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International Society for Occupational Science

ISOS executive board

Rebecca Aldrich (USA)
Susan Forwell (Canada)
Suzanne Huot(Canada)
Etsuko Odawara (Japan)
Alison Wicks (Australia)

Who are we?

Rebecca Aldrich

Rebecca Aldrich (USA)

My exposure to occupational science during my undergraduate education at the University of Southern California led me to pursue a Ph.D. in occupational science at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and a subsequent appointment as an assistant professor in Saint Louis University’s Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy. Over the years, I have continually sought opportunities to contribute to the development of occupational science through established mechanisms. I have reviewed and authored papers for the Journal of Occupational Science since 2008 and have been a member of the Society for the Study of Occupation: USA (SSO:USA) since 2007. In addition to presenting papers, posters, and panels at the annual SSO:USA conferences (including the joint conferences in 2010 and 2014) and at the OS Cork Conference in 2013, I have also served as a member of the SSO:USA Research Committee and have chaired that Committee since 2012. I have worked in partnership with members of the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists and the International Society for Occupational Science (ISOS) to plan elements of the 2014 joint conference of occupational science societies. I have also participated in ISOS-moderated online discussions as well as ISOS meetings at the 2014 World Federation of Occupational Therapists Congress. My work as a teacher in Saint Louis University’s Bachelor of Science in Occupational Science curriculum and as a research mentor to Master’s-level occupational therapy students aims to whet the appetites of the next generation of occupational scientists. My ongoing research and scholarship on the topics of long-term unemployment, global education, and occupational justice evidence my commitment to interdisciplinary, international, and community-engaged occupational science work. If elected to the ISOS Board, I will draw upon all of the above experiences to facilitate international connections and collaborations among people who are interested in promoting occupation.

Assistant Professor
Department of Occupation Science & Occupational Therapy
Saint Louis University


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Susan Forwell

Susan Forwell (Canada)

The International Society of Occupational Science (ISOS) is an essential body for fostering connections and dialogue and for cultivating the growth of occupational science (OS) internationally. I am keen to continue to participate on the ISOS Board with an earnest commitment to occupational science both in its international scope and in building knowledge. I bring to this Board experience working on other international Boards (Journal of Occupational Science, Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers, International Journal of Multiple Sclerosis Care) and a history of leading a national board serving as the President of the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists (CAOT). I have volunteered for OS initiatives and organizations including serving on the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists (CSOS) board, conference co-convener of the 3rd CSOS conference, co-chair of the Sponsorship Committee for the 2010 Can-Am OS conference, and abstract reviewer for occupational science meetings in the US and Canada. While president of CAOT, in partnership with the CSOS, I initiated the 1-day OS stream to be included in the annual CAOT conference, a legacy that continues biennially, occurring in the years when CSOS is not hosting a conference. Of note, this was the first OS stream occurring at a national conference and has served as an exemplar for other organizations. To support the next generation of scholars of occupational science, I teach the OS module at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and work with numerous graduate students to advance occupational science particularly on the area of life transitions from an occupation perspective. Recently I was humbled to be named and delivered the 2016 CSOS Townsend-Polatajko lecture at the joint conference of CSOS and SSO:USA. It would be honour to combine my fervor for occupational science and my experience in scholar organizations to continue the work of the ISOS.

Susan Forwell, PhD, OT(C), FCAOT
Associate Professor
Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
University of British Columbia


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Suzanne Huot

Suzanne Huot (Canada)

Dr. Suzanne Huot received her PhD in Occupational Science from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. She served as the Executive Director of the Canadian Society of Occupational Scientists (CSOS) from 2006-2009 and then joined the board as Treasurer from 2009-2013. She is currently Assistant Professor in the School of Occupational Therapy and Field leader of the Occupational Science stream in the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences graduate program at Western. She has been on conference planning committees for conferences held by CSOS itself (2008, 2012), in conjunction with SSO:USA and ISOS (2010, 2014) and when hosting occupational science streams during the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists annual conference (2009, 2013). She has published five articles in the Journal of Occupational Science and is also a reviewer for the journal. Dr. Huot’s occupation-focused research centers on the experiences of international migrants within contemporary policy contexts. Her critically oriented work examines shifting relationships between occupation, place and identity related to experiences of mobility. She has collaborated with colleagues at the Auckland University of Technology and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to conduct internationally comparative work in this area. Being bilingual in Canada’s official languages of French and English, part of her research focusses specifically upon the role of language in mediating occupational engagement for those in linguistic minority communities. Her work has been disseminated through 9 peer reviewed publications, 3 book chapters and 35 conference presentations. She is interested in helping lead occupational science scholarship globally through ISOS initiatives.

Assistant Professor - School of Occupational Therapy
Field leader for Occupational Science - Health and Rehabilitation

Faculty of Health Sciences
University of Western Ontario


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  Etsuko Odawara

Dr. Etsuko Odawara (Japan)

I was born and raised in Japan, received my OT entry-level education in Japan in the 1970s. Since then, my practice experience has been with people with physical disabilities and with Japan’s rapidly increasing number of elders. As a mature clinician, I further dedicated myself to occupational therapy education in Japan. Throughout my clinical experience as an occupational therapist and occupational therapy educator in Japan, however, I felt something lacking with my approach in this health profession.

My search for further knowledge in graduate courses at the University of Southern California awakened me to where I was as a therapist and where the Japanese OT profession was in its history relative to knowledge development in occupational science. Communication and interaction with my mentors, colleagues and occupational scientists all over the world through SSO: USA, JSSO, and ISOS persuaded me that here, within occupational science, is what I have searched for so long, the foundation and direction of a focus on occupation within the everyday life of people everywhere, with and without disability.

Since my return to Japan in 2007, I have continued my research and teaching focus on expanding international understanding of occupation from a Japanese perspective and have contributed to the development of the occupational science community in Japan as a Board member, Conference Chair and active member of JSSO. I also am enjoying invited opportunities to share my knowledge of occupation and health to occupational scientists and therapists internationally and with students throughout Asia.

Now I would like to contribute further to the international networking of occupational science through participation as a Board member of ISOS.


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Alison Wicks

Alison Wicks (Australia)
My dream is that occupational science will one day become mainstream.

I am passionate about occupational science and have been a self- declared occupational scientist since 1993.

I support and encourage diversity and pluralism within occupational science. Therefore, I think it is important to promote occupational science to different disciplines whenever possible.

I believe ISOS has been a key player in the development of occupational science internationally and I am keen to see ISOS continue to grow and expand its reach around the globe.

Currently, I am Associate Professor in Occupational Therapy at the University of Canberra, Australia. I am also Project Leader of the WFOT International Advisory Group: Occupational Science. I am past president of the Australasian Society of Occupational Scientists.

My different roles have taken me to many places around the world for occupational science workshops and presentations. I have also been host to various international scholars and students.

For example, in 2006, I convened the Inaugural International Occupational Science Think Tank. And, in 2012, I convened the 6th Australasian Occupational Science Symposium.

I have been a member of ISOS since it was established in 1999 and I have been an ISOS Board member since 2007.

I would like the opportunity to continue on the Board of ISOS, so I can have an active role within ISOS and mentor a new generation of occupational scientists.

Adjunct Associate Professor
Faculty of Health
University of Canberra


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