News Archive

OT student to attend summer institute
Chanel Raddatz, a second year OT student studying in Grand Rapids was selected to attend the 2017 AOTF/AOTA Summer Institute for Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy, held at Boston University in June. There is a highly competitive application process, as only 20 students are selected for the cohort. These 20 participants will also attend the sixth annual 2-day Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars at Boston University.

WMU well-represented in AOTA's 100 Influential People list
The American Occupational Therapy Association has released a list of 100 Influential People who have greatly influenced the 100 years of the profession. While the profession of occupational therapy celebrates its centennial in 2017, WMU's own OT program is celebrating its 95th year.

OT instructor receives EUP Community Engagement Award
Holly Grieves, occupational therapy instructor at WMU-Grand Rapids, has received the Extended University Programs Community Engagement Award for 2015-16. The $1000 award is presented annually at spring convocation.

OT students learn about ergonomic furniture design at the Herman Miller Design Yard
As part of graduate seminar class, second year occupational therapy students from Grand Rapids and instructor, Dr. Amy Wagenfeld, spent an October afternoon at the Herman Miller Design Yard.

Dr. Elizabeth Skidmore honored at the 2016 OUTSTANDING ALUMNI homecoming event
Elizabeth Skidmore is an occupational therapist, and associate professor and chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. She also holds appointments in the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and the Clinical Science Translational Institute, and serves as a Scientist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Rehabilitation Institute. Dr. Skidmore has received several awards for excellence in teaching and research. Most notably, she was the first rehabilitation therapist to receive the 2016 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Government on early career scientists. Dr. Skidmore was honored at the 2016 homecoming event as a distinguished alumna.

WMU Students Move into Clark Retirement Community
WMU's Department of Occupational Therapy and the Clark Retirement Home in Cascade Township have partnered on an innovate and highly promising project that aims to build intergenerational relationships while studying the impact of isolation on aging. OT students will live with the residents of Clark for 19 months, providing an opportunity for each group to develop an enriched understanding of the other's generation. Occupational therapy faculty members Nancy Hock and Dr. Maureen Mickus are co-investigators on the project, working with Nancy Ayres, the director of resident living at Clark.

Unified Clinics newsletter for July 2016
Topics include the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation research grant awarded to OT professor; Language, Speech and Hearing Clinic accepting new patients; optometrist named president of state association; and trauma training series.

Professor emerita receives 2016 Outstanding Alumni award
Sandra Edwards, professor emeritus in occupational therapy, has been named the 2016 Outstanding Alumna by the School of Occupational Therapy at the University of Florida. The award is given annually to an outstanding alumni as decided by the faculty in the OT school.

OT student competes in annual Maddak Awards program
WMU occupational therapy student, Erin Webster-Flynn, competed in the 42nd annual Maddak Awards, where OT professionals and students to submit products they have invented or adapted to assist people with disabilities or recovering from illnesses and injuries.

Grant funds study of food selectivity in children
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation has awarded a grant of more than $56,000 for a study of treatment of children with food selectivity. Dr. Michelle Suarez, assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, will lead the project, which begins July 2016.

New OT grad cert in low vision rehabilitation to launch fall 2016
The WMU Department of Occupational Therapy will offer a new graduate certificate in low vision rehabilitation beginning this fall. The program will provide training on the unique needs of individuals with vision loss. Students will learn about the impact vision loss has on occupational performance as well as compensatory techniques to help a person adapt.

Sammons Center grants support OT advancement through technology
Dr. Fred Sammons
, an internationally known occupational therapist recognized as a highly accomplished clinician, inventor, and philanthropist whose contributions span several decades, has established an endowment to support the Sammons Center for Innovation and Research in Occupation Based Technology.

Six CHHS grad programs ranked in top 100 in country
The latest annual U.S. News & World Report ranking of the top graduate programs in the nation shows WMU with seven programs ranked among the top 100 in their disciplines, four in the top 50 and two programs assessed as the best of their kind in Michigan. Six of those top 100 programs are housed right here in the College of Health and Human Services. In the latest round of rankings released March 16, WMU's occupational therapy program based in Kalamazoo was ranked at No. 32 nationally, making it the state's highest ranking program in that discipline. The University's speech language pathology program, at No. 46 nationally, is tied for recognition as that discipline's best such program in Michigan.

