WMU News

Professor emerita Barbara Rider honored by peers

Oct. 8, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- Barbara Rider, professor emerita of occupational therapy, has won the 2002 Lindy Boggs award.

The award is a national honor bestowed annually by the American Occupational Therapy Association. It recognizes the winner's lifetime achievement in effecting political change in matters important to occupational therapy.

Rider, who was chairperson of WMU's Department of Occupational Therapy from 1976 to 1985, has served on the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners, the Family Independence Agency Board, the Kalamazoo County Human Services Board and the Kalamazoo County Mental Health Board. She continues to practice occupational therapy after 47 years in the field.

"Barbara Rider was instrumental in bringing public awareness to issues regarding accessibility for individuals with physical impairments in Kalamazoo area businesses including Western Michigan University," says Cindee Peterson, department chairperson.

One example of Rider's political savvy came when she undertook her "packaging project," after she noticed that airline peanut bags were difficult for elderly and disabled people to open. Her study received national attention and helped to reform packaging standards.

Since her retirement from WMU in 1991, Rider has continued to publish, consult and work in nursing homes and home health care.

"Barbara is a visionary and national and international advocate for the profession of occupational therapy and the WMU Department of Occupational Therapy," Peterson says.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, 269 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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