
Dr. Laura Gitlin issues a call to OT practitioners to lead the changing of dementia care within the United States. She details interventions that provide strategies for caregivers to enhance the ability of people with dementia to engage in activities, reduce agitation and behavioral symptoms, reduce the functional disability of the client with dementia while improving the care giver’s well-being and confidence and reducing their depression and burden. I know this episode left me feeling so pumped and so inspired about the leading role OT can play in dementia care and I hope you take out of it as much as I did. Resources: Link to the TAP program: Environmental competency press theory: M. Powell Lawton, Environment and Other Determinants of Weil-Being in Older People, The Gerontologist, Volume 23, Issue 4, August 1983, Pages 349–357, The 36 Hour Day (book): Better living with Dementia: Implications for Individuals, families, communities and societies community: (Book) A Caregiver’s Guide to Dementia: (Book) Living with dementia online open course:
November 11, 2019
Cognitive Support Tech and Ergonomics with Dr. Karen Jacobs
On today’s episode of How to OT we interview Dr. Karen Jacobs. She tells us about some of her new projects, explains the literature and research that went into her work on Project Career and breaks down how cognitive support tech can be used in therapy and to make connections that lead to interprofessional collaboration. She then dives into the ergonomic study that started the now well-known national backpack awareness day movement and shares details about how telehealth is can be an area of growth for our profession. Links to Apps and websites she mentions are included below with a link to our show listener survey: Webinar series Learn at Work: Matching person and technology assessment: 3030 time management app: Planner plus app: Notability app: Voice dreamreader app: Kahn academy: Meditation yoga studio app: Project career website: Job accommodation network website: OTF telehealth paper with Winnie Dunn: AOTA telehealth position paper: Lifestyle by design podcast:
October 28, 2019
Occupation and well-being in OT education with Dr. Steve Taff
In preparation for the Occupational Therapy Education Summit we interview Dr. Steve Taff, a leader in OT education, about the importance of philosophy in higher education and daily practice. Links to resources mentioned on this episode are found below: Taff, S.D., Babulal, G.M., & Bakhshi, P. (2014). The accountability-wellbeing-ethics framework: A new philosophical foundation for occupational therapy. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 81, 320-329. doi: 10.1177/0008417414546742
October 14, 2019
Propulsion and exercise in a mobility Device - Dr. Kerri Morgan
Literature mentioned in the episode: Clinical Practice guidelines: Link to the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability website: Link to the Rehabilitation, Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of Northern American website: Milgrom, R., Foreman, M, Standeven, J., Engsberg, J.R., & Morgan, K. (accepted). Reliability and Validity of the Microsoft Kinect for Assessment of Manual Wheelchair Propulsion: Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. Morgan, K., Tucker, S., Dashner, J., Walker, C., Garrett, L., Hollingsworth, H., & Gray, D. (under revision). Influence of a community-based exercise program on fitness, endurance and strength of mobility device users. Disability and Health Journal. Morgan, K. A., Tucker, S. M., Engsberg, J. R., & Klaesner, J. (2015). A motor learning approach to wheelchair training for new manual wheelchair users: A pilot study. Journal of Spinal Cord Medicine, 1-20. Morgan, K. A., Engsberg, J.R. & Gray, D.B. (2015). Wheelchair Skills for New Manual Wheelchair Users: Health Care Professional and Wheelchair User Perspectives. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, 1-11.
September 30, 2019
Dr. Quinn Tyminski - Mental health practice and applications
On this episode we talk to an OT in mental health trailblazer, Dr. Quinn Tyminski. We discuss how to treat marginalized populations and steps to working with them in all occupational therapy settings, how to find a niche as a practitioner in mental health, how to find and connect clients to community resources and how to promote positive mental health in any practice setting.  If you're interested in learning more reach out to us on twitter @how_to_OT or refer to the following publications we reference in the episode: Tyminski, Q. (2018). The Development of a Role-Emerging Fieldwork Placement in a Homeless Shelter. Journal of Occupational Therapy Education, 2 (2). Schultz-Krohn, W., & Tyminski, Q. (CEA 2018) Community-built occupational therapy services for those who are homeless. OT Practice.
September 16, 2019
Low Vision and Productive Aging Pt. 2 - Dr. Stacy Smallfield
Dr. Smallfield is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) with an extensive background in low vision and geriatric rehab. She shares with us some of her research and recommendations and resources for working with these populations.
May 21, 2019
Introduction to How to OT
OT practitioners want to provide the best client centered and evidence based care to the people they treat. But if it currently takes 17 years for research to translate into practice how evidence based can the care we provide really be? We identify some barriers to implementing research into practice and propose one way to overcome them.  Tell us what you think about this episode in a short survey here:
May 13, 2019
Low Vision and Productive Aging pt. 1 - Dr. Stacy Smallfield
Dr. Smallfield is a fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) with an extensive background in low vision and geriatric rehab. She shares with us some of her research and recommendations and resources for working with these populations. A link to the practice guidelines on productive aging mentioned in the interview with Dr. Smallfield is below: 
April 30, 2019