A look at our faculty's accomplishments

Ana Allegretti, PhD, OTR, ATP, was promoted to associate professor with tenure in September 2021. She mentored three projects that were  presented at the AOTA INSPIRE 2022 Annual Conference. Dr. Allegretti also was accepted to present at the 2022 World Federation of Occupational Therapist (WFOT) Congress. She is on the editorial board of the Assistive Technology Journal (USA) and Cadernos de Terapia Ocupacional (Brazil), and continues to serve as a reviewer to many other journals in the field of rehabilitation, occupational therapy and assistive technology. She is also vice-chair of the International SIG group at the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA) and was elected to serve on the RESNA board. Dr. Allegretti co-presented a pre-symposium workshop at the European Seating Symposium in Dublin, Ireland, in June. She is currently working on a project with TMI Episcopal school to adapt toy cars for children with disabilities. This partnership is nurturing a collaboration between OTD students and high school students in problem-solving issues related to children with impaired mobility.


Autumn Clegg, EdD, OTR, was promoted to associate professor/clinical in September 2020. She co-presented at the 2021 AOTA Education Summit on outcomes of the doctoral capstone. She also was accepted to present at the World Federation of Occupational Therapist (WFOT) Congress in 2022. She co-authored an article titled “An Exploration of the Occupational Therapy Doctoral Capstone: Perspectives from Capstone Coordinators, Graduates, and Site Mentors” which was recently published. She continues to do faculty practice at the UT Health San Antonio ALS clinic.


Kimatha Grice,OTD, OTR, CHT, is completing data collection for a normative study on a new dexterity assessment, is a co-investigator for an interdisciplinary study on ergonomics and dental professionals, and another one for median nerve compression with the Anatomy department.  She authored a continuing education module on Ergonomics for a national dental organization which was published in June 2021 and a chapter in the text, Occupational Therapy for Physical Dysfunction (8th ed), which was published in the spring of 2020.  


Ricky Joseph, PhD, OTR, is a leader in interprofessional education and currently chairs the School of Health Professions’ Interprofessional Education and Practice Committee.  In this capacity he coordinates the efforts of the various departments in developing and updating their Interprofessional Education Plans in compliance with the UT Health San Antonio Quality Enhancement Plan.  He is an active member of the ACOTE Roster of Accreditation Examiners, the chair of the UT Faculty Senate’s Faculty Status and Welfare committee, 2022 chair of the Texas Occupational Therapy Association’s nomination committee, member of the TOTA Mental Health Task Force, as well as a board member of the Texas Occupational Therapy Foundation. He presented a 5-hour mini workshop on the Administration and Interpretation of the Performance Assessment of Self-Care Skills at the TOTA Annual Conference in November 2021 and was an accepted presentation for the 2022 AOTA INSPIRE Annual Conference. Dr. Joseph was the 2021 recipient of the Shirlyn B. McKenzie Teaching Excellence Award.


Mei-Ling Lin, PhD, OTR, joined the department in January 2021. Her research and teaching focus is on social emotional health in the pediatric population, as well as evidence-based prevention, promotion and intervention programs relevant to school and family mental health. Of her recent scholarly works, Dr. Lin presented a short course at the 2022 AOTA INSPIRE Annual Conference about pediatric environmental assessments. She was invited to present the outcomes of a universal social emotional learning program on older elementary schoolers at the Child Wellness Conference host by Texas Department of State Health Services. She will also be presenting at the 2022 World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Congress. Dr. Lin continues to provide services to the Department, the School of Health Professions and her professional organization by serving as a reviewer of journals, conference proposals and continuing education at state, national and international levels.


Laura Novak, OTD, OTR, BCG, recently transitioned from Clinical Assistant Professor to Assistant Professor. She was honored to receive a 2021 Presidential Award for Clinical Excellence. She was invited to present a session addressing behavioral challenges associated with dementia at the Mountain West Virtual OT Conference, a four-state conference. She was also invited to present a similar session for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Educating America Tour. She served as a co-chair for the People Power committee for the 2022 AOTA INSPIRE Annual Conference, where she also presented a short course. She is the co-PI on a funded LINC Seed grant and is co-facilitating an IPE course with OT, nursing and dental hygiene students that addresses oral hygiene in persons living with dementia. She is also the co-PI on a funded LINC Seed grant co-facilitating an IPE course with speech-language pathology, physician assistant, OT and pharmacy students addressing communication strategies for persons with aphasia. She continues to provide clinical services at the Mays Cancer Center, the clinical driving evaluation clinic and the comprehensive CCPD clinic in collaboration with The Biggs Institute for Alzheimer's and Neurodegenerative Diseases at UT Health San Antonio. She continues to serve as the primary clinician and PI for the grant-funded Care of Persons living with dementia in their Environments (COPE) program and serves on the Advisory Council for Dementia Friendly San Antonio. She mentored a student capstone project which led to a poster presentation at the AOTA national conference, and her doctoral research manuscript was recently accepted for publication in the Open Journal of Occupational Therapy. 


Bridgett Piernik-Yoder, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, was recognized this year for her contributions and leadership in occupational therapy education by being named to the University of Texas Kenneth I Shine Academy. Dr. Piernik-Yoder serves as the chair of the AOTA Academic Education Special Interest Section and is a member of the AOTA Committee on Education. She is also a member of the AOTA Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Mentoring program and Institute. She will present at the 2022 World Federation of Occupational Therapists (WFOT) Congress. Dr. Piernik-Yoder is part of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration funded project “Resources Information Support and Education (RISE) for Telementoring for Health Care in Rural Underserved Populations.” Her focus in this project is on investigating the professional development and learning needs of rural occupational therapy practitioners.



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In this issue
A look at our faculty's accomplishments
OT professor shares study findings for helping children reduce stress at school
Message from the Chair
Celebrating the future of the profession
Professor elected to RESNA board, presents at European Seating Symposium
AOTA INSPIRE 2022 Annual Conference & Expo — in San Antonio