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Occupational Therapy
Sanford Coyote Sports Center Room A375A
414 E. Clark St.
Vermillion, SD 57069
Office Hours
Monday - Friday
8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

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Welcome to the Department of Occupational Therapy

The field of occupational therapy helps individuals of all ages maximize independence in daily living so they can achieve their goals and do the things they want to do. Occupational therapists assess clients' needs, design personalized plans and services, introduce adaptive equipment as needed, and offer support as clients navigate a new environment adapted to their circumstances.

At USD, our faculty and students take a holistic, person-centered approach – one that considers the physical, psychological and social needs of clients and understands the importance of adapting the environment to fit the person. This foundation enables our students to enter the field of occupational therapy as compassionate professionals who are prepared to meet clients where they are at. At the same time, our students are gaining technical and practical expertise through hands-on learning experiences; our state-of-the-art facilities enable collaborative and simulated learning opportunities, and the fieldwork elements of our program provide students with real-world settings in which to apply their knowledge. These experiences are guided by expert faculty who understand the opportunities and demands of the profession and are there to support students every step of the way toward their careers as occupational therapists.

Join our community of listeners, experts and change-makers in the Department of Occupational Therapy at USD.

Programs

Meet the Department

Get to know the faculty and staff in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Our faculty are experts in their field, contributing research and scholarship in management of chronic disease, the role of OT in dementia care, occupation-based intervention and quality of life with lymphedema, psychosocial rehabilitation, occupational performance measurement, productive aging and gerontology, promotion of childhood mental health and more.
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Ranelle Nissen

Chair, Occupational Therapy
Bio Image for Faculty Member Heather Barber

Heather Barber

Senior Secretary
Bio Image for Faculty Member Shana Cerny

Shana Cerny

Associate Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Mackenzie Feldhacker

Mackenzie Feldhacker

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Marcia Harnois

Marcia Harnois

Program Assistant I
Bio Image for Faculty Member Karen Hebert

Karen Hebert

Assistant Professor
Bio Image for Faculty Member Rita Humphrey

Rita Humphrey

Assistant Admissions Officer
Bio Image for Faculty Member Moses Ikiugu

Moses Ikiugu

Professor
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Whitney Lucas Molitor

Program Dir, UG Public Health
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Jessica McHugh

Assistant Professor
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Carrie Menke

Guest Lecture: Active Learning
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Allison Naber

Assistant Professor
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Corey Yates

Adjunct Faculty

Known for Excellence

At USD, you'll find a high quality educational experience strengthened by our faculty's research and creative scholarship. See what makes our department exceptional.

Department Opportunities & Resources

Explore the variety of opportunities and resources available in the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Departments & Facilities

Explore the departments, facilities and centers that contribute to your education in the Department of Occupational Therapy.

Teaching and Research Laboratory

Located in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center on USD's campus in Vermillion, the Teaching and Research Laboratory is a centralized location for occupational therapy, physical therapy, kinesiology and sport management, and sports medicine programs. There are collaborative spaces for the various programs, as well as state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories and clinical spaces that facilitate hands-on learning.

Group of Occupational Therapy Students in a Classroom

Learning and Leading Together

The Department of Occupational Therapy offers a high quality, rigorous education while prioritizing a welcoming and collaborative environment. Our small student-to-faculty ratio and our faculty's open-door policy enable a tight-knit community; our faculty work closely with students to help them achieve their goals, and our students enjoy a connected network of peers who care about each other's success. Our department is a place where research and practice take place alongside collaborative learning and growing.

 

Two Students Laughing with Physical Therapy Patient

The Region's Leader in Health Care Education

USD is home to the only comprehensive health sciences school and medical school in the state. This advantage offers our students the unique opportunity to learn and train alongside peers in a variety of disciplines, equipping them with the collaborative experiences they need to be effective members of their future patients' care teams.

 

We are also proud to have strong relationships with the region's leading health care providers. These partnerships offer our students invaluable opportunities for developing professional connections, getting hands-on experiences and serving their communities early in their education.

Two Female Occupational Therapy Students Utilizing State-of-the-Art Facilities

Practice in State-of-the-art Facilities

Our students learn in state-of-the-art facilities right here on campus. Our program is located in the Sanford Coyote Sports Center, which houses teaching, learning and clinic spaces that are designed for collaboration and hands-on experiences. Students learn alongside other health sciences and medical students in the Lee Medical building and across the USD footprint. From a human gross anatomy course to simulation exercises, the opportunities offered in these facilities make the O.T.D. education exceptional. 

 

Quality Educational Experiences

USD's occupational therapy program is fully accredited. Accreditation fosters quality educational experiences and helps to ensures that the program is taught by qualified faculty, has the resources it needs to support the curriculum, meets its mission, has acceptable student outcomes, and provides accurate information to the public.

The Doctor of  Occupational Therapy program at the University of South Dakota is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). ACOTE is recognized as the accrediting agency for occupational therapy education by both the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

Students must graduate from an ACOTE-accredited program and successfully pass the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy exam in order to apply for state licensure and to practice as an occupational therapist.

For more information, visit the AOTA website or contact:

ACOTE
6116 Executive Boulevard, Suite 200
North Bethesda, MD, 20852-4929
Phone: (301) 652-AOTA (2682)
www.acoteonline.org


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