(2022) Session 8: Allison Sullivan

About Allison

Allison Sullivan, DOT, OTR/L
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy
American International College
Springfield, MA, USA

I am an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy and Faculty Lead for the Post-Professional Occupational Therapy Doctorate program at American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. I teach courses in scholarship of teaching and learning in occupational therapy and occupational therapy theory, group dynamics, the development of psychosocial occupations, and the mental health process in OT. My research interests include pedagogy in occupational therapy education, cognitive disabilities, and trauma-informed care.  As an occupational therapist and educator, I have dedicated my career toward improving the lives of individuals with cognitive disabilities and health conditions that interfere with participation and quality of life across the lifespan, working in day habilitation services, school-system occupational therapy, and residential settings in a career spanning three decades.


Session Title

“How Did I Get Here? One Occupational Therapist’s Search for Meaning”


Session Details

The purpose of this session is to provide my personal perspective as a practitioner, educator, and researcher on the topics identified as the focus of this seminar series. In these roles, I have attempted to understand people as occupational beings. This quest has led me to explore and promote people’s engagement in activities, and in learning in particular, and appreciate the high degree of trauma many people have experienced or are experiencing whenever they attempt something new or challenging. This recognition has shaped my teaching and intervention practices and has me now focused on the legacy of occupational therapy in mental health, so I would like to share some resources that have resonated with me on this journey, in hopes that they may inspire others, cause discussion, and engage lively debate.


In 2006, as I was first shifting from a clinical to educational focus, I was hopeful; the community-engaged scholar is a role that has held significance for me. In the aftermath of a personally chaotic period of my life. I met Tina Champagne, and she inspired me then and has continued to be a source of motivation, persistence, and determination in my contribution to OT.

Executive Profiles

It has always been my hope that I could contribute to improving the health and well-being of the people I encounter in life. The chance to teach holds a special potential and obligation in achieving my goals. I became very interested in studying how students learn, and how to maximize significant learning. I examined the meaning of my students’ and my own engagement in activities in many very diverse contexts, and the relationship between occupation, identity, trauma, recovery and self-discovery

As this process has continued to evolve, I have been able to create community-based collaborations with local organizations in which I have become involved



And begun to reflect on my own legacy and those who helped shaped my experience as an OT practitioner, educator & researcher:



26th January, 2022, 4-5pm (GMT)

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