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Welcome from the Founding Director!

Susan Bazyk, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

I am an occupational therapy (OT) researcher and practitioner who has devoted my career to addressing the participation and mental health needs of children and youth in the school, home, and community. At a national level, I have been a leader in building capacity of OT practitioners and interdisciplinary professionals in promoting positive mental health in youth with and without disabilities and mental health challenges. In addition to authoring the book, Mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention with children and youth: A guiding framework for occupational therapy (2011), I have authored over 30 journal articles and several book chapters in leading OT textbooks. Since 2010, I have given over 100 state, national, and international presentations. Recent awards include: the 2016 Crain’s Cleveland Business Health Care Hero Award, the 2017 Outstanding Research Award for the College of Sciences and Health Professions at Cleveland State University (CSU), and the 2018 Award for Innovative and Emerging Practice from the American Occupational Therapy Association. In January 2020, I served as a Fulbright Specialist in New Zealand, presenting on Every Moment Counts throughout the country. As a proud Clevelander, I am also Professor Emerita of the Occupational Therapy Program at Cleveland State University (CSU) where I taught for 34 years.

Following the publication of my book in 2011, I became committed to knowledge translation, namely, getting this information into the hands of practitioners for implementation. It is estimated that it takes over 17 years to translate evidence to practice with only about 14% actually being applied. In order to speed the process of knowledge translation, researchers must work closely and collaboratively with practitioners to foster shared learning and shared work. Based on this understanding, I envisioned and developed a building capacity process, involving a combination of face-to-face meetings, reading, and online discussions within a group of practitioners. I formed a Community of Practice (CoP) made up of 13 school-based occupational therapists (OTs) from the Cleveland area representing diverse contexts (rural, urban, suburban, private practice, alternative). As a group, we read my book, reflected, and discussed how to apply a public health approach to mental health in schools.

Convinced that all school personnel should do this work, we committed to developing an initiative focusing on promoting positive mental health throughout the entire day – classroom, lunch, recess, and after-school activities. Our combined wisdom, creative thinking, and knowledge of current evidence led to the development of Every Moment Counts: Promoting Mental Health Throughout the Day, which was funded by the Office of Exceptional Children, Ohio Department of Education from 2012-2015. The 'original group' of 13 OTs have served as Change Leaders for this initiative – developing, implementing, and evaluating model programs and embedded strategies, creating resources, and educating interdisciplinary school providers throughout the United States.

Bazyk, S. (2019). Occupational Therapy’s Role in School Mental Health. In C. Brown, V. Stoffel, & Munoz, J. (eds.) Occupational Therapy in Mental Health: A Vision for Participation. F. A. Davis.

Bazyk, S. (2019). Best practices in supporting mental health: Promotion, prevention and intensive services. In Gloria Frolek Clark, Joyce Rioux, & Barbara Chandler (eds.). Best Practice in School Occupational Therapy (2nd edition), AOTA Press

Bazyk, S. (Ed.). (2011). Mental health promotion, prevention, and intervention with children and youth: A guiding framework for occupational therapy. Bethesda, MD: AOTA Press

Bazyk, S., Demirjian, L., Horvath, F., & Doxsey, L. (2018). The Comfortable Cafeteria program for promoting student participation and enjoyment: An outcome study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 74 (3), 1-9, https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot2018.02379

Bazyk, S., Demirjian, L., LaGuardia, T., Thompson-Repas, K., Conway, C., & Michaud, P. (2015). Building capacity of occupational therapy practitioners to address the mental health needs of children and youth: Mixed methods study of knowledge translation. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 6906180060p1–6906180060p10

Bazyk, S., Goodman, G., Michaud, P., Papp, P., & Hawkins, E.  (2009). Integration of occupational therapy services in a kindergarten curriculum: A look at the outcomes. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 160-171.

Bazyk, S., Pataki, K., & DeBoth, K. (2020). Building Capacity of Occupational Therapy Students to Address the Mental Health Needs of Children and Youth during a Level II Fieldwork in a School Setting, Journal of Occupational Therapy, Schools, & Early Intervention, DOI: 10.1080/19411243.2020.1776186

Bazyk, S., & Winne, R. (2013). A multi-tiered approach to addressing the mental health issues surrounding obesity in children and youth. Occupational Therapy in Health Care, 27, 84-98.

Cahill, S., & Bazyk, S. (2019). School-Based Occupational Therapy. In Jane Clifford O’Brien & Health Kuhaneck (eds.). Case-Smith’s Occupational Therapy for Children & Adolescents (8th edition).

For a full list of publications, refer to: 

Change Leaders

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Founding Occupational Therapy Change Leaders

Carol Conway, MS, OTR/L
Louise Demirjian, MA, OTR/L
Fran Horvath, OTR/L
Karen Thompson-Repas, MBA, OTR/L
David Weiss, OTR/L
Teri LaGuardia, MOT, OTR/L
Lezlie Fahl Kinder, OTR/L

Rebecca Mohler, MS, OTR/L
Paula Michaud, MEd, OTR/L
Eileen Dixon, MS, OTR/L
Robin Kirschenbaum, OTD, OTR/L
Lisa O’Halloran, MS, OTR/L
Jordye Joyce, MS, OTR/L

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Creating New Change Leaders

We believe that anyone can be a change leader – from the teacher, para-educator, and cafeteria supervisor, to the principal, occupational therapy practitioner, and other related service providers. Since Every Moment Counts’ inception, we have grown change leaders throughout Ohio (Bazyk et al., 2015) and other states (New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and New Zealand) by replicating the building capacity process, giving workshops, and providing informal coaching. New change leaders include: Sarah Kolic, OTR/L, Alisa Deininger, OTR/L, Denise Young, COTA, Maria Llerena, OTR/L, Jenny Negrey, MOT, OTR/L, Lauri Doxsey, MEd, OTR/L, Marta Kilrain, MOT, OTR/L, and many more throughout the US!