The Award of Merit honors members of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) who have made an outstanding global contribution to the profession of occupational therapy. Dr. Paula Kramer, professor and chair of the occupational therapy department at USciences, is this year’s recipient for her service and contributions to education. She will receive the award at the American Occupational Therapy Annual Conference in Indianapolis, Ind., on April 28.
Having recently finished a term on AOTA’s board of directors, Dr. Kramer has been involved at the local, state, and national level for the last 30 years. Although she served as the vice president New York State Occupational Therapy Association, Dr. Kramer also has also been a member in New Jersey and currently holds membership in Pennsylvania. Her commitment to the profession also won her the A. Jean Ayers Award in 2005 from the American Occupational Therapy Foundation, AOTA’s philanthropic arm.
Dr. Kramer’s contributions have not only been to AOTA, but also to the field of occupational therapy in general where she assumes a worldwide presence with texts printed in Korean and Chinese.
This past September, Dr. Kramer traveled to an orphanage in China with Therapy Missions, an organization for which she serves as a board member. Therapy Missions provides OT teaching and training to people in resource-limited countries. Dr. Kramer also received several grants from Presbyterian Homes and Services for programs to enhance wellness in seniors in affordable housing communities.
An educator since 1981, Dr. Kramer has served as OT department chair for two institutions: Kean University and USciences. She has also co-authored six widely used textbooks, and she values the feedback on her writing she receives from USciences students.
At USciences, Dr. Kramer supplements her research and teaching by directing the Genesis CARES program. The program aims to meet the growing need for training and resources that respond to the nation’s aging population.
“Being at USciences has been continuously exciting,” Dr. Kramer said. “I feel we’re really stretching the whole educational experience for students by giving them the necessary clinical work but also by emphasizing leadership and practice for the future.”
The reception for Dr. Kramer will be held at the JW Marriot Indianapolis Hotel in Grand Ballroom 4 on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 8 to 9:30 p.m.