Research

Dr. Carla Chase is a professor and interim chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy. As an occupational therapist and gerontologist, her work centers on meeting the needs of older adults in the community by researching the impact of environmental modifications on participation and safety and the role of occupational therapy in home health care. Dr. Chase’s current work has expanded to include the exploration of the impact of connecting health promotion activities to routine daily tasks to increase compliance and improve overall quality of life.  

Dr. Debra Lindstrom is a professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Her research interests include creating and assessing standardized patient simulations for OT as well as for groups of interprofessional students;  assessing student learning from innovative teaching methods such as problem-based learning, case-based learning and team-based learning; and creating psychometric data for occupationally related assessment.

Dr. Ann Chapleau is an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Chapleau is currently principal investigator of a 1.8 million, four-year, interprofessional behavioral health education and training grant from HRSA. Her current research includes assessment of student learning using Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) and development of a GAS mobile app. She is also working with a research team to develop HIPAA-compliant technology for digitization of historical psychiatric records.

Dr. Steven Eberth is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. His evidence-based research interests exist within the intersection of clinical practice and public health through the application of theory to solve clinical, organizational and social issues to promote safety and engagement in occupation. His past research projects include the development of a systems theory framework to reduce physical restraint use and falls and the application of a systems approach to improve safe patient handling. His current research includes the application of public health theories to improve organizational and individual safety culture, the use of an evidence-based communication model to promote collaboration to mitigate risk, and the relationship between trauma and occupation in adults.

Dr. Michelle Suarez is an associate professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Her research interests include autism, food selectivity in the pediatric population, sensory processing disorder and child trauma. She is a member of the Brain Research and Interdisciplinary Neuroscience (BRAIN) team which focuses on investigating brain-behavior connections. Currently, she is studying the effectiveness of a holistic treatment protocol for treatment of food selectivity in the pediatric population. She is also investigating effective interventions for self-regulation deficits that include a parent education component.  

Dr. Maureen Mickus, a professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy and a gerontologist, conducts research focusing on aging policy and supporting community-based care for elders. Along with her colleague George Erickcek, an economist at the Upjohn Institute, she is conducting a study funded by the Area Agency on Aging. This research study analyzes the fiscal impact of MiChoice, Michigan's Medicaid Home and Community Based Waiver. Dr. Mickus is also working on intervention research designed to alleviate loneliness in high risk elder populations. Recently, she assembled a team of ten occupational therapy students for a project relating to older adults who attend congregate meal sites throughout Kalamazoo. The focus on the project was to determine the level of physical activity in the lives of these individuals and associated barriers related to exercise. Data was collected for 115 participants at eleven sites. Findings from this project will be used to establish future student-led exercise programs at the congregate meal sites, whose participants are mostly underserved populations and older adults living alone.