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Research Resources

A monthly newsletter of the

AOTF Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health

July/August 2009


Dear Colleagues,  

Greetings from the AOTF Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health. This issue of Research Resources features a Cooperation Spotlight on the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD), as well as an AOTF Institute spotlight on our own Dissertation Research Grant Program.

We are grateful to our colleague Roberta Carlin, AAHD Executive Director, for her time and her assistance in designing the AAHD spotlight, not only in mutual support of health promotion and wellness initiatives for people with disabilities but also in the advancement of occupational therapy research, education, and leadership and the role of the profession in enabling individuals to participate fully in life regardless of their physical, social, mental, or developmental circumstances.

Since 2006, AOTF has awarded grants to doctoral candidates whose research directly contributes to one of the profession's Research Priorities and Parameters of Practice for Occupational Therapy. Today, with this spotlight, the AOTF Institute is pleased to announce that five grant recipients have now completed their dissertations and have been awarded their doctorates. Read about all of them here, and especially Gwen Weinstock-Zlotnick of New York University who most recently completed her doctorate.

Thank you again for subscribing to Research Resources and for encouraging your colleagues to connect to AOTF through this monthly publication and its associated news alerts. We appreciate your interest and your support now and always.



Jeffrey S. Reznick, PhD
Director, AOTF Institute for the Study of Occupation and Health


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AOTF Institute Cooperation Spotlight: American Association on Health and Disability


The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is a national non-profit membership organization located in Rockville, MD and is incorporated as a 501(c)(3).  AAHD is the only national organization specifically dedicated to advancing health promotion and wellness initiatives for people with disabilities at the federal, state and community levels.  AAHD accomplishes its mission through research, advocacy, education, and public awareness.  AAHD staff serve on numerous national coalitions and hold leadership positions on APHA Disability Section; CDC, NCBDDD, External Partners Group; Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Prevention Task Force, and the HHS National Biodefense Science Board (NBSB). AAHD receives funding from both private and public entities.


AAHD was founded in 1994 in response to a new national health and disability policy that was emerging in the late 1980's, as major developments were beginning to make a significant impact on creating a national disability agenda. Currently, AAHD represents people with disabilities in many significant national initiatives related to health and disability, disability policy, disability research, and disability services.  AAHD is an active partner with disability organizations, academic/research institutions and federal agencies.  AAHD provides current scientific and programmatic information on health promotion and wellness for people with disabilities via numerous dissemination tools. (list serves, quarterly newsletter, webinars, and conferences).


In 2008, AAHD launched the Disability and Health Journal, the first peer-reviewed journal in the field of disability and health. The DHJ is a scientific, scholarly journal that focuses on health promotion and wellness initiatives for people with disabilities.  Its multidisciplinary content draws from disability research, public health, epidemiology, health education, general and internal medicine, and physical rehabilitation and medicine. AAHD hosts the Health Promotion Resource Center (HPRC) on the AAHD website. The HPRC is a wealth of information on a multitude of topics related to health and disability.  The HPRC includes an extensive section on Best Practices and Research Abstracts on contemporary disability topics.  In 2009, AAHD launched the AAHD Scholarship Fund, which was established to support college students with a disability majoring in public health, disability research/studies and health related majors.  AAHD  receives funding from the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to increase disability awareness in mammogram facilities and reduce physical, cultural and attitudinal barriers.  AAHD works closely with the CDC, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Disability and Health Team on various projects. 


To learn more about AAHD, visit their web site. To support AAHD in their efforts to promote health and wellness for people with disabilities and work towards eliminating health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population, please visit their membership site. 


AOTF Institute Spotlight: Dissertation Research Grant Program 

This month, AOTF is pleased to spotlight Gwen Weinstock-Zlotnick, PhD, OTR/L, CHT, who recently completed her doctorate with support from the Dissertation Research Grant Program. 


