OT Department Research, Publications and Presentations

Council of Occupational Therapists for European Countries & European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education

Council of Occupational Therapists for European Countries & European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education

Galway, Ireland

Several Misericordia occupational therapy graduates attended the first inaugural COTEC-ENOTHE conference at the Northern University of Ireland in Galway, Ireland June 15-19, 2016.The focus of the conference was to establish a connection between clinical practice, research, policy and education. Misericordia alumnae presented their masters research projects to over 1,000 OTs from 45 different countries.

Pictured above at the COTEC-ENOTHE in Galway, Ireland from left to right: Leah Davis MS, OT '16; Samantha Rehrig MS, OT '16; Dr. Lori Charney; Tara Robinson MS, OT '16; Danielle Makadon-Malone MS, OT '16; Carly Zaklukiewicz MS, OT '16; Lindsey McLaughlin, MS OT '16.

Student Research

Student Research

As part of the educational experience of every occupational therapy student in the entry level masters program, a research project is conducted. Over 100 of these projects, conducted in student groups of 3 to 5 under the guidance of a faculty research chair, have made very important contributions to the research knowledge base in OT, and have resulted in dozens of presentations by students and faculty at national and international conferences, as well as publications in major journals in the discipline of occupational therapy both nationally and internationally, including the American Journal of Occupational Therapy, the British Journal of Occupational Therapy, Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, and many others.

Weekday Program Entry Level BS/MS OT Graduates at Research Presentations 2017

Weekend Program Entry Level MS OT Graduates at Research Presentations 2017

Cougar Home Safety Assessment - Research

These home environmental safety assessment instruments were developed and field-tested by Misericordia University occupational therapy graduate students in partial fulfillment of their research project requirements. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to download the above documents.

  1. Version 1.0 was developed by Natalie Bryan, Kristen Coolbaugh, and Christin Rhodes. A report of their study was published in the June 2006 issue of the Californian Journal of Health Promotion and can be found at http://www.cjhp.org/
  2. Version 2.0, an adaptation of the original assessment, was developed by Alison Baker, Dana Koval, Chris Lishok, and Emily Stine. Their research will be published in an upcoming issue of the Australian Occupational Therapy Journal.
  3. Version 3.0 reflects the latest changes in the instrument. It was developed by Nicole Cardillo, Silvana Chin, Erica Derrick, and Kelda Zepherin. Their report is currently being considered for potential publication in a peer reviewed journal.
  4. Version 4.0 incorporates assessment suggestions obtained through a Delphi survey from a panel of occupational therapy experts. This updated version includes a disaster preparedness section, and was created by Holly Civiitella and Vanessa Perez Migliosi. Keith Ewonishon has conducted content validity testing of this instrument. Erin Bradley, Diane Costulas, Laura Kintner, Jodi Kozlevcar, Karla Mahonski, Keira McMenamin, Amanda Rompilla, and Jillian Woods are currently field testing the instrument to determine if it will move residents to make positive environmental safety changes in their homes.
Permission is granted for occupational therapists to use these assessments for clinical or research purposes. If you choose to download these documents, we ask that you please notify Grace Fisher, Ed.D., OTR/L, Assistant Professor at her E-Mail Address (click here) of your intent in this regard.

OT Conferences & Pressentations

American Occupational Therapy Association Presentations

Click here for AOTA 2017 Conference Presentations

Council of Occupational Therapists for European Countries and European Network of Occupational Therapy in Higher Education Presentations

Galway, Ireland

June 15-19, 2016

1."The Effects Of Sensory Processing And Behavior of Special Needs Children on Parent Participation: A Correlation Study" was presented by Assistant Professor Dr. Elaina DaLomba from Misericordia University, along with other co-authors Mary Frances Baxter (Texas Woman's University), Patricia Fingerhut (University of Texas Medical Branch), and Anne O'Donnell (Texas Woman's University).

2."The Effectiveness of iPad Handwriting Applications on Improving Visual Motor and Handwriting Skills in Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder" was presented by MU graduate OTD student Lindsey McLaughlin.Additional co authors were Assistant Professor Dr. Jennifer Dessoye,Chelsey Converse, MS Class of '15,Shannon McSweeney, MS Class of '15, and Cathryn Steinhoff, MS Class of '15.

