Occupational Therapy Department News

Synthesis Projects

Every year the second year students finish their two years with the culmination of research presented by the students formally to the rest of the class and faculty. This year the presentations were held on April 7, 2011.

Faculty Activities

The OT faculty are busy with many scholarly and service-related endeavors while at the same time pursuing excellence in teaching activities to maintain the high standards of the program.


Professors Hayner, Giles and Gibson
Dr. Hayner (center) with Professor Gibson (left) and Dr. Giles (right)


Associate Professor & Department Chair Kate HaynerM.Ed., OTR/L
Dr. Kate Hayner and colleagues Professor Ginny Gibson and Dr. Gordon Giles received the Research Initiative Scholars' Award for outstanding research at the Annual American Occupational Therapy Conference in Philadelphia, PA in April of 2011. Their research article, titled "A comparison of constraint induced movement therapy vs. bilateral treatment of equal intensity in persons post-CVA with chronic upper extremity dysfunction", was published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in June of 2010. Professor Hayner is currently on sabbatical and completing work on several manuscripts.

Assistant Professor Beth Ching M.Ed., OTR/L Professor Ching is a member of the Committee on Equity and Inclusion at Samuel Merritt University (SMU); she has recently been appointed by the Academic Vice President to the Faculty Diversity Focus Group. She will be part of the “Inclusion Explosion” formerly known as “Diversity Day” this Spring semester. Professor Ching has assisted in hosting Occupational Therapy (OT) Fieldwork Seminars for Academic and Clinical Fieldwork Educators from all over the State of California on the SMU campus (2008-2009).She is currently serving on the Steering Committee for the Psychiatric Occupational Therapy Action Coalition (www.POTAC.org) to help increase awareness of how OT may benefit those in need of mental health services. During the summer, Professor Ching will be supervising OT students in a psychosocial rehabilitation setting and also in an older adult day program.

Assistant Professor Chi-Kwan Shea, PhD, OTR/L Chi-Kwan has been serving on the Certification Examination Validation Committee of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT) for several years. She also has been an active volunteer at a community-based program serving at-risk youth in San Francisco, Occupational Therapy Training Program (OTTP), for over ten years. Her research interests focus primarily on the at-risk youth population, as well as on innovative teaching methodology. She recently co-authored with Professor Robyn Wu an article titled “Using High-Fidelity Simulations to Prepare Occupational Therapy Students for the Intensive Care Unit” which was published in the December 09’s issue of Education Special Interest Quarterly. She presented a poster titled “Occupational Therapy Interventions for Incarcerated Youth - Is There Evidence for Occupational Justice?” at the 90th AOTA conference in Orlando in April 2010. Additionally, an article that was co-authored with Professor Gordon Giles, titled “Occupational therapists’ and teachers’ differing beliefs about how they can assist continuation high school students transition to postsecondary education” has been accepted for publication by the Journal of OT Mental Health.

Associate Professor Donna Breger Stanton MA, OTR/L, CHt, FAOTA Professor Breger Stanton is presently serving as the Chair of the American Society of Hand Therapists annual meeting. Her paper, Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Contrast Baths, co-authored with Rolando Lazaro and Joy C. MacDermid, was published in the Journal of Hand Therapy, Jan-Mar 2009 issue. This is the final year of a multi-center study of contrast baths in which Donna is the lead researcher. In 2009, Donna was awarded the Vargas Award from the American Association for Surgery of the Hand. This award provides for travel to Thailand, with a hand surgeon, to share knowledge and education about hand therapy.

Assistant Professor Ginny Gibson MS, OTR/L, CHT Professor Gibson presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hand Therapists in San Francisco, CA on Clinical Reasoning and Physical Agents: Employing an Evidenced-based Approach in September of 2009. Along with co-authors Kate Hayner, EdD, OTR/L and Gordon Muir Giles, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, Professor Gibson published a study titled "A comparison of constraint induced movement therapy vs. bilateral treatment of equal intensity in persons post-CVA with chronic upper extremity dysfunction" in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy in June of 2010. Professor Gibson is Director of Camp Winning Hands, a camp for children with congenital upper limb differences, and their families. The first annual camp took place place in August of 2010 and the next camp will likey take place in August of 2012 at Camp Arroyo in Livermore, California. Camp Winning Hands is hosted by The Taylor Family Foundation and is supported by Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland and Shriners Hospital for Children Northern California. In October of 2011, Professor Gibson traveled to Nicaragua with Health Volunteers Overseas to provide hand therapy services at Velez Paiz Children’s Hospital in Managua.