Weinstock-Slotnick photoIn 2008, the AOTF awarded a Dissertation Research Grant to Gwen Weinstock-Zlotnick of New York University to support her dissertation entitled, How Occupational Therapists Specializing in Hand Therapy Consider Participation During The Evaluation Process: A Look at Diagnostic Reasoning. This exploratory study surveyed over 150 occupational therapists who specialize in hand therapy, gathering information about the assessment tools they typically use, the indications they consider when discharging patients, and the diagnostic reasoning they employ when identifying problems and setting goals for patients described in two case studies. This study, with its focus on participation and occupation in the specialized treatment of the upper extremity, is the first of its kind. Its findings demonstrated that the participants used a bottom-up approach to evaluation and treatment. Assessment tools that considered participation were seldom used and therapists infrequently identified problems relating to participation. However, when considering indications for discharge, therapists considered impairments in body structures and functions and participation restrictionswith nearly equal frequency. These conclusions point to important gaps in current practice patterns and warrant further investigation.
The AOTF Dissertation Research Grant was instrumental to both the survey development and data collection of the study. It supported the piloting of the survey questionnaire both through incentives to participants and the numerous printings required. The grant also enabled a wide recruitment of over 600 participants at a conference geared toward the targeted population.
Dr. Weinstock-Zlotnick currently works as a clinician in the outpatient Hand Rehabilitation Department of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York. She hopes to continue exploring themes related to participation and occupation within the specialized practice area of hand therapy. 


Grant Announcements & Resources

Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Awards
The Rosalinde Gilbert Innovations in Alzheimer's Disease Caregiving Legacy Awards promote innovation in the field of Alzheimer's caregiving by recognizing efforts in addressing the needs of Alzheimer's caregivers. Three awards of $20,000 each will be presented to nonprofit organizations, government agencies, or universities in the following categories: Creative Expression; Diverse/Multicultural Communities; and Policy and Advocacy. Online applications must be submitted by August 14, 2009.


Vocational Rehabilitation Services Projects for American Indians with Disabilities
This program provides vocational rehabilitation services to American Indians with disabilities who reside on or near federal or state reservations. Current Closing Date for Applications: July 23, 2009


Healthy Parenting Health Communication and Conference Fellowship

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disability (NCBDDD), Division of Human Development and Disability, is seeking an individual to assist in multiple capacities to further the translation of CDC research and work in healthy parenting. This position is currently a one year fellowship with an expected start date of October 2009. Applications are due August 30, 2009


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Think of AOTF when you search the internet or shop online. Use these sites by entering the American Occupational Therapy Foundation and AOTF benefits from every search or purchase!

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Health Literacy 1st Annual Research Conference on Health Literacy (October 19-20, 2009, Washington, DC)
The Health Literacy Annual Research Conference (HARC) will be an interdisciplinary meeting for investigators engaged in health literacy research including faculty involved in a broad array of public health, health services, epidemiology, translational, and interventional research activities. Investigators who have an abstract selected for oral presentation at the meeting will receive a stipend for meeting attendance. Abstract submission deadline is August 19, 2009.

Third International Brain Injury Conference (September 23-24, 2009, Birmingham Great Britain)
The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust's (BIRT) latest conference on the treatment and rehabilitation of people with brain injury or head injury will combine plenary sessions with symposiums practical "hands on" workshops, enabling delegates to participate in debate, discussion, learn new techniques and share good practice in the field of brain injury/head injury rehabilitation.


Cognitive Rehabilitation and the Multi-context Approach to Executive Dysfunction, Awareness, & Memory (September 24-25, 2009, Peterborough, Ontario)
This Mindworks workshop will provide in-depth information on evaluation and treatment strategies for adults with acquired brain injury who have impairments in executive function, self awareness and memory. Standardized and non-traditional assessments that examine different aspects of executive functioning, awareness and memory will be reviewed. The use of dynamic assessment techniques to link assessment results with treatment will be presented. Different approaches to intervention will be illustrated and recent evidence-based findings will be discussed.

