National therapy group honors campus expert

Thomas Fisher of the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences was presented with the 2016 Award of Merit earlier this month by the American Occupational Therapy Association during the group’s annual conference in Chicago.

The Award of Merit is the highest honor given by the AOTA. The award is given each year to one occupational therapist who has demonstrated extensive leadership through sustained and significant contributions to the profession.

Dr. Thomas Fisher

Fisher

Fisher is the chair of -- and a professor in -- the occupational therapy department in the school, which under his leadership has become a widely renowned resource in the field, recognized for its commitment to occupational therapy as a profession driven by evidence-based practice.

Both the school and the occupational therapy program have been a strong, consistent resource to meet the business world’s occupational therapy needs.

Fisher is an alumnus of the program, graduating in the Class of 1977, and has been a part of the school’s faculty since 2003.

As a researcher, he has focused on professional issues involved in occupational therapy and rehabilitation and on neuromusculoskeletal injuries such as strains, sprains and traumatic brain injuries. He has been especially focused on the issues people face as they use their therapy to help return to work or live independently.

During his IUPUI career, Fisher has helped the occupational therapy department earn national attention, including ranking among the nation’s best such programs as evaluated by U.S. News & World Report.

The department has also attracted and trained many outstanding students. This spring, for instance, three occupational therapy students -- Seanna Nichols, Lauren Tom and Kaylin Staley -- all earned William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallions for exemplary community service. Also, Nichols and Leah VanAntwerp were recognized as Elite 50 winners, an awards program honoring top-flight graduate and professional students.