Dr. Carla Chase is a professor and 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. Ann Chapleau is a professor of Occupational Therapy in the Department of Occupational Therapy. She is principal investigator of a 1.8 million, four-year, interprofessional behavioral health workforce education and training grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). She is also co-principal investigator of a three-year 1.3 million HRSA training grant focused on opioid prevention and intervention. Both federal grants provide $10,000 student stipends for participation during fieldwork placement. Dr. Chapleau is President of Goal Scaling Solutions (GSS), Inc. a women-owned technology start-up business, researching and developing digital tools for outcome measurement. She is also working with an interprofessional research team on an archival research study at the Kalamazoo Psychiatric Hospital. This study is examining mental health outcomes prior to the introduction of antipsychotic medication in 1955, when patients actively engaged in occupation-based interventions rather than medical model treatment. Dr. Chapleau was awarded the inaugural WMU Presidential Innovation Professorship 2020-2023 to support this work.
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. Nancy Hock is a master faculty specialist in the Department of Occupational Therapy. As an occupational therapist and also a certified hand therapist, her research interests include the assessment of hand strength and the establishment of solid psychometric data to support the use of assessments in clinical practice. Additionally, her interests involve examination of carpometacarpal osteoarthritis in the thumb and its impact on hand strength and functional performance. She recently completed a pilot study examining the pinch strength used to open several types of food packages. She plans to continue this work identifying the strength used to open additional types of packages as well as to perform various functional tasks.
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. Cara Masselink is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Aligning with clinical experience in assistive technology, her research focuses on factors related to procuring and using assistive technology equipment, with the goal of improving access to equipment that enables occupational participation. Previous research explored the wheelchair seating service delivery process, through 11-years of wheelchair recommendations made in a dedicated seating department. Current research examines the impact of occupational therapy services that provides and trains people with adaptive equipment for basic activities of daily living.
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.
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.