The Fall 2017 semester brought three expert guest speakers to the department of Occupational Therapy as part of our OT Scholar Series. We were honored to have these insightful researchers visit the department to speak to students, faculty, and staff about current issues in the field.
Dr. Peii Chen is a neurorehabilitation scientist at Kessler Foundation. Dr. Chen’s work is mostly focused on spatial neglect. It is a common syndrome following a traumatic brain injury or a stroke. Spatial neglect and its related disorders provide great insights to the understanding of spatial cognition and its underlying neural networks. Symptoms of spatial neglect can be manifested in various ways depending on the impaired sector or reference frame of spatial representation, the affected perceptual modality, or the ability in motor control. There is no single treatment that effectively ameliorates every symptom. Dr. Chen has been working on developing and refining clinical assessment and treatment tools for patients with spatial neglect, naming the Kessler Foundation Neglect Assessment Process (KF-NAP™) and the Kessler Foundation Prism Adaptation Treatment (KF-PAT™).
Abraham A. Brody, PhD, RN, FPCN, Associate Professor, NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, Associate Director, Hartford institute for Geriatric Nursing
Topic: Utilizing Community-Based Participatory Research to Develop Interprofessional Interventions in Caring for Vulnerable Populations
Dr. Brody is an expert in home-based inter-professional care of seriously ill older adults. His program of research focuses on how to improve symptom assessment and management of dementia and other chronic conditions through inter-professional care in community based settings including home health and hospice. He also seeks to understand how effective inter-professional care in these settings effects quality of life, healthcare utilization, and healthcare costs. Dr. Brody is a current Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Faculty Scholar, a Cambia Healthcare Foundation Sojourns Scholar, and has multiple grants from the NIH, John A. Hartford Foundation, and VA in this area.
Dr. Ji-Hyuk Park, PhD, OT, Chair, Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Health Science, Yonsei University, Republic of Korea
Topic: Therapeutic Effects of Occupation in Neurological Disorders
In occupational therapy, occupation is the therapeutic media used to improve the functional performance of participation and quality of life. Natural motivated behavior, animal model of occupation, increases the levels of neurotrophic factors enhancing neural plasticity. Experience and occupation guide changes in the neural system, as reported by nonscientific evidence in animal and human studies. Experience-dependent plasticity is induced by occupational experiences in human. Therapeutic occupation used for patients with neurological disorder should be a motivated task-oriented activity specified to a target performance skill, highly intensive, and close to a real occupation in everyday life. This kind of therapeutic activity can enhance functional recovery through experience-dependent plasticity in the human brain.