Professor Gordon Muir Giles PhD, Dip COT, OTR/L, FAOTA Professor Giles current research examines the interpersonal triggers of behavioral disregulation in persons with neurobehavioral and neuropsychiatric disorders (Giles & Manchester, 2006; Giles, Wager, Fong, & Waraich, 2005) and the assessment and treatment of persons who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI)(Giles, 2005). In 1993 Professor Giles first described the neurofunctional approach (NFA) to TBI rehabilitation (with Jo Clark-Wilson). Recent evidence published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (Vanderploeg, et al., 2008) has supported the NFA. The largest multi-center controlled trial of rehabilitation ever conducted has found that the NFA was comparable to an established form of cognitive rehabilitation when added to standard care in the principles outcome measures of return to school or work or return to independent living. Younger participants (<30 years old) and those with less education who participated in the cognitive group had better work or school related outcomes at one-year follow-up than participants in the NFA group. Further, older participants (>30 years old) and those with more education who participated in the NFA group had better independent living outcomes at one-year follow-up than participants in the cognitive group. This study provides evidence that there are two viable interventions for use in acute rehabilitation after TBI that may confer benefits when applied in addition to standard care, and that targeting specific populations and goals may maximize treatment effectiveness (Giles, 2009, 2010). A further study reported by Parish and Oddy in the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation (Parish & Oddy, 2007) found that the NFA is the only approach demonstrated to improve functional outcomes in persons who are over ten years post TBI.

Professor Giles and Clark-Wilson are currently in negotiations regarding the production of the second edition of the Brain injury Rehabilitation: A Neurofunctional Approach (Giles & Clark-Wilson, 1993) and Professor Giles has agreed to a request by AOTA press to author a revised chapter of a chapter on the neurofunctional approach (NFA) for a new edition of Cognition and Occupation.

Professor Giles recently presented at the AOTA national conference in Orlando FL to a packed house on the NFA and is about to embark on a lecture tour intended to help inform occupational therapists and other about the effectiveness of the NFA.

Professor Giles has authored a chapter on program development for the fifth edition of The OT Manager. The chapter will include vignettes contributed by occupational therapists who have successfully developed novel and innovative services for clients.

Giles, G. M. (2005). A neurofunctional approach to rehabilitation following severe brain injury. In N. Katz (Ed.), Cognition and occupation across the life span: Models for intervention in occupational therapy (pp. 139-165). Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press.

Giles, G. M. (2009). Maximizing TBI rehabilitation outcomes with targeted interventions. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 90(3), 530.

Giles, G. M. (2010). Cognitive versus functional approaches to rehabilitation after traumatic brain injury: Commentary on a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 64, 182-185.

Giles, G. M., & Clark-Wilson, J. (Eds.). (1993). Brain injury rehabilitation: A neurofunctional approach. San Diego: Singular.

Giles, G. M., & Manchester, D. (2006). Two approaches to behavior disorder after traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 21(2), 168-178.

Giles, G. M., Wager, J., Fong, L., & Waraich, B. S. (2005). Twenty-month effectiveness of a non-aversive, long-term, low cost programme for persons with persisting neurobehavioural disability. Brain Injury, 19(10), 753-764.

Parish, L., & Oddy, M. (2007). Efficacy of rehabilitation for functional skills more than 10 years after extremely severe brain injury. Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, 17(2), 230-243.

Vanderploeg, R. D., Schwab, K., Walker, W. C., Fraser, J. A., Sigford, B. J., Date, E. S., et al. (2008). Rehabilitation of traumatic brain injury in active duty military personnel and veterans: Defense and veterans brain injury center randomized controlled trial of two rehabilitation approaches. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 89, 2227-2238.

Assistant Professor Robyn Wu, OTD, OTR/L, BCP At the American Occupational Therapy Association's 2012 Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Professor Wu co-presented with Professor Shea on the topic of "High-Fidelity Patient Simulation" and also spoke about "The Ins and Outs of AOTA Board and Specialty Certification. " As a consultant for the California Department of Education, Child Development Division, Professor Wu was a lead author for the physical development chapter of the Preschool Curriculum Framework, Volume 2, published in 2011. She is also the lead author for the fine motor and perceptual motor measures of the Desired Results Developmental Profile-Preschool Revised 2 (DRDP-R2), which is scheduled for publication in 2012. Professor Wu was reappointed to serve on the Certification Examination Validation Committee of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy for 2012 and continues to enjoy her involvement with the development of the OTR exam. She is continuing to serve on the American Occupational Therapy Association's Board for Advanced and Specialty Certification (BASC) and has been active with AOTA's efforts to revise its Board Certification Program for 2013.

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