Occupational therapy faculty member brings sabbatical research to CDS, Unified Clinics
Berit G. Miller, master faculty specialist-professional specialist of occupational therapy, was granted sabbatical during the fall 2015 academic semester to engage in research regarding the Beckman Oral Motor Intervention techniques.

Grant update: Home for Life's mobile technology was featured at the Aging, Technology and Innovation Conference & Dolphin Tank® Pitch Session Nov. 20, 2015, as part of the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting. We are one of six innovative companies that were showcased. We continue to work with home health agencies, rehabilitation facilities and hospitals by adding value to their current home assessment processes with technology that facilitates a person-environment-occupation approach, provides product solutions with pictures, and produces successful outcomes. In addition, the app and solution have been duplicated and made easy for consumers to have access to a DIY process from our website. Take our simple, home evaluation survey and find products that best meet your need.

Grant recipient’s innovation selected for OT curriculum
The first Sammons Center for Innovation and Research in Occupational Based Technology grant was awarded this year to Carolyn Sithong, chief health officer of Home for Life Design, a leader in home assessment software for students, professionals, hospitals and rehabilitation centers.

WMU professors receive award from American Occupational Therapy Association 
Western Michigan University professors continue to win accolades from a national occupational therapy professional organization. Dr. Diane Dirette, a WMU professor of occupational therapy, and Dr. Amy Wagenfeld, who begins her duties at WMU in the spring semester as an assistant professor of occupational therapy, both will be inducted into the Roster of Fellows of the American Occupational Therapy Association at its annual conference in April 2016 in Chicago.

Occupational therapy on U.S. News & World Report's list of best career choices
U.S. News & World Report compiled a list of the 25 best jobs—and occupational therapy was ranked No. 10.

Mickus advocates for Alzheimers
Occupational therapy Associate Professor Dr. Maureen Mickus is a board member with the Alzheimers Association of Michigan and serves as an Alzheimers Ambassador. This past March in Washington, D.C., Mickus attended the annual Alzheimer's Advocacy Forum, joining over 1,000 other advocates from every state in the union with the common purpose of ending Alzheimers.

Diane DiretteOT professor receives Scholarship Excellence Award
Department of Occupational Therapy Professor Diane Dirette is recognized nationally and internationally for her scholarship in the area of brain injury and rehabilitation, as well as for her highly regarded work as editor in chief for the "Open Journal of Occupational Therapy."

Photo of Tracy YoungGrand Rapids OT part-time instructor awarded for excellence in teaching
Tracy Young, part-time instructor for the occupational therapy program at the WMU Grand Rapids regional location, has been selected for the inaugural Professional Instructor Teaching Excellence Award in the College of Health and Human Services.

Photo of Rebecca Hawkins helping a soldier.OT alumna named therapist of the year
Captain Rebecca (Meloy) Hawkins (B.S. 2006, M.S. 2007, occupational therapy) was honored as the American Business Clubs National Therapist of the Year at its annual conference in Fort Worth, Texas. 

Photo of Ben AtchisonAtchison appointed to chair Department of Occupational Therapy
Western Michigan University's Department of Occupational Therapy Professor Ben Atchison, Ph.D. has recently been appointed chair of the OT department.

Inaugural issue of Open Journal of Occupational Therapy released
The Department of Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University is pleased to announce the inaugural issue of The Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. We have assembled an outstanding issue that includes applied research, topics in education, opinions in the profession, and occupation and the artist.

Fred Sammons receiving his AMBUC of the Year award.Dr. Fred Sammons receives AMBUC of the Year
Dr. Fred Sammons, longtime friend and supporter of the Department of Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University has been honored as the 2012 AMBUC of the Year.

Occupational therapy on U.S. News & World Report's list of best career choices
U.S. News & World Report compiled a list of the 25 best jobs—and occupational therapy was ranked No. 10.