University of Washington Division of Occupational Therapy

Faculty Research

Our faculty have served as key investigators on research grants from national agencies totaling more than $19.25 million.  We conduct cutting-edge research that addresses multiple conditions across the lifespan at the individual, community, population, and policy levels through collaborations within and beyond the University of Washington. Areas of faculty research include:

National Funding Agencies

  • Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality
  • Centers for Disease Control & Prevention
  • Health Resources & Services Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)
  • National Science Foundation
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Person-Focused Research

Don Fogelberg studies the prevalence and impact of sleep disturbances in people with central nervous system injuries or disorders, including spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, and Parkinson Disease. Dr. Fogelberg was interviewed about his sleep research by The Spin (see page 27).

Tracy Jirikowic has conducted multiple studies that examine sensorimotor assessment, intervention, and the interrelationships between underlying factors and functional performance in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Most of her research is focused on children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

Janet Powell has led multiple randomized controlled trials of telephone-based interventions to improve outcomes for people with traumatic brain injury (TBI) and their caregivers as part of the NIDRR-funded UW TBI Model System. She has  examined the perspectives of people with TBI on their recovery and the impact of TBI on participation in home management and leisure activities. Dr. Powell was also part of a multi-site VA-funded study of robot-assisted therapy to improve arm and hand function after stroke.

Organization- and Community-Focused Research

Tracy Jirikowic led a recently-completed project that established a patient-centered outcome research network to address the environmental and social barriers to community participation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, this research built on a number of MOT Graduate Projects.

Danbi Lee’s community-based and participation-centered intervention and outcomes studies are strongly informed by qualitative research with people with disabilities. She has conducted single- and multi-site clinical trials that examine the effects of self-management interventions on health, quality of life, and community participation outcomes of people with stroke and other disabilities. Her work bridges individual-level interventions and an understanding of the importance of community re-integration.

Policy-Focused Research

Tracy Mroz leads multiple studies with the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center including an investigation of the quality of rural post-acute care for Medicare patients and a comparison between community-entry and post-acute home health for rural Medicare beneficiaries. She also collaborates with the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies to examine post-acute care therapy services and occupational therapy as part of the behavioral health workforce.

Janet Powell conducted a CDC-funded study that showed  concussion was not being identified for a high percentage of people seen in the emergency department. This study helped establish the need for better concussion identification and management in the general population and has been used by organizations such as One Mind to advocate for policy changes.