7th Annual Pediatric Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Conference (November 9-10, 2009, Miami, Florida)

This multidisciplinary conference will discuss the basic science mechanisms of pediatric brain and spinal cord injury and how they relate to the management of children recovering from brain injury and other neurological conditions, analyze the controversies in clinical decision-making in the acute and long-term care of children with acute brain and spinal cord injury, discuss the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to children with brain and spinal cord injury, evaluate new strategies aimed at improving outcome from catastrophic brain and spinal cord injury, discuss present standards and future directions in pediatric neurorehabilitation, and detect the current research priorities in the field of pediatric brain and spinal cord injury.


TEDMED 2009 Conference Opportunity and Special Registration Discount (October 27-30, 2009, San Diego, California)

The TEDMED 2009 conference, sponsored by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio, will bring together top leaders and provocative thinkers from numerous disciplines spanning the medicine and health care arenas. They will address issues from genomics to health care reform, and explore questions like whether we can end aging or use your smartphone to save your life, the event sets the stage for shaping tomorrow's health and health care breakthroughs. 

A $500 discount has been negotiated for all RWJF colleagues and friends-just enter the code "rwjf" under the 'group code' field on the TEDMED registration page. This discount is valid until July 24, 2009 or until registration becomes full and closes.


Web-Based & Related Resources

APTR Workshop Slides Now Available
Presentation slides are now available from Improving Health WITH Communities: The Role of Community Engagement in Clinical and Translational Research workshop of the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR) which took place on May 14-15, 2009.  This was the second annual conference on best practices and how to collaborate with communities and health care providers to improve health.

Resource available to all - Data.gov

The purpose of Data.gov is to increase public access to high value, machine readable datasets generated by the executive branch of the federal government. Data.gov includes searchable data catalogs providing access to data in three ways: through the "raw" data catalog, the tool catalog and the geodata catalog. If there are additional datasets that you would like to see included on this site, please click here. For more information on how to use Data.gov, view the tutorial.

The Medpedia Project

The Medpedia Project is a long-term, worldwide project to evolve a new model for sharing and advancing knowledge about health, medicine and the body among medical professionals and the general public. This model is founded on providing a free online technology platform that is collaborative, interdisciplinary and transparent.

MyNetResearch.com Announces its New Research Forums for Academic and Corporate Researchers
MyNetResearch launched its new Academic Research Forums. 

Forum members discuss faculty research ideas and proposals. Doctoral students can also exchange ideas on issues such as teaching, dissertation, and life balance. 


The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society Announces its Resource Guide

The National MS Society Resource Guide for Clinicians, a catalogue of the wide range of products and services the Society provides, includes unique education and training opportunities, clinical consultations and library services, professional publications, toolkits and guidelines, and research resources. This downloadable guide also contains information about programs and services available for adult and pediatric MS patients, as well as a menu of ways to become involved with the Society.


Publication Announcements

New Publication on Comparative Effectiveness Research

In today's healthcare system, patients, physicians, clinicians, and family caregivers often lack the sufficient scientific data and evidence they need to determine the best course of treatment for the patients' medical conditions. Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER) is designed to fill this knowledge gap by assisting patients and healthcare providers across diverse settings in making more informed decisions. In this 2009 report, the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Prioritization establishes a working definition of CER, develops a priority list of research topics, and identifies the necessary requirements to support a robust and sustainable CER enterprise. The prepublication version can be read on online for free. Committee on Comparative Effectiveness Research Prioritization, Institute of Medicine (2009) Initial National Priorities for Comparative Effectiveness Research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.

Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities
Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People updates a 1994 Institute of Medicine book, Reducing Risks for Mental Disorders, focusing special attention on the research base and program experience with younger populations that have emerged since that time. Researchers, such as those involved in prevention science, mental health, education, substance abuse, juvenile justice, health, child and youth development, as well as policy makers involved in state and local mental health, substance abuse, welfare, education, and justice will depend on this updated information on the status of research and suggested directions for the field of mental health and prevention of disorders. Mary Ellen O'Connell, M.E., Boat, T., Warner, K.E. (Eds). (2009) Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. National Academies Press: Washington, D.C.


