Occupational Therapy Faculty, Students, Alums Step Up at Annual Conference

Published May 4, 2022

American OT Association logo.

The Department of Rehabilitation Science’s Occupational Therapy program was well represented during this year’s conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, an annual event that attracts about 1,000 members and others in the field.

  • The always-valuable fieldwork experience in the program was the topic of OT student Christy Berge’s AOTA presentation. During her talk, “Maximizing Mental Health, Well-Being, and Quality of Life on College Campuses: An opportunity for OT,” she discussed her fieldwork placement with UB alumnus David Merlo, MS, COTA/L, CPRP, ROH, and Lynn Gitlow, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, faculty member at Ithaca College.
  • OT Program Director and Clinical Assistant Professor Jan Tona, PhD, OTR, presented with D'Youville University faculty member Lynn McIvor and D’Youville student Caity Giebner on a nontraditional level II clinical placement with University Pediatric Dentistry. Contributions to the discussion also came from UB OT student Samira Kakavand and D’Youville student Jessica O'Donnell and UB OT alumni Batool Nass ‘21, Alana Reimondo ‘21 and Paige Sarnataro ‘21.
  • Tona received a certificate of completion of the eight-month AOTA Academic Leadership Institute. She is now a Credentialed Academic Leader after being accepted into and completing this competitive program.
  • UB alumnus Timothy Dionne, PhD ‘19, MS/BS ‘10, OTR, presented to the conference on “Understanding Service Delivery Decisions in Telehealth.” He is on faculty at the University of New Mexico.
  • AOTA added the name of UB OT alumnus Matt Malcolm, PhD, OTR, BS ‘96, to its Roster of Fellows. He now carries the FAOTA designation among his credentials.
  • UB OT alumna Kathryn Donovan, MS ‘16, OTR/L, presented “The Therapeutic Use of Safe Patient Handling Equipment and Mobility Techniques to Enhance Inpatient Occupational Therapy” with her colleague Kim Paulsen Santorufo, MS, OTR/L.

Tona also received accolades recently from the New York State Occupational Therapy Association. The organization’s membership newsletter featured her and her journey as a valued volunteer, saying she “has been an indispensable part of the organization and essential to the success of many of NYSOTA's recent initiatives.”

AOTA is the field’s primary professional organization, representing more than 230,000 OTs, OT assistants and OT students in the United States and beyond to advance occupational therapy practice, education and research.