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International Society for Occupational Science

ISOS executive board

Nadine Blankvoort (Netherlands)
Susan Forwell (Canada)
Suzanne Huot(Canada)
Etsuko Odawara (Japan)
Natalia Rivas-Quarneti(Spain)

Who are we?



Nadine Blankvoort

Nadine Blankvoort (Netherlands)

Nadine Blankvoort, originating from Canada, currently living in the Netherlands, is a registered Occupational Therapist and Global Health professional working in research and higher education.
Following the completion of a Masters in Medical Rehabilitation in Occupational Therapy in Manitoba, Canada, Nadine worked in the areas of clinical rehabilitation, as well as community development.  In 2012, Nadine completed the Global Health Masters program at Maastricht University, with research conducted into the embodied experiences of stroke survivors in Surabaya, Indonesia. Nadine has since been involved first as project coordinator and now as an advisory board member for projects based in Bangalore, India around the improvement of health circumstances for individuals living in urban slums.

Nadine is currently employed as an instructor and researcher at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, where she works as an instructor in the Occupational Therapy School and the interdisciplinary minor Global Health. Nadine is also the coordinator of internationalization for the occupational therapy school. Her current professional focus in education is the development of internationalization and diversity in the curriculum for students as well as for staff in OT higher education.  Additionally, she focuses on initiating and maintaining collaborations with community organizations, largely serving refugees and asylum seekers in the Amsterdam area. This focus on forced migration is also included in the PhD research of Nadine. Her research focus is a critical discourse and narrative analysis of both government programs and citizen initiatives which focused on integration of refugees in the Netherlands.

Nadine currently is heading the OT-EU expert group on OT with Displaced Persons and is also taking the lead of hosting the organization for the Occupational Science Europe conference in Amsterdam in August 2019.

Contact information:
Nadine Blankvoort MOT MSc. GH

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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 for two terms, from 2009-2013. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. 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 over 10 articles in occupation-focused journals, including the Journal of Occupational Science and OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health; journals for which she is also a reviewer. Dr. Huot’s occupation-centered research examines the experiences of international migrants within contemporary policy contexts. Her critically oriented work explores shifting relationships between occupation, place and identity related to experiences of mobility. She has collaborated with colleagues at the Auckland University of Technology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Norwegian University of Life Sciences 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. She is committed to helping lead occupational science scholarship globally through ISOS initiatives.

Assistant Professor – Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Faculty of Medicine
University of British Columbia


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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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Natalia Rivas-Quarneti

Natalia Rivas-Quarneti, PhD (Spain)

Natalia Rivas-Quarneti completed her PhD in Health and Social Sciences at University of A Coruña, Spain, in 2016. She is currently working as an assistant professor in this university and as an honorary lecturer at Brunel University London, UK.
She was trained as an occupational therapists (BSc) at University of A Coruña (2009), in Spain. As a student, she participated in the organising committee of the XV ENOTHE meeting (2009) which was held at this university. This experience broadened her horizons and presented research and the international arena as a key strategic scenarios to enrich the dialogue about occupation and justice. Thus, she completed the European Master of Science in Occupational Therapy (2013), which is taught in five European countries, and conducted two research internships in Canada, one at the Occupational Science Research Program, University of Western Ontario, in 2014 (as part of her PhD), and another (postdoctoral) at the Centre for Critical Qualitative Health Research, University of Toronto, in 2016. She also worked as a Lecturer at Brunel University London, UK (2016-2017).
She has worked, both in practice and research, with different groups living vulnerable situation and occupational injustices, such as people with mental health problems, drug addictions, refugees, migrants and/or people in precarious jobs, from a critical perspective.
All these experiences have helped her to question “what is occupational science” and “what is its purpose” from a multitude of angles ad to see the potential of occupation to transform lives and societies. She is interested in helping to engage in critical and diverse conversations about occupation and occupational science. She believes ISOS is a crucial organisation to contribute to generate synergies that embrace these discussions.
Additionally, she has been serving at the Occupational Science Europe Board (2015-1019), post that could bring positive communication channels between organisations and regions.

Assistant professor, University of A Coruna

ISOS access

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