International Handbook of Population Aging
The International Handbook of Population Aging is the first comprehensive volume to examine research on a wide array of the profound implications of population aging. Global population aging is one of the most important issues facing human societies in the early twenty-first century. As noted by the 2002 UN World Assembly on Ageing Report, this global trend in population aging is unprecedented in human history, is pervasive across societies, is enduring (there is no going back to younger populations), and has profound implications for human beings. Uhlenber, P. (Ed.) (2009) International Handbook of Population Aging. Series: International Handbooks of Population, Handbook 1. Netherlands: Springer. 


The Culture of Our Discontent: Beyond the Medical Model of Mental Illness

Looking at social, evolutionary, cross-cultural, and nutritional influences, anthropologist Meredith Small deconstructs mental illnesses like depression and anxiety conditions that appear in different forms and for different reasons within the culture that defines them. By rethinking assumptions and questioning standard treatment programs, she helps us gradually relax our grip on the medical model to discover a new perspective on mental illness. Small, M.F. (2006) The Culture of Our Discontent: Beyond the Medical Model of Mental Illness. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.


How a Normal Behavior Became a Sickness

With unprecedented access to the American Psychiatric Association archives and previously classified memos from drug company executives, Christopher Lane unearths the disturbing truth: with little scientific justification and sometimes hilariously improbable rationales, hundreds of conditions-among them shyness-are now defined as psychiatric disorders and considered treatable with drugs. Lane shows how long-standing disagreements within the profession set the stage for these changes, and he assesses who has gained and what's been lost in the process of medicalizing emotions. Lane, C. (2008) Shyness: How Normal Behavior Became a Sickness. New Haven: Yale University Press.


A Close Look at Allergies

Breathing Space describes how allergic disease has shaped American culture, landscape, and life. Drawing on environmental, medical, and cultural history and the life stories of people, plants, and insects, Mitman traces how America's changing environment from the late 1800s to the present day has led to the epidemic growth of allergic disease. We have seen a never-ending stream of solutions to combat allergies, from hay fever resorts, herbicides, and air-conditioned homes to numerous potions and pills. But, as Mitman shows, despite the quest for a magic bullet, none of the attempted solutions has succeeded. Until we address how our changing environment-physical, biological, social, and economic-has helped to create America's allergic landscape, that hoped-for success will continue to elude us. Mitman, G. (2008) Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape Our Lives and Landscapes. New Haven:Yale University Press. 


Learning Science in Informal Environments

Learning Science in Informal Environments draws together disparate literatures, synthesizes the state of knowledge, and articulates a common framework for the next generation of research on learning science in informal environments across a life span. Contributors include recognized experts in a range of disciplines--research and evaluation, exhibit designers, program developers, and educators. They also have experience in a range of settings--museums, after-school programs, science and technology centers, media enterprises, aquariums, zoos, state parks, and botanical gardens. Bell, P., Lewenstein, B., Shouse, A.W., Feder, M.A. (Eds.) Learning Science in Informal Environments: People Places and Pursuits. (2009) Washington, DC: National Academies Press.


AOTF Institute Image of the Month


From the Archives of the AOTA,Eleanor Clarke Slagle photo
housed in the AOTF Wilma L. West Library.



Eleanor Clarke Slagle, 1920.  Once called the "personification of occupational therapy," Ms. Slagle was a pioneer and leader in the field.  



The AOTF Institute makes this image, as well as the Guide to the Archives of the AOTA, available publicly as part of its mission to honor the past and be the best possible steward of the unique body of knowledge that is occupational therapy. To this end, the AOTF Institute warmly welcomes individuals from within and beyond occupational therapy to explore the guide and use the archives for purposes of research, education, and leadership. 




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