Clinical Trials for Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation/Cultural Interventions
This research cluster is designed to promote the development and testing of novel interventions that are based on the results of occupational science. Because occupational science generates insights about the connecting links between daily occupation and health relevant outcomes, its resulting knowledge base has a rich potential for application in practice. Through the improved interventions that result, the profession of occupational therapy will become better enabled to fulfill its mandate to enhance the health and well-being of persons with disabilities or who are otherwise at risk for health decline. Toward this end, research within the clinical trials cluster focuses on all stages of intervention development ranging from the acquisition of information needed to design interventions to the conduct of latter phase clinical trials. The target populations include groups that have frequently been served by occupational therapists (e.g., persons with physical disability) as well as groups that have not traditionally received occupational therapy, but that are at risk for disability or health decline (e.g., community dwelling elders or individuals with diabetes or obesity). This work typically involves collaboration with key contact personnel at various clinical sites as well as with researchers at USC who have expertise in relevant research areas.
Past research in this area has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, National Institute on Aging) and the Department of Education (National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research).
Past and Current Projects
The Effectiveness of Two OT Treatments for the Elderly, 1994-1996
National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, Agency for Health Care Policy and Research, and National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health (Grant # RO1AG11810); Dr. Florence Clark (PI); $679,030.
Daily Living Context and Pressure Sores in Consumers with SCI, 2001-2003
National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research, Department of Education, (Grant #H133G000062); Dr. Florence Clark (PI); $317,909.
Expansion of Research on Cultural Interventions
The concept of "direct cultural interventions" is derived from the USC Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Department's New Stories/New Cultures after-school enrichment program. Funded as a pilot study by the USC Neighborhood Outreach with low-income Black and Hispanic middle school children in the Family of Five Schools, the curriculum focuses on media literacy and critical thinking about issues such as peer-conformity, consumerism, drugs, and violence through video production and theatre workshops. A direct cultural intervention is defined "as the introduction of activities and critical perspectives that members of a group or social category can use to examine their place in society and, consequently, their engagement in everyday occupations... with the outcome of interpreting and successfully navigating the social world" (The New Stories/New Cultures After-School Enrichment Program: A Direct Cultural Intervention," American Journal of Occupational Therapy, G. Frank, M. Fishman, C. Crowley, B. Blair, S. T. Murphy, J. A. Montoya, M. P. Hickey, M. V. Brancaccio, and E. M. Bensimon, 2001). In conjunction with a National Endowment for Humanities Award, Dr. Frank has been doing preliminary research to develop interventions of this genre for Native Americans.