3."The Effectiveness of a Multi-Sensory Center-Based Learning Curriculum in Pre-Kindergarten Students" was presented by Leah Davis, Samantha Rehrig, and Tara Robinson.Additional co-authors were Dr. Jennifer Dessoye and Ellen Mahon, MS Class of '16.

4."Linking Sensory Strategies and Social Skills Training Improve the Social Participation in Children with ASD" was presented by by Dr. Lori Charney, Danielle Makadon-Malone, and Carly Zaklukiewicz.Additional co-authors were Dr. Ellen McLaughlin, Logan Zeitler, OT MS Class of '16,and Kelsey Maas OT MS '

National Association of Neonatal Therapists Annual Conference

Orlando, FL

April 2016

Misericordia University MS and OTD program alumnus and adjunct faculty member Dr. Kim Kubistek presented her study called "An Investigation of the Methods and Products used to Thicken Infant Formula in U.S. Children’s Hospitals: A Survey Study" in a poster presentation at the annual conference of NANT- the National Association of Neonatal Therapists in April 2016 in Orlando FL. Student researchers from the OT class of 2015 who were co-authors of this investigation were Brittany Bly, Katherine Murphy, and Christina Tucci. The faculty reader on this project was Dr. Ellen McLaughlin.

International Conference on Occupational Therapy


March 3-4, 2016

Dr. Lalit Shah presented the "Study of Pre-Handwriting Factors Necessary for Successful Handwriting in Children" on March 3-4, 2016 in Singapore.Student co-researchers were Katarzyna Bialek, OTS; Melinda L. Clarke, OTS; and Jessica Jansson, OTS. Mar 03-04, 2016 in Singapore.

Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association 2017

This year’s Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Association (POTA) Conference had great representation from Misericordia University OT faculty and alumni. Recent graduate Allison Hausman, MS, OTR/L was selected to participate in the POTA Emerging Leaders program, a yearlong experience that began with a full day workshop prior to conference. We all recall Allison’s excellent leadership as a student at Misericordia as well! Dr. Ellen McLaughlin, OTR/L, FAOTA began a 3 year term as Chair of the Commission on Education for POTA by attending a board meeting prior to conference and conducting two open sessions during the conference to discuss education issues across the state. Seven poster and nine platform presentations were conducted by numerous alumni from our entry level masters and doctoral programs. MU faculty, graduates and students presenting at conference are highlighted in bold.


  • Prism Adaptation Treatment for Spatial Neglect. Krystal Robinson Bert, OTD,OTR/L, Ashley Murray, MS, OTR.
  • Born Addicted: A Rehab Model for NAS. Carissa Snelling, MS, OTR/L, BCP.
  • Conversations with Commissions. Ellen McLaughlin, EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Michelle Marshina, OTD, OTR/L
  • Student Teaching-Learning Strategies for Success. Sharon Novalis, PhD, OTR/L.
  • Maternal and Neonatal Opiod Addiction: Occupational Therapy’s Role. Erica Wentzel, MS, OTR/L.
  • Curricular Design and the Doctoral Experiential: Meeting OTD Standard Specifics, Student and Profession Wide Needs. Tina DeAngelis, EdD, OTR/L and Lydia Navarro-Walker, OTD, OTR/L.
  • Challenge Yourself: Creating a Conference Proposal with Confidence. Michelle Baun, OTR/L, Susuan Connor, OTD, OTR/L, CCHP, Daniel Fichter, OTD, OTR/L, Traci Herc, MOT, OTR/L and Lynne Huber, OTD, OTR/L.
  • Student Designed Fieldwork Activity Kits that Promote Occupation Based Activities in All Treatment Settings. Patricia Wisniewski, MS, OTR/L, CPRP, Courtney Lancia, MS, OTR/L.
  • Interoception: Innovative Intervention Protocol for Children with Autism. Adam Amspacher, OTS, Alyssa Rea, OTS, Elizabeth Niehaus, OTS, Kelly Mahler, MS, OTR/L, Sue West, OTR/L


  • Increasing Older Adult Activity Engagement: Using the ACL as a Guide. Linda Harris, MS, OTR/L.
  • Level I Fieldwork in a Homeless Shelter. Christina Wetzel, OTD, OTR/L and Dawn Evans, OTD, OTR/L.
  • Flow Rates of Dr. Brown’s Options Bottle System. Presented by Kim Kubistek, OTD, OTR/L. ELM research students included Deidre Stevens, Jackie Cormier, Katie Kelly, Ashley Salerno and Kaitlyn Smalley.
  • Standardized Patient Encounters: Student Perception. Audrey Zapletal, MS, OTR/L, E. Adel Herge, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Tina De Angelis, EdD, OTR/L, Kimberley Mollo, OTD, OTR/L, Tracey Vause-Earland, PhD, OTR/L, Alison Bell, OTD, OTR/L, Arlene Lorch, OTD, OTR/L, CHES.
  • Keeping the Spirit: Dementia and Spiritual Care. Brooke Chaney, OTS, Leanne Lubinski, OTS, Savannah Major, OTS, Nicole O’Donnell, OTS and Sharon D. Novalis, Ph.D., OTR/L.
  • PromOTing the OT Profession: OT and Student Advocacy. Meghan McGowan, OTS , Victoria Davis, OTS and Sharon D. Novalis, PhD, OTR/L .
  • An Agricultural and Horticultural Transition Vocation Program for Adolescents with Special Needs. Presented by Allison Hausman, MS, OTR/L and Fallon Cooper, MS, OTR/L. Additional authors include Jennifer Dessoye, OTD, OTR/L, Alyssa Auer, MS, OTR/L, Megan DiGerolamo, MS, OTR/L, Quinn Fohlinger, MS, OTR/L, and Erin Huff, MS, OTR/L.
  • Development and Evaluation of an Occupational Therapy Doctorate Student Manual for the Experiential Component: Systematic Methods and Outcomes. Lydia Navarro-Walker, OTD, OTR/L, CLA, Tina DeAngelis, EdD, OTR/L and Catherine Piersol, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA.

Texas Occupational Therapy Conference

Dallas, TX

November 2015

Dr. Elaina Dalomba presented "The Effects of Sensory Processing Abnormalities and Maladaptive Behaviors of Young Children on Parent Participation:A Correlation Study" at the Texas Occupational Therapy Association Annual Conference held November 4-8, 2015 in Dallas Texas.

OT Graduate Student Research Presentations

Recent OT Department Publications

Cipriani, J., Cooper, M., DiGiovanni, N., Litchofski, A., Nichols, A., & Ramsey, A. (2013). Dog-assisted therapy for residents of long-term care facilities: An evidence-based review with implications for occupational therapy. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Geriatrics, 31(3), 214-240.

Cardinale, J., Malacari, LK, Broggi, S.R., Savignano, J., and Fisher, GS. (2014). "The Model of Occupational Empowerment and Gunnarsson's Tree Theme: Intervention for Mothers in Recovery." Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 30, 43-68.

Fisher, G.S. (2014, September). Reflections on the information age, social norms, and professional ethics. Administration & Management Special Interest Section Quarterly, 30(3), 1-4.

Shah, L. and Gladson, B. (2015). The Relationship of Pencil Grasp on College Students' Handwriting Speed and Legibility, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, and Early Intervention, 8(2), 180-191.

Shah L.,Bialek. K., Clarke, M.L., & Jansson, J.(2016). Study of Pre-Handwriting Factors Necessary for Successful Handwriting in Children. International Journal of Social, Behavioral, Educational, Economic, Business and Industrial Engineering, 10(3), 688-695.

Myers, J., Bender,M.,Marquardt, T.,Roche, M., Zak, J. and Fisher, G.S. (2016). Occupational Balance in Religious Sisters of Mercy using Matuska and Christiansen’s Life Balance Model. Journal of Occupational Science, 3(2), 145-155.

Adjunct OT faculty Dr. Andrea Collins and MU OT 2015 graduates Melanie Clabia, Kaitlyn Cully, Kaitlyn Pagnotta, and Deborah Keys study called "Exploring School Based Occupational Therapists’ Perspectives on the Use of iPad" was published in the March 21, 2016 issue of OT Practice.

OT Faculty & Student Research Archives

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