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 the Research Symposium 2018


Weekend Program Entry Level MS OT Graduates at the Research Symposium 2018


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.
  5. Version 5.0 incorporates recommendations from 28 Misericordia University occupational therapy alumni who responded to a survey which sought to update the CHSA in terms of technology and occupational therapy best practice. OT master of science students in the graduating class of 2019 who served as co-investigators on this study were: Rebecca Burgess, Haley DiMassimo, Caroline Florenzo, Bailee Hymers, Kaitlynn Kuchta, and Olivia Natale.
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 the lead investigator on the CHSA studies, Grace Fisher, Ed.D., OTR/L, Professor of Occupational Therapy, at her E-Mail Address (click here) of your intent in this regard.

OT Conferences & Presentations

American Occupational Therapy Association Presentations

Click here for AOTA 2018 Conference Presentations


Lori Charney, OTD, OTR/L

  • Oct 27, 2018 TJU IPE conference: Interprofessional Care for the 21st Century “IPE(E)...and I POO. Increasing the Comfort Level and Competency of PT, OT, NSG, MI, and SoN students with Toileting Patients”

Joseph Cipriani, Ed.D., OTR/L

  • 2018 (co-author and presenter). Cases using horticulture within mental health practice in occupational therapy: Assessments, innovations, interventions, and research. Presented as a poster at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Conference, Capetown, South Africa, May 22, 2018.
  • 2018 (co-author and presenter) International university-clinic partnerships in OT: Theory, research, and practice via an actual case study. Presented as a paper at the World Federation of Occupational Therapy Conference, May 24, 2018.

  • 2018 (co-author and co-presenter) Horticulture within mental health practice in occupational therapy: Assessments, innovations, interventions, and research. Poster resented at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 19, 2018.

  • 2018 (author and presenter) Service learning as a means to promote personal growth and self-efficacy: Working with homeless populations. Poster resented at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Salt Lake City, Utah, April 21, 2018.

  • 2017 (co-author and co-presenter) Affecting empathy: The use of integrated readings and reflective writings in an introductory class in medical and health humanities. Paper presented at the 11th Conference of the European Society for Literature, Science and the Arts, Basel, Switzerland, June 24, 2017.

  • 2017 (author and presenter) Development of an Occupational Therapy Evaluation for Persons in an Emergency Homeless Shelter. Poster resented at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Philadelphia, PA, April 1, 2017
  • 2017 (co-author and co-presenter) Creation and Implementation of a Full Semester International Service Learning Course in Occupational Therapy Education, Including Lessons from the Field, Presented as poster at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Philadelphia, PA, March 31, 2017.
  • 2017 (co-author and co-presenter). Development and Implementation of an Interdisciplinary Minor in Medical and Health Humanities within an Occupational Therapy Education Program. Presented as a poster at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Philadelphia, PA, March 31, 2017.
  • 2017 (panel, co-presenter/facilitator). Conversations that Matter: Horticulture: Gardening as Occupational Therapy Intervention. Presented as part of a panel at the Annual Conference of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Philadelphia, PA, March 30, 2017.

Jennifer Dessoye, OTD, OTR/L

  • 2018 World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT), South Africa: Podium Presentation:The Impact of Touch Screen Tablet Apps on Visual Motor, Fine Motor, and Handwriting Skills of Neurotypical Kindergartners.

Lalit Shah, Ed.D., OTR/L

  • 2018 World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT), South Africa: Poster presentation: “Evaluating the Face Validity of the Point of View Survey (POVS)”.
  • 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.


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.


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., Georgia J., McChesney, M., Swanson, J., Zigon, J., & Stabler, M. (2018) Uncovering the value and meaning of a horticulture therapy program for clients at a long-term adult inpatient psychiatric facility, Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, 34(3): 242-257. DOI: 10.1080/0164212X.2017.1416323
  • Cipriani, J., Benz, A., Holmgren, A., Kinter, D., McGarry, J., & Rubino, G. (2017). . A systematic review of the effects of horticultural therapy on persons with mental health conditions. Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, published online on February 3,
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0164212X.2016.1231602

  • 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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