COTAD Leaders Continue to Excel

COTAD’s Executive Board consists of OT practitioners who excel both in both their work and professional endeavors and their work with COTAD. As a volunteer organization, COTAD requires a great deal of time and effort to maintain our current programs and continue to develop as a nonprofit organization – and our Executive Board members make this sacrifice daily. We are proud to have such accomplished and talented members at the helm of our organization, and we look forward to seeing where their leadership takes us next!

COTAD Chair Catherine Hoyt, PhD, OTD, OTR/L was recently featured in a local news story and on the Washington University in St. Louis website for her research on early detection of childhood brain damage or motor dysfunction. This research is detailed in an April 2019 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) titled “Detection of Pediatric Upper Extremity Motor Activity and Deficits With Accelerometry” that was the culmination of her doctoral research. The project was largely funded by the $25,000 Alvin R. Tarlov and John E. Ware Doctoral Dissertation Award for Patient Reported Outcomes, which Dr. Hoyt also earned as part of her advanced studies. Several weeks before this post was published, Dr. Hoyt also made another trip to serve rural and pediatric clients in Guatemala with OT students and faculty at WUSTL. Finally, Dr. Hoyt successfully defended her dissertation on May 20, 2019 in order to earn her Ph.D. in PhD in Rehabilitation and Participation Science (RAPS).

Vice Chair Arameh Anvarizadeh, OTD, OTR/L recently joined the faculty at the USC Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy as the new Director of Admissions. In this role, Dr. Anvarizadeh will be responsible for helping promote diversity and inclusion throughout the admissions process and as part of the Division’s curriculum and other programs. Dr. Anvarizadeh was also part of the AOTA Special Task Force on Entry Level Education, and a crucial contributor to the professional dialogue on the entry level degree requirements in 2018-19. She continues to work tirelessly to support and establish COTAD Chapters at OT programs across the country to facilitate dialogue, awareness, and change related to issues of diversity in patient care and professional education.

Education Chair Cristina Reyes Smith, OTD, OTR/L was promoted to Director of Admissions for the Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at the Medical University of South Carolina. She was the 2018 Keynote Speaker at the OTAO Conference ( In May 2019, Dr. Smith was accepted into the highly competitive MUSC Master Class in Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program, an honor bestowed upon few faculty and staff members at the University. After completing the program, which includes participation in innovative and interactive learning experiences and individualized coaching/discussions, she will become a certified diversity and inclusion practitioner who has the tools needed to operationalize diversity and inclusion in their respective work areas as well as across the MUSC enterprise.

Dr. Smith also helped coordinate and host the inaugural Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest for local elementary, middle, and high school students in collaboration with MUSC and other local organizations. The contest honored Charleston native and civil rights advocate Septima P. Clark for her dedication to service, education, and equality, and had nearly 75 entries featuring these and other themes.

Image Source: MUSC College of Health Professions Facebook

Secretary Stephanie Lancaster, EdD, OTR/L, ATP, CAPS recently earned her Ed.D. in Instruction & Curriculum Leadership with a specialty in Instructional Design & Technology after successfully defending her dissertation in March 2019. Additionally, she was recently promoted to Program Director of the Occupational Therapy program at the University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center. Finally, in April 2019 she was selected to be the new AOTA Representative Assembly member for the state of Tennessee. Congratulations, Dr. Lancaster!

Interprofessional Coordinator Adam Pearson, OTD, OTR/L received the Alumni Award at Washington University at St. Louis’s fourth annual Trailblazers Recognition Ceremony & African and African-American Studies 50th Anniversary Gala on May 14, 2019. Per the WUSTL website, the purpose of the Trailblazers program is to “acknowledge, commemorate and celebrate the contributions that Black alumni, faculty and staff have made to the institution and broader communities” as well as “recognizing Black change agents who have shaped the present-day institution and making intergenerational connections with alumni, faculty, staff and current students.

Treasurer Stacy Wilson, MS, OTR/L was promoted to Supervisor of Acute Rehabilitation Services at WakeMed Cary (a privately-owned hospital) in November 2018. Stacy started as a staff therapist, but in six short years he demonstrated his potential for achievement not only as a clinician but as a leader within the rehab services team. In his new role, he is responsible for hiring and retention of all therapy staff (including OT, PT, and ST) and clinical aides. He also performs annual staff performance reviews and collaborates with fellow leaders to develop initiatives to improve work flow and streamline the department’s budget.

Volunteer Coordinator Jordan Skowronski, OTR/L recently completed the coursework to earn a Ph.D. in Public Health – Community Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). He will start the dissertation phase of his program in fall 2019. Skowronski has also published articles related to occupational therapy intervention for children with autism in AJOT and OJOT.

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