OT professor wins recognition from national organization

Contact: Mark Schwerin
Photo of Dr. Debra Lindstrom.


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—A Western Michigan University professor of occupational therapy has won high honors from a national professional organization.

Dr. Debra Lindstrom has been chosen to receive the American Occupational Therapy Association's Roster of Fellows Award. The honor will be presented at the organization's 2015 Annual Conference and Expo on April 18 in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Roster of Fellows recognizes AOTA members who, with their knowledge and expertise, have made a significant contribution to continuing the education and professional development of fellow members. In particular, Lindstrom will be recognized for her contributions as a clinical reasoning champion, educator, researcher, mentor and advocate.

Innovative teacher

"Dr. Lindstrom has a consistent pattern of creating innovative teaching and learning opportunities for her students," says Dr. Ben Atchison, chair of the WMU Department of Occupational Therapy. "She is deeply committed to the professional development of her students as well as her colleagues. This is clear by her willingness to take time and effort to mentor and consult in many different venues."

Nominators noted that Lindstrom has successfully moved from problem-based learning, to case-based learning, to team-based learning in her classes. She works to keep students actively engaged and striving for excellence as they complete unique and relevant assignments and activities.

Lindstrom's research topics range from work and ergonomics issues and clinical reasoning to psychometric properties of commonly used assessment instruments. She also has mentored more than 25 students, faculty and alumni in research.

Many of her considerable contributions in the area of advocacy have been with and through the American Association of Retired Persons, including co-creating and developing a program based on the AARP Home Fit Guide. The program helps older adults understand what they need to do to be able to safely stay in their homes as long as possible.

Due in great part to her work, Michigan is now seen as one of the leaders in AARP in Livable Communities, and the programs have spread to other states. In addition, Home Fit has become the foundation for many new ventures, such as CarFit, a program sponsored by AARP, American Automobile Association and AOTA, which offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles fit them.

About the department

The WMU Department of Occupational Therapy was the first non-teacher education program at Western Michigan University. Two of its programs, one on WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo and the other offered in downtown Grand Rapids, are consistently rated among the top 50 such graduate programs in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's Best Grad Schools rankings.