Mitchell Symposium

The Mitchell Symposium in Occupational Science is named in honor and memory of Dr. Marlys Mitchell, the founder of the master’s program in Occupational Therapy at UNC Chapel Hill, and her husband, Earl, a great supporter of Marlys’ work (and of occupational therapy).  Symposium scholars deliver a public lecture and participate in talks, discussions, and meetings with faculty, students, and researchers from throughout Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the Department of Allied Health Sciences. Initiated in 2011, the symposium has been made possible through generous gifts from friends and alumni of the division.

2014 Mitchell Symposium

Scholar – Dr. Gelya Frank

Click here to watch a recording of the 2014 Mitchell Symposium public lecture, "Occupational Activism for Global Justice.”

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Dr. Gelya Frank, PhD
The Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy welcomed Dr. Gelya Frank, PhD, Professor at the University of Southern California, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, as the 2014 Mitchell Symposium Scholar. Dr. Frank was on campus in March, delivering her public lecture, “Occupational Activism for Global Justice,” on March 4 in Bondurant Hall G100.

As a founding contributor to OS, Dr. Frank’s work bridges OT, OS, and anthropology in projects such as the interdisciplinary NAPA-OT Field School in Guatemala that she has led since 2008. She is author of the award-winning books Venus on Wheels: Two Decades of Dialogue on Disability, Biography, and Being Female in America (University of California Press), Defying the Odds: The Tule River Tribe’s Struggle for Sovereignty in Three Centuries (Yale University Press), and the forthcoming Occupational Reconstructions: Embodiments of Social Justice (Duke University Press).

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Click here to watch a video of the public lecture (shown above).

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Dr. Gelya Frank with Occupational Science PhD students and faculty.

2013 Mitchell Symposium

Scholar – Dr. Betty Risteen Hasselkus

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Dr. Betty Risteen Hasselkus, PhD
Dr. Betty Risteen Hasselkus, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, Emeritus Professor of Kinesiology/Occupational Therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, visited UNC Chapel Hill in March as the 2013 Mitchell Symposium Scholar.  In addition to classroom visits and individual consultations with faculty members and students, Hasselkus participated in a discussion titled “The Lived Experience of Doing Research” with faculty and PhD students on March 5, and delivered a public lecture titled “Everyday Occupations: The Heart of Research and Practice” on March 6.

During her over 40 years of active participation in the profession, Dr. Hasselkus led the Gerontology Special Interest Section.  As a meticulous scholar, she paved the way for qualitative research to be accepted in occupational therapy literature.  In 2006, Dr. Hasselkus was asked to serve as the Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lecturer at the AOTA national conference.  She continues share her passion and insights in to the meanings of everyday occupations through her blog http://hasselkus.wordpress.com.  

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From left, Occupational Science PhD students Khalilah Johnson and Caroline McCarty; Dr. Virginia Dickie, Professor; Dr. Betty Hasselkus; and PhD students Lauren Holahan, Chetna Sethi, Adrienne Miao, and Valerie Fox.

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Dr. Betty Risteen Hasselkus, PhD, OTR, FAOTA, meets with Occupational Science PhD students in the OS model apartment classroom.

2012 Mitchell Symposium

Scholar – Dr. Debbie Laliberte Rudman

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Dr. Debbie Laliberte Rudman, PhD
Dr. Debbie Laliberte Rudman, PhD, OT Reg., was selected as the 2012 Mitchell Symposium Scholar. After presenting a seminar to students and faculty and meeting with individuals and groups throughout the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Dr. Rudman presented a public lecture on February 29 titled “Working Against the ‘Individualizing Of The Social’:  The Critical Potential Of Occupational Science.” 

At the time of the symposium, Rudman was Associate Professor and Faculty Scholar in the School of Occupational Therapy, within the Faculty of Health Sciences, and Chair of the Occupational Science field of the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program of the University of Western Ontario.  Her research focuses on the relationships between occupation and identity, health, and quality of life.  Within the broader field of occupational science, she is particularly interested in examining how social, political, and cultural factors shape what come to be seen as possible and ideal ways to be (identity) and do (occupation) in the later phases of life.  In addition to serving as the Mitchell Symposium Scholar, she received the top lectureship for a Canadian occupational scientist, The Townsend Polatajko Lectureship, in 2012. In 2013, she was the first Canadian recipient of the top lectureship in Occupational Science awarded in the United States, the Ruth Zemke Lectureship.

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Dr. Debbie Rudman met with Occupational Science PhD students on February 29. Front row: Adrienne Miao, Sumita Rege, Mary Dean, Emily Furgang, Kendra Heatwole Shank, Debbie Rudman, and Mackenzi Pergolotti. Back row: Caroline McCarty, Lauren Little, Wendy Healy, Heather Fritz, and Anne Kirby.

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Drs. Bruce Carney, Debbie Rudman, and Ruth Humphry after the Mitchell Symposium public lecture.

2011 Mitchell Symposium

Scholar – Dr. Mary Lawlor

Dr. Mary Lawlor, ScDDr. Mary Lawlor, ScD, OTR/L, FAOTA, was invited to be the first Mitchell Symposium Scholar in January of 2011. Dr. Lawlor was on campus for two days, meeting with faculty and doctoral students, conducting a workshop on narrative analysis, and delivering a lecture titled “Health Disparities and Cultural Competence: Bridging Clinical Worlds and Life at Home.”  In the lecture, Dr. Lawlor discussed her longitudinal interdisciplinary urban ethnographic project called Boundary Crossings: Re-Situating Cultural Competence.  The emphasis of the talk was bridging home life and institutional worlds, and the theoretical implications for addressing health disparities and facilitating effective collaborations in the moments of health care encounters. 

Dr. Lawlor is known for her work in ethnographic research, interdisciplinary models of service delivery, pediatric occupational therapy, and maternal and child health.  Her research interests include examining the meanings of illness and disability in family life, the social nature of therapeutic experience, and cultural influences on health care and developmental processes.  Dr. Lawlor earned her Sc.D. in Therapeutic Studies from Boston University and is currently a Professor in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California.  She was the Principal Investigator for an interdisciplinary longitudinal ethnographic research project funded by National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, which involved African American children with special health care needs, their families, and the practitioners who serve them.  She has also received grants from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, the U.S. Department of Education, and the American Occupational Therapy Foundation. 

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Dr. Mary Lawlor met with doctoral students during her two days on campus, part of the inaugural Mitchell Symposium. From left, sitting: Mary Lawlor, Rebecca Aldrich, and Mackenzi Pergolotti. Standing: Lauren Little, Emily Furgang, Antoine Bailliard, Ashley Freuler, and Kendra Heatwole Shank.

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Dr. Mary Lawlor talks with doctoral students Antoine Bailliard, Lauren Little, Rebecca Aldrich, and Mackenzi Pergolotti.