Dr. Alissa Baker is an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Her research interests focus on the use of critical thinking skills to support the clinical reasoning process used by therapists when making patient care decisions. Currently, she is studying the frequency, perceptions, and rationale for using telehealth as a service delivery method within pediatric occupational therapy. She is also investigating the impact of telehealth on access to services and how this was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Nancy Hock is an associate professor and department chair 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.