One of the most exciting aspects of the Occupational Therapy program at Misericordia University is to engage in collabortive research with a faculty member. Students, in groups of four or five, design, implement, and document a research project in occupational therapy, and produce a publication ready record of their work.
The Occupational Therapy faculty strongly believes students need to conduct research both in order to be effective consumers of research, but also to expand the body of knowledge in Occupational Therapy. Between 1995 through 2006, 134 projects have been completed, and 74 of them have been presented at regional, national and international conferences or published in peer reviewed journals. Our student projects have been published in journals including the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, Occupational Therapy in Health Care, and Assistive Technology. We maintain a comprehensive list of presentations and publications by our students
Misericordia University OT class of 2004 graduates Melissa Moore, Sara Moore, Candice Yonick, and Mary Zambo will present their research poster on May 13 at the AOTA 2005 Annual Conference & Expo in Long Beach, California.
The title of their presentation is The Effectiveness of Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy: A Critical Review of the Literature. Gwen Bartolacci was their research committee chair and Dawn Evans was their reader.
Dr. Lalit Shah, Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy, has been involved in research on Sensory Integration, Handwriting, Pediatric evaluations and neonatal issues.
Some of his studies are:
Dr. Shah is also interested in educational processes in occupational therapy. He presented "Incorporating Critical Inquiry into OT Education" at a New York State Occupational Therapy Association conference, "Developing Clinical Reasoning Skills in Students" at a Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association conference, and at a World Federation of Occupational Therapy conference.
Elizabeth Pfeiffer, Ph.D., OTR/L, BCP, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and Coordinator of the Post-Professional Pediatric Certification Program, gave a presentation at the Pennsylvania Learning Disabilities Conference in Harrisburg on October 16, 2004. The title of her presentation was "Sensory Integration and Learning Disabilities." The presentation provided an overview of sensory integration theory and treatment and its relationship to learning disabilities. Conference attendees included teachers, families, and other professionals who work with children and adults with learning disabilities.
Grace S. Fisher, Ed.D., OTR/L, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy and OT Research Coordinator at Misericordia University, was a co-author of three 2006 publications.
Fisher, G. (2006). Field Tests of the Cougar Home Safety Assessments for Older Persons- Versions 1.0 and 2.0: Inter-rater Reliability, Content Validity, and Findings. An invited publication for a yearbook: Research and Practice in Alzheimer's Disease and Cognitive Decline, 11, 306-315.
Fisher, G., Coolbaugh, K., and Rhodes, C., (2006). A Field Test of the Cougar Home Safety Assessment for Older Persons Version 1.0 Validity, Inter-rater Reliability, and Study Findings. Californian Journal of Health Promotion. 4(2), 181-196.
Fisher, G., Albright, L., Finelli, J., Levine, L., Rooney, C., Zanghi, J. (2006). Paradigm of Life: A Grounded Theory of Occupational Renewal in Persons with Chronic Pain Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 4(2), 155-167.
Dr. Joseph Cipriani, Ed.D., OTR/L, and 2004 OT graduate Nathaniel Johnson traveled to Oslo, Norway for the 20th World Congress of Rehabilitation International, held June 21-24.. The podium presentation was titled "Altruistic Activity Patterns of Older Adults Living in Nursing Homes." The conference had 1000 attendees from 68 countries. Other co-authors included Shannon Faig, MS, OTR/L, Lindsay Brown, MS, OTR/L, and Karrie Ayrer, MS, OTR/L. Dr. Cipriani and Mr. Johnson were particularly excited about the interest in the project from health care professionals in places as diverse as the Netherlands, Croatia, and Sweden. Two years ago Dr. Cipriani presented another paper as a result of student-faculty collaboration on a project at the World Congress of Occupational Therapists in Stockholm, Sweden.
Two faculty-student projects were presented in May at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Dr. Lalit Shah, Ed.D., OTR/L, along with occupational therapy graduates Stephanie Myers and Brittany Heath presented a poster titled “Therapeutic Horseback Riding: Effects on Postural Control and balance. The innovative research design focused on how the enjoyable leisure occupation of riding horses benefited young children with cerebral palsy. Another co-author was Timothy Walker.
Joseph Cipriani, Ed.D., OTR/L has published his research and scholarship in major journals and texts in occupational therapy and the health sciences. Some of Dr. Cipriani's projects have been conducted with students in the occupational therapy program as co-researchers. His and their work has been published in Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics on numerous occasions and the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal. Professor Cipriani has also presented or co-presented scholarly papers or posters at numerous annual conventions of the American Occupational Therapy Association, two congresses of the World Federation of Occupational Therapists (Montreal, Canada 1998; Stockholm, Sweden 2002), and the world congress of Rehabilitation International (Oslo, Norway, 2004).
Dr. Cipriani's interests are mainly about the occupations of older adults, and occupational therapy services delivered to this population. He has recently conducted research with his students on altruistic activity patterns of older adults living in long term care settings, and the meaning of objects in older adult's living quarters in nursing homes. He is currently working on a conceptual paper on the concept of altruism as a human need of older adults, and how occupational therapists can help them meet this need. He has also conducted research on animal assisted therapy, issues in death and dying of older adults, communication patterns between older adults and their occupational therapists, and how occupational therapists use computers in their therapeutic interventions with the elderly.
Dr. Joseph Cipriani, Ed.D., OTR/L also traveled to Minnesota and presented a poster on the issue of gender representation within the occupational therapy professional literature. The well-received presentation was co-authored by Erica Grant, Susan Naples, Beth Sims, and Dana Thomas, all recent graduates of the occupational therapy program. Ms. Grant is a resident of Nanticoke, Pa., and Ms. Sims resides in Exeter, Pa.