Girls reading together on a couch - Building Evidence to Improve Practice & Health
Selected Joint Initiatives with AOTA

AOTF works closely with the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) to support a variety of programs designed to advance research, education, and leadership in occupational therapy. Several of these joint initiatives are undertaken during the annual AOTA Annual Conference while others are undertaken throughout the year.

Summer Institute for Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy

AOTA and AOTF announce the second annual Summer Institute for Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy, a 1-day program that will match potential student scientists with doctoral and post-doctorate mentors. Program participants will meet with leading occupational therapy scientists to address topics such as possibilities within OT science, considerations when evaluating potential doctoral programs, and career opportunities as a scientist. Participants will also attend the sixth annual 2-day Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars at Boston University.

Purpose of the Institute

The purpose of the Institute is threefold: 

(1) to identify potential scientists in entry-level education programs; 

(2) to connect potential entry-level scientists with mentors in the occupational therapy scientific community; and 

(3) to develop a peer network.

Who is Invited?

A cohort of 20 entry-level students will be selected to participate in the 1-day Institute on June 1, 2017, and the 2-day Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars on June 2–3, 2017. The facilitators and mentors of the Institute will be composed of faculty and doctoral/post-doctoral students from established research programs around the nation. Selected students will earn a scholarship that will cover economy flights, ground transportation, and hotel (shared with another student). Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Selected participants are expected to arrive on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, to be ready for the Institute the following morning.


  • To apply, you must be a current student in occupational therapy with an interest in science and research in the field of occupational therapy.
  • All interested students are invited to apply. Priority will be given to students whose programs do not have a history of independent, externally funded research and students from diverse geographic locations.

For more details and application information, see the AOTA website. All applications must be submitted electronically to no later than December 2, 2016.


In its first year, the Summer Institute received more than 60 applications from well-qualified students from across the nation. The applicant pool was very diverse, representing students from various racial/ethnic groups and geographical regions. With only 20 spots available, competition was very steep. Student applications were scored based on the students’ demonstrated interest in a research-focused career, with priority given to students from institutions that do not have a strong history of independent, externally-funded research. 

Congratulations to the 2016 Cohort of Future Scientists in Occupational Therapy!

The student cohort participated in the 1-day Summer Institute where they were matched with research mentors and instructed in topics such as research possibilities within OT science, considerations when evaluating potential doctoral programs, and career opportunities as a scientist. Following the Summer Institute, the cohort attended the 2-day Annual OT Research Summit where they interfaced with scientists in the field of occupational therapy, were exposed to current research in OT, engaged with their mentors, and developed research networks.

Vanessa Carmody  University of Toledo

Thomas Moodie  University of Wisconsin - LaCrosse

Bryce Carsone  Nova Southeastern University

Mylinh Nguyen  University of New Mexico

Colleen Coughlin  Utica College

Gloria Reynaga  Creighton University

Jackie Einerson  University of Utah

Kristen Sheau  MGH Institute of Health Professions

Julia Graham  Belmont University

Thomas Stevens University of Mary

Morgan Gralla  Towson University

Jorge Torres-Velez  University of Puerto Rico

Matthew Hill  Spalding University

Christine Weston  SUNY Downstate

Katrina Kotta  University of North Dakota

Megan Wilkison  Concordia University of Wisconsin

Michelle Lazar  Stony Brook University

Rebecca Williams Eastern Kentucky University 

Sharon Medina  University of Florida

Kasa Zipfel  Pacific University

AOTA-AOTF Occupational Therapy Researcher Database

AOTF and AOTA hope to facilitate the creation of strong research networks and better understand the research assets we have in the profession.  An important step is to gather information regarding occupational therapy research and grants.  A couple of years ago, AOTA-AOTF launched a research database for this purpose.  

AOTF worked with Indiana University in January 2016 to conduct asset mapping of the database around research priority areas to build our profession's research capacity and make it easier to connect people. We will be finalizing the data for analysis at the end of December. 

Accelerating Clinical Trials and Outcomes Research (ACTOR) Conference

December 1–2, 2011

This conference was designed to address the insufficient number of published clinical trials and outcomes research in occupational therapy and related discipline. It increased scientists’ understanding of the design and conduct of rigorous clinical trials and outcomes research and increased the research capacity in occupational therapy and related disciplines by providing them with tools and collaborative opportunities. Click here to view ACTOR conference videos.


The International Conference on Evidenced-based Practice in Occupational Therapy

July 11-14, 2004

The purpose of this project was to marshal the efforts of the international community of occupational therapists to enhance dissemination of research information for evidence-based practice and to identify and address gaps in research.

Twenty-six participants from thirteen countries convened with an agenda focused on the needs of the global occupational therapy community. Three major topics were addressed by task groups:  

  • critical review and synthesis of the literature, knowledge transfer, and practitioner education. Each group identified one or two priority goals, which included: securing international financial support for an existing evidence data-base currently supported in Australia; 
  • facilitating establishment of the World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) website as an entry point for materials related to evidence-based OT; establishing a web portal for dissemination of teaching materials for educational programs;  
  • creating a catalog system for evidence that is based in the ICF and occupation frameworks; and developing standard guidelines for critically-appraised papers and topics. 

Specific tasks were identified for each goal, as well as timelines for accomplishing the tasks and persons or groups who would assume responsibility for each task. Mechanisms for on-going electronic communication